If you’ve been “itchy” for a few days but aren’t quite sure of the root cause, bed bugs might be to blame. I wrote this post to help you learn how to get rid of bed bugs yourself. But, if you can’t do it yourself and you live in the Dallas – Fort Worth area, we’d love to do it for you. You can get a free quote on our bed bug extermination service here. As bed bug extermination is one of our specialties, we’ve got plenty of experience ridding homes of bed bugs. But, if you want to get rid of them yourself here are a few DIY methods: you can get rid of them by vacuuming, washing your infected items in the washer with hot water, and for items that can’t be thrown in the washer, you can steam clean them. You can also spray rubbing alcohol where you think they area.
These hitchhiking nuisance creatures find their way into homes and businesses through all kinds of interesting avenues. From luggage to clothing and even used furniture goods, bed bugs take advantage of every opportunity to penetrate your home and take up residence there. Bed bugs have the ability to make their bodies quite thin, allowing them the advantage of fitting inside tight spaces. This makes them difficult for a home or business owner to detect.
As an insect that thrives in a pack environment, bed bugs most commonly like to congregate in spaces such as mattresses, bedroom furniture, and even bed springs where they have the easiest accessibility to a food source while their victims sleep soundly in the comfort of their beds. If you think you just might be the proud owner of a bed bug infestation, here’s how to get rid of bed bugs.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs: What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?
When learning how to get rid of bed bugs, you have to determine what these crawling creatures look like. Bed bugs are small in size and oval in shape. In color, the hungry bed bug is one of various shades of brown. Once fully mature, adult bed bugs possess a flat outer shell that is similar in size to the seeds found within fruits such as pears or apples. After feasting on their favorite meal of blood sourced from humans or animals, the bodies of bed bugs swell from the accumulated fluids and take on a reddish hue.
Bed bugs are nocturnal creatures, preferring to hide in crevices or soft spaces during daylight hours. Their presence is most often detected when family members develop an itch or rash of undetermined origin for which they are unable to find relief.
Where Do Bed Bugs Come From?
Bed bugs migrate into homes via items that are brought in from outside the residence. Many of them appear innocuously on things purchased at flea markets, consignment shops, or thrift stores, or are carried in on clothing, shoes, or luggage. Once inside a home, bed bugs have the ability to move quite quickly to a more permanent housing situation that is closer to a food source.
Born with the capability to traverse ceilings, floors, walls, and more, bed bugs have no difficulty getting around largely unnoticed. Since these stealthy creatures move at a rapid pace, they are very difficult to detect when in motion and on the rare occasion they are spotted are often mistaken for common harmless household bugs.
Once firmly entrenched in a home, bed bugs easily multiply. Each female possesses the ability to lay several hundreds of eggs during her lifetime. These eggs are so microscopic in size that they appear as only a particle of dust to the naked eye. Each tiny egg will reach maturity in approximately one month and will begin its own reproductive cycle which will yield more bed bug nymphs up to three times yearly. Armed with this knowledge, it is not difficult to see why these bugs are so difficult to get rid of once inside a home or office.
What are Some Home Remedies to Get Rid of Bed Bugs?
If you think you may have bed bugs in your home, it is only natural that it will be your top priority to get rid of them. Though many people do opt to hire a professional pest control company to make their bed bug woes go away, there are some home remedies you can attempt to restore your home to its former bed bug-free existence.
Among the top home remedies are:
A vacuum with an excellent sucking mechanism is an excellent means to remove bed bugs from your mattresses, headboard, or bed frame. For best results, be sure to thoroughly vacuum all furniture that could harbor bed bugs every few days. If your vacuum contains a bag, dispose of it immediately to prevent recontamination of your home.
Thorough laundering of clothing, towels, and bedding
Hot water and the heat from your dryer are your allies in the war against bed bugs. Carefully read the labels of all towels, clothing, and bedding prior to laundering these items to ensure it is safe to wash them at such high temperatures. Laundering fabrics on high heat settings are an effective means to kill bed bug gatherings.
Unfortunately, not everything in your home can be tossed into your washer. That’s where a steam cleaner comes in handy. Bed bugs and their eggs cannot survive heat in excess of 140 degrees F, making the steam mop an ideal means to eliminate colonies in hard to reach places.
Perfumed dryer sheets
Though fragrant dryer sheets will not kill bed bugs, they are an excellent means for keeping them at bay. The perfume in the sheets will send bed bugs scurrying to find a new home. This method is a great way to drive bed bugs to a new locale but is ineffective for completely eradicating them from your home.
Spritzing rubbing alcohol in suspected gathering places
Bed bugs hate rubbing alcohol as it kills them within minutes of coming in contact with the substance. For the greatest efficacy, fill a spray bottle with undiluted rubbing alcohol and spritz any affected areas with it. Your bed bug problem will be speedily resolved if you are able to source all of the insects’ favorite gathering spots in your home.
There are a number of different essential oils which are natural repellents for many different insects. Among the most popular oils with known bed bug repelling qualities are peppermint, thyme, lavender, tea tree, lemongrass, and clove.
Due to its natural heat-giving properties, cayenne pepper is a natural when it comes to eliminating bed bugs. However, when combined with powerful natural herbs and spices such as oregano and ginger, cayenne pepper packs a powerhouse punch that kills bed bugs within seconds of them coming in contact with it.
