A bed bug infestation doesn’t have to spell disaster. There are many treatment options available which don’t need to break the bank. If you get on top of the problem immediately you are more likely to prevent future occurrences.
Treatment methods range from DIY to seeking out professional help. A professional pest controller is likely to combine some of the heat treatment methods outlined below with pesticides. Once assessing the situation in your home, they will come up with a tailored plan to get rid of the bed bugs once and for all.
There are many DIY methods out there but you should take care when researching them, as there are plenty of myths circulating. Bed bugs are clever at hiding, and unfortunately it will take more than sprinkling them with baking soda to kill them off.
Combining several DIY solutions may be more effective than sticking to one method alone. DIY treatment methods are unlikely to completely get rid of the problem from your home, although they will hopefully rid your infested items of the pests and reduce the number of them you have to deal with.
Some of the most common DIY treatment methods are:
- Storing your bedding in the freezer for more than 96 hours
- Using diatomaceous earth. Applying a small amount to the seams of your furniture and bedding will cause the bed bugs to become dehydrated and die off.
- Putting rubbing alcohol into a spray bottle and spraying the infested areas with it. Only a stronger alcohol content (at least 90%) will be effective, but you should consider the fire hazard before employing this method.
Why does heat kill bed bugs?
Arguably, the methods which are most effective at killing off bed bugs are those which use heat. Bed bugs cannot live in temperatures which exceed 60 degrees celsius, or 140°F. Heat is even effective in killing off the bed bugs you are not able to see with your naked eye.
When the cells of a bed bug get too hot, the DNA contained within it starts to break down, which is why the bed bug will die.
Bed bugs can become resistant to certain chemical treatments, so this is why heat is probably your best option.
What kind of heat treatments are available?
DIY heat treatment methods include cleaning and tumble drying your bedding and infested clothing at a high temperature, and using a steam cleaner.
Washing and tumble drying your bedding is a highly effective yet simple solution, and it is also cost-effective. Experts recommend putting your bedding through the tumble dryer for at least 30 minutes if you don’t have time to wash them as well. The heat should destroy both the bed bugs and their eggs safely.
A steam cleaning machine will successfully destroy the bed bugs by getting into all the places where they are likely to be hiding. Steam cleaners cause the steam to penetrate as much as 1.9cm into fabric and upholstery, destroying the bugs which have managed to get below the surface. Using the attachments provided, you can even get into the narrow spaces between floorboards and the corners of your mattress. The high temperature will kill the bed bugs and eggs effectively.
Professional pest control companies may use a combination of steamers and heat machines throughout your house to get rid of your bed bug problem once and for all. The rooms in your house will be heated with mobile convection heaters and the heat allowed to circulate until all the bugs are destroyed.