FREE E-Book! Getting Rid of Bed Bugs A Quick DIY Reference Guide

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Table of Contents:

  1. Finding Bed Bugs in Your Home Isn’t Always Easy
  2. Identifying Bed Bugs Properly is Sometimes Tricky
  3. A Bed Bug is Somewhat Unique
  4. Washing Bedding is Important, But Alone Won’t Fix the Problem
  5. Be Wary of Sprays and Harmful Chemicals
  6. Mattress/Box Spring Encasements Only Address Mattresses & Box Springs
  7. Some Solutions Just Move Bed Bugs Around
  8. Pouring Boiling Water Won’t Work
  9. Bed Bugs Don’t Respond to Moth Balls
  10. Dryer Sheets Don’t Address the Bigger Problem
  11. Heat Treatments are Very Effective
  12. Treating Bedbugs Yourself Can Be Done
  13. And, Stay Out! Preventative Measures Against Bed Bugs

Introduction

Brought to You by Convectex.com

Authored by Sonny Henegar, General Manager

Bed bugs have been a focus in the media recently, as infestations overtake apartments, movie theaters, homes, and hotels. Whether you need to know if you have an infestation, or you are looking to get rid of an infestation permanently, it is important to arm yourself with the facts. Find out about the telltale signs, preventative tactics, and permanent removal techniques in this Quick DIY Reference Guide. Read more to get an up to date and in-depth look at how to tackle this problem.

Chapter 1:  Finding Bed Bugs in Your Home Is not Always Simple

Most people think of bed bugs lurking in hotel rooms, public transit, or movie theaters. In reality, bed bugs can also be found lurking in apartments, homes, work facilities, schools, stores, and just about  anywhere  humans  gather  together.  According to a “Bugs without Borders” study, 89 percent of pest control workers report treating bed bug infestations in single-family homes, while 88 percent report treating bed bug infestations in apartments.  They also report treating  other common areas, like movie theaters, laundry facilities, transportation  units,  college  dormitories.  A whopping 67 percent  of  exterminators  have  found  bed bugs in hotels/motels. If you are worried about bed bugs in your own home, though, you be thorough in your search. Due to their survival instinct, bed bugs hide just about anywhere. In most cases you will find bed bugs close to where you sleep or spend most of your time sitting. You should start your inspection around sleeping areas like your mattress and box spring, behind your headboard and nightstands. Keep in mind they can also be found in baseboards, behind electrical switch plates, in picture frames, behind wallpaper, or even in books. The best time to search for them is at night since they tend to sleep during the daytime. They’ll sneak into your mattress or box springs, and they can also be found in baseboards, behind electrical switch plates, in picture frames, behind wallpaper, or even in books. The reason bed bugs are, well, bed bugs, is that they like to feed on our blood preferably when we are sleeping. They’ve evolved to seek out our body heat and the carbon dioxide we exhale, especially when we stay in one place for extended periods, like a bed.

Places to Look for Bed Bugs:

  • Most bed bugs will be found near the head of the bed area.
  • Start by inspecting the sheets, edges of mattress piping and box springs, frame and headboard.
  • Check in, under and behind nightstands and all pleats, piping of upholstered furniture.
  • Check ceiling, crown molding, walls, fixtures, pictures, free standing lamps, drapes and carpet edges.

KEY TAKEAWAY: Just because you locate bed bugs in one spot doesn’t mean that’s the only place they are. Take time to investigate and look around the interior of your property to make sure you have found all the locations of infestation.

Chapter 2:  Identifying Bed Bugs Properly is