To make your own cayenne pepper bed bug remedy, simply mix cayenne pepper, ground ginger, and oregano oil in equal parts. Strain the mixture to remove any lumps and sift into a spray bottle. Add water and shake well to mix. Generously spray all affected areas. All resident bed bugs should be eliminated on contact.
Diatomaceous earth has gained a reputation as a miracle product. Its effects include the elimination of all types of insects including fleas and ticks.
Diatomaceous earth is formed when rock is ground to create a sandy substance. Its recommended use is as a powder that is sprinkled in crevices and areas where bed bugs might find refuge within a home. Diatomaceous earth is not a quick fix, but it is highly effective. Maximum results may take up to ten days.
It is not recommended for use on mattresses or other furniture as the powder contains tiny particles of rock which can be inhaled, causing damage to your lungs. For best results, keep diatomaceous earth to areas that can easily be vacuumed up when its purpose has been achieved.
Baking soda functions in a similar fashion to applying salt to a slug. Baking soda is not only an agent that absorbs unpleasant odors; it also removes excess moisture from damp or humid environments. Since bed bugs possess moist bodies, a simple sprinkling of baking soda in known areas of infestations will dehydrate the insects, causing death.
This method requires vacuuming and reapplication for several days to ensure the problem has been properly eliminated.
How Big Are Bed Bugs?
One of the things that makes a bed bug problem so difficult to determine is their size. Bed bugs are extremely small. Their eggs are so tiny that they resemble a speck of dust, making it nearly impossible for a homeowner to detect. Once a bed bug reaches the adult stage, it is still only the size of an apple seed. Since bed bugs like to make themselves scarce during daylight hours, they are even more difficult to find since they prefer to be active only at night when their food source is in a deep slumber. Between their size and their habits, it can be very challenging for a home or business owner to come to the conclusion that it is a bed bug infestation that is making them itchy!
Can You See Bed Bugs?
Though it is possible to see bed bugs, most people do not recognize them even if they were to see one in the light of day. Bed bugs are very small and resemble common household things such as dust, dirt, or small pieces of sand, rock, or gravel. This built-in type of camouflage is part of the bed bugs’ greatest defense strategy as it keeps the insects shielded from being exposed and eliminated in the environment they select as their home.
Do Bed Bugs Fly?
Since bed bugs do not possess wings, they are not capable of flight. This does not, however, mean that these wing-less creatures don’t know how to get around. Bed bugs are able to travel great distances at a rapid pace. Though flight is not one of their skills, they are able to climb walls, ceilings, floors, and furniture to reach new heights in your home.
Do Bed Bugs Jump?
Not only do bed bugs not fly, but they also lack the ability to jump. Their mobility comes primarily from crawling from space to space. Since bed bugs are born with six legs, they are able to move around very quickly. Though they lack the ability to jump, they can crawl from host to host almost completely unnoticed, making it easy for bed bugs to travel from person to person or from one object to another for transport out of your home and into another locale via their human or inanimate object transportation system.
What is the Difference Between Bed Bug Bites and Mosquito Bites?
Both bed bug bites and mosquito bites are the banes of most homeowners’ existences. These nuisance critters both definitely like to leave their “mark” on the people they prey on for their nutrition.
Both bed bugs and mosquitoes subsist on the blood of humans or animals with both also preferring to feast on human blood whenever possible. Yet, these blood-sucking insects affect people in distinctly different ways.
Here is a comparison of bed bug bites vs mosquito bites:
- Primarily bite people during their sleep
- Nourish themselves by piercing the skin of their victims and absorbing blood through a long beak
- Feeding is accomplished in three to ten minutes
- Pain-free bites
- Symptoms of a bed bite infestation include itchiness and red skin welts
- Will bite any area of the body that is left exposed
- Leave behind feces and eggs in mattress crevices
- Bites appear in a systematic pattern such as a row or line
- Will crawl under bedding and clothing to find a food source
- Bites are not immediately apparent
- Prefer warm, damp, and humid environments
- Bite in random areas on exposed patches of skin
- Will not bite through clothing
- Begin to itch immediately after a bite
- Appear as raised white bumps with a red surrounding boundary
- Resolve within a few days
- Will bite sleeping or awake hosts
- Feeding is nearly instantaneous
Conclusion: How to get rid of bed bugs
When going the “how to get rid of bed bugs” DIY route, you first need to determine if you actually have them. If you do, try vacuuming out the infected area, washing your sheets, towels, and any other potentially infected item. You can also steam clean the area or spray rubbing alcohol on it.
If you think you’ve got a bed bug problem at your home or business, chances are you’re not alone. Since bed bugs are frequent travelers, it’s likely your neighborhood may be full of them. And if one of your neighbors has them, there’s a good chance you have or could have them as well.
Many people worry that a bed bug infestation means their home is not clean. But bed bugs do not feast on dirt, their nutrition comes from a live blood source, preferably human but an animal host will also do. This means they are equally as amenable to living in a clean environment as a dirty one.
If you live in the Dallas area and can’t get rid of the bed bug infestation yourself, give us a call or fill out the form below to get a free quick quote.
Lastly, do you have any questions or suggestions on how to get rid of bed bugs? If so, we want to hear them! Please comment below and we’ll answer your questions.