Make sure you’re dealing with bed bugs.
Like a doctor who rules out various alternative explanations before making a diagnosis, you need to be 100% sure that you’re dealing with bed bugs. Bites from mosquitoes and fleas can be easily mistaken for bed bug bites.
There are a few telltale signs that you’re dealing with bed bugs rather than something else. Bites usually happen at night, and sometimes cross your body in a regular pattern specific to slow crawling insects (unlike mosquitoes, which fly around and bite you at random). You should check your mattress and linen for small dark spots and stains from blood or excretion. See if you can detect a sickly sweet smell. And look for the insects themselves, which are visible to the naked eye.
Carefully tidy the infested room.
Start by removing any items that don’t “live” in the room permanently: things like teddy bears, books, electronic devices, and hot water bottles. Put everything in airtight plastic bags with pest control strips to avoid spreading the infestation.
Soak infested clothes and linen in hot water.
For this step, it’s best to be as liberal as possible with what you wash. All clothes and linen from the infested room should be soaked in hot water that’s at least 50 degrees celsius. For added peace of mind, you can try putting everything in a dryer for ten minutes.
Dismantle suspicious furniture.
Bed bugs especially like to hide in bed frames, where they can stay out of view during the daytime but easily prey on you while you sleep. Dismantle your bed frame if possible, remove all the drawers from your desk and your chest of drawers, and pull all furniture away from the walls. This will make everything easier to inspect when you get to step five.
Inspect and scrub every nook and cranny.
Like Sherlock Holmes, methodically inspect every surface and corner you can think of. Where would you hide if you were a tiny blood-sucking insect? Think like a bed bug, not like a human.
Any infested bits of furniture should be scrubbed with a brush to get rid of invisible eggs. After this, you’ll need to vacuum like you’ve never vacuumed before. Vacuum the floor, vacuum along the skirting boards, vacuum the furniture and the mattress and the bed frames. Bed bugs tend to hold on for dear life during a normal clean, so you should give everything a twice-over and try scraping the vacuum attachment along the surface to dislodge the stubborn ones.
When you’re finished, make sure you put your vacuum bags in a bin outside the house so the bed bugs don’t crawl out and colonise another room.
Treat your mattress, skirting boards, and other furniture.
Depending on the exact situation and the condition of the mattress, you might want to throw it out, cover it for a year with a special airtight encasement, or treat it with insecticide.
Skirting boards and furniture can generally be treated with a combination of specific types of insecticide. These can come in the form of sprays, aerosols, or “dust”, all of which are best-suited for certain applications. About three bouts of treatment, separated by 10 days each, will be essential to catch everything.
Sound like too much work?
If you’re starting to feel like this is all a bit much, no one will blame you. Not everyone has the time or patience to attempt DIY bed bug treatment – especially when the smallest oversight could ruin the whole operation and force you to repeat the steps all over again.
If you’d prefer to leave the job in the experienced and calloused hands of a professional, the bed bug specialists at EP Services will gladly help you out. Remember: when people say “sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite”, what they really mean is give EP Services a call.
Contact us today for a free, no-obligation inspection and quote. We love nothing more than to fight the good fight against bed bugs.