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Are Bed Bugs Hard to Get Rid Of?

Many households in the United States deal with the problem of unwanted pests in their home. One of these pests are bed bugs, which has grown into such a nuisance that it affects around 1 in 5 households. Although they don’t carry around diseases like fleas and ticks do, they can cause insect bites that can make your home itchy and uncomfortable.

Despite the annoyance bed bugs pose, many homes still have a growing problem with preventing them from settling or getting rid of them. Does this mean bed bugs are hard to get rid of? Compared to other pests, bed bug infestations can be hard to get rid of, especially if they’ve managed to grow a large colony that has spread around your home’s furniture. Here’s what you should know about getting rid of bed bugs on your own.  

Are Bed Bugs Hard to Get Rid Of?

To answer this question, we first have to know the extent of the infestation. If you catch a few bed bugs on your bed or any upholstered furniture and treat it immediately, you can avoid a major infestation with the right prevention steps. Even the cleanest household is vulnerable to bed bugs coming into your home, but certain practices can make it difficult for bed bugs to grow in numbers.  

But left alone to survive, breed, and feed on your household members, their numbers can grow into a major bedbug infestation. If this happens, DIY home remedies or using commercial pesticides may be ineffective in treating your home, for a number of reasons:

Bed Bugs Are Hard to Eliminate

There are two general reasons why bed bugs can be difficult to get rid of: their ability to survive in your home, and their resistance to most types of insecticides, which can make a DIY treatment process ineffective. To stop an infestation, you have to kill every single bed bug, and these two reasons are why they are difficult to eliminate.

Lifespan and Life Cycle

Bed bugs generally have a lifespan between four to six months, but they can live as long as one year under the right conditions. During this lifetime, a female bed bug can lay around 250 eggs in one lifetime, which can hatch in 10 days or less. Because of this, bed bug populations can consist of four generations in one year, and this exponential growth can make it easy for them to infest your home.

Hiding Spaces

Before they feed, bed bugs are small, measuring around roughly the size of an apple seed. They also have flat bodies, making it easy for them to hide in tiny spaces. They thrive in dark areas in room temperature, so places like under your upholstered furniture, cracks in the walls, carpets, and under the floorboards are good places where they can hide when they aren’t feeding.

Feeding Practices

Bed bugs can survive long periods without feeding on a blood meal, and only feed on their host every one or two weeks. They usually prey on sleeping humans, feeding on human blood at night and leaving blood stains, blood spots, and bite marks in the process. And if there are no hosts available, adult bed bugs can live over one year without eating, while nymphs can survive for several months.

This means if you have a few bed bugs in your home, you might not notice them because fewer bite marks can appear on your body. However, once you have a major infestation, you can see bites more frequently with more bed bugs looking for a host.

Pesticide Resistance

Bed bugs are immune to most commercial pesticides. In the mid-20th century, bed bugs were almost gone from North America due to pesticides that contain Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) as the active ingredient. However, when it was discovered that DDT had harmful effects on humans and the environment, it was banned in the United States in 1972.

Since then, the bed bugs that survived developed an immunity to other types of pesticides. Bug bombs, foggers, and other chemical treatments are some ineffective ways to treat bed bugs because their hiding spot makes it difficult for aerosols to reach them. This will need a specific type of crevice treatment that pest control services can provide.    

You Have to Identify the Infested Areas

Pesticides are effective for other pests because it is possible to take them out if you know the general area they inhabit, like knowing which room of your home they’re in. However, for bed bugs, you have to really identify their specific hiding spot. A few common locations to check out include:

  • Your mattress seams, tags, and box springs
  • The cracks in bed frames and headboards (also in corners underneath bed frames)
  • Wall baseboards
  • Between and under couch cushions (and any upholstered furniture or furniture with cushions)
  • Under furniture joints (especially in dark corners like under your chairs
  • Inside electrical outlets
  • Inside loose wallpaper cracks
  • Behind and underneath paintings and posters

Bed bugs have a distinct appearance compared to similar pests. They are reddish-brown in color (especially after feeding) and measure about a quarter of an inch long. Their hiding spot can also have yellowish-white eggs or dark spots, which are their droppings. You can also tell a bed bug’s hiding spot is nearby if you see yellowish or rust-colored skin shed.

Contain the Infestation

Once you know your home has a bed bug problem, it’s best to keep it contained to prevent spreading it to other households. Aside from dealing with the bed bugs, this means avoiding guests from coming in, or your household members going out to other areas, especially if there’s a risk that bed bugs could be hiding in your clothes or bags when you leave.

If you find a minor infestation of bed bugs, it is possible to eliminate them by taking steps to get rid of them and prevent them from growing. A few ways of doing this include:

  • Vacuum the infested area and over any possible hiding places. After using your vacuum cleaner, seal the bag and dispose of it immediately. Clean the vacuum afterwards.
  • All clothes and linens (bed sheets, pillow cases, blankets, curtains, etc.) in the infested area should be washed. Use hot water for washing and then use the highest temperature setting in the dryer. If you do not have a washing machine or dryer at home, seal them in a plastic bag and have them washed accordingly.
  • For items that cannot be washed, undergo heat treatments or chemical treatments, put it in the dryer for 30 minutes at the highest temperature. This can be enough to eliminate bed bugs.  

You Might Have to Dispose of Certain Belongings

Bed bugs can be very difficult to get rid of without professional bed bug control. Although we’ve mentioned various ways of containing a bed bug infestation, there are some instances where furniture may be unsalvageable without professional treatment methods.

If you cannot clean furniture or it is so infested with bed bugs, it might be more practical to simply dispose of the furniture. If the infestation is limited to that furniture, then your best solution might be to take it out of your house and get a new one. Be sure to label it with “bed bugs” when putting it out for disposal, so those who might think about taking your furniture before your garbage collection arrives will not try to take it.  

Requires Constant Monitoring

When you’re working with a professional pest control company with experience in bedbug treatment, you can feel assured that your home is pest-free because of their effective control and treatment process.

But when you’re trying to manage pest control on your own, there’s always a risk that you didn’t completely eliminate the initial infestations. This means the remaining colony is hiding somewhere in your home, which means a risk of the colony growing once more and causing another major active bed bug infestation. This means constantly monitoring your home for signs of infestation.

Ways to Prevent Getting Bed Bugs

It’s difficult to prevent developing bed bugs in your home because you, your household, your pets, and your guests (and even your neighbors, if you live in apartment buildings or condominiums) could unknowingly bring in bed bugs into your home. So, a better solution is to make your home difficult for bed bugs to thrive in. Here are a few good ways to do this,  

Identify if You Have Another Type of Pest in Your Home

Bed bugs aren’t the only type of pest that bites. So, if you see insect bites, this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bed bugs. Bedbug bites are itchy welts that are red with a dark red center and usually appear in clusters around your upper body. Flea bites and other types of insect bites like mosquito bites can look similar.  

Another good way of telling you have bed bugs is to see one. Bed bugs look different from termites, fleas, and ticks. Bed bugs are reddish-brown with a unique flat body. If you’re unsure, try to catch an insect and contact our pest control company to double-check.

Clean Up Your Home

A clean home won’t prevent bed bugs from coming in since bed bugs aren’t to garbage like other pests are. As long as your home can provide them with a host and a good hiding place, they can thrive and grow.

Reducing clutter in your home makes it difficult for bed bugs to find a hiding place. As much as possible, deep-clean your home regularly, especially in hard-to-reach places. You can also use products like encasements for your mattress and box springs to make it harder to reach you while you sleep.

Change Your Sheets and Linens Regularly

You’re most vulnerable to bed bug bites at night when you’re asleep, since bed bugs hide in the day. To get rid of any bed bug droppings, eliminate any remaining bed bugs, and inspect your mattress, change your bedsheets, pillow cases, and blankets once every two weeks. If you suspect your home has bed bugs, set your washer and dryer to the highest temperature settings.

Other linens in your home may also be prone to bed bugs. Curtains should be cleaned every six months, as bed bugs can crawl here.  

Use Specific Pest Control Products

Consider the previous steps first before using insecticide treatment, since these practices may reduce the need for pesticides if it can control your pest management. Not all pesticides are effective for bed bugs, so avoid using all-purpose pesticides to treat infestations as common chemicals used in pesticides do not affect bed bugs.

You can find some pesticides designed for bed bugs online or at your local hardware store. Always read the label and follow the directions. Using too much may not improve effectivity and leave residual spray that can be harmful for your household. If you’re unsure about using this, you can consult a pest control company to provide effective pesticides and apply it properly onto the infested areas.

Give California Bed Bug Exterminators a Call to Handle Your Bed Bug Problem

Getting rid of bed bugs on your own can be a difficult task on your own. On top of bed bugs’ ability to reproduce fast, survive in optimal conditions, and difficulty to eliminate, you might be unable to completely treat your home and eliminate the whole colony. That’s why if you spot bed bugs, your best option is to get a pest control company that can treat your problem effectively.

California Bed Bug Exterminators can help rid those annoying bed bugs from your home. We understand that the best ways to handle infestations and ensure bed bugs cannot thrive or re-grow a colony. Contact us today to learn more about our pest control methods and how we can treat your home.