Very often, we think that bed bugs would get into our homes only if we are really down on luck.
And the first sign of having it at home, which is getting bitten, is often dismissed as a temporary rash or a mosquito bite.
Only when the itchy patches start to get more regular and spotting one by chance will most people become aware that they are sleeping right in the midst of a colony making the home theirs.
But if you have encountered them before, you would know that the clearest sign that they are around is not a visual. It is the weird unmistakable smell they emit.
While bed bugs don’t cause serious adverse health impact on people, the sight of them is disgusting and I cannot imagine anyone sleeping with peace of mind upon realizing that they reside in the house.
Even though they are deceptively fast, the silver lining (yes there is a silver lining) is that these pests don’t hide themselves very well. This means that you will have an easier time exterminating them compared to termites that can hide inside the walls.
Speaking from my own experience, it is possible to totally eliminate them from the house.
It has been about 9 years since my war with these pesky insects. And I haven’t seen any of them during these years.
How I first found them was really repulsive. I guess it played a part in feeding my anger and taking action to weed them out and kill every one of them.
I was laying in bed hugging my pillow. Then a moving black spot on the pillow caught my attention from the corner of my eye. I turned my head to look but it was gone. Deciding to investigate further, I lifted up the flap of the pillow case and saw a few of these guys having a picnic. I went into beast mode immediately and went on a mission to seek them out in the house. They simply have to pay for intruding into my house.
Some of the places where I found them include, but not limited to:
- TV remote control
- Dining room chair
- Bed frame
- Pillow case
- In the car!
It probably took about a week until I couldn’t find any of them anymore.
I’ve squished them, fed them to spiders alive, drowned them, and even burned them with a lighter. Coming into my line of sight meant death.
Even so, I felt that this was not enough redemption. That’s how much I absolutely loathe them.
Here are some prevention and control tips avoid finding yourself facing the same dire situation I was in.
1) Seal or even out wall defects
Peeling paint or even a wallpaper partially coming off can be places where these bugs can hide.
Trust me. They can be everywhere and anywhere.
If the paint in the interior of the house is peeling, apply a new coat so as to remove those hidden spots where they can hide.
If the wallpaper is coming off, get it glued or fixed.
2) Seal all cracks and gaps
It can really leave you tearing your hair out when you find one and on your way to reach it, the bug manages to crawl into an unreachable crack.
Caulk all cracks. Fill gaps in wood with fillers. Tighten the corners of furniture where two joints meet.
You get the idea.
3) Vacuum the bed
The place they love the most is the bed, followed by the couch.
These mother fuckers know what they are doing. They know that we spend the most time in bed where we are vulnerable at night. So it’s very likely that if you do have an infestation, the area with the most concentration is the bed.
And this does not mean just the bedsheet and mattress.
Vacuum the whole bed including the sheets, all sides of the mattress, the frame on all sides and corners, behind the bed head, under the bed. Pillows, blankets, quilt covers, etc.
And if you are sleeping on one of those beds with storage compartments underneath, you need to open it up and vacuum everything as well.
A word of caution, they contain a type of oily dark colored liquid in their bodies. So if you decide to smash them on a white pillow case, you are going to get an unsightly stain.
And forget about steam cleaning. For some reason, bed bugs can find a way to sidestep this treatment.
4) Lock up the mattress
If you find that you have a punctured mattress, bad luck. There is every chance that they could be hiding INSIDE the mattress too. Seriously, I don’t know how to advise you on that.
You have to improvise and make your own decision. Personally, I would replace the mattress.
But I have heard about homeowners encasing the whole mattress and sealing it up with a zipper or zip-lock so that nothing can reasonably get out.
The idea is to kill them with hunger.
Since these blood suckers can survive for a long time without feeding on you, you might have to keep the case on for at least a year before removing it.
5) Move the bed
Bed bugs don’t fly, jump, or dance. They primarily crawl.
So if you can limit the access to the bed, you are on safer ground.
Move your bed away from the wall. You can always push it back against it when you have alleviated this bloody problem.
This also means that if your bed frame is one with only 4 legs standing in contact with the floor, your area of defense can now be narrowed down to the legs.
6) Protect the bed legs
Like how a sulfur perimeter can prevent snakes from entering a specific area, applying petroleum jelly on the bed legs is good enough to deter any bugs from crawling up from the floor onto the bed where the food (you) is.
If you don’t have that, spraying insecticide on the legs can be a short term fix. But do note that exposing yourself to pesticides in the bedroom is not exactly a smart way to live.
7) Keep bed items on the bed
I’m unable to count the number of times that I’ve woken up in the morning discovering the edge of the quilt on the floor.
This is just a highway for them to get onto the bed.
So do put the stuff back on the bed when you wake up and find your stuff in contact with the floor.
8) Don’t get in bed immediately when you get home
As bed bugs don’t grow out of thin air, the way that they get into the house is most often via hitching a ride on us.
So whenever you get home, don’t get in bed in the clothes you are wearing.
Change into a bed shirt or pajamas before jumping into bed. It makes sense to have a set of clothing only meant for the bed. Make it a rule to never get on the bed unless you are wearing a set of this clothing.
You should be getting a shower anyway once you get home.
As you can probably tell from my tone, I really hate these pests.
And if you simply don’t have the time, or don’t know how, to manage an infestation, do call for professional help.
Do at least implement some of my tips for prevention purposes. You might not share my hated now because you have never encountered them. But I’m certain that you would share my line of thinking once you face-off with bed bugs for the first time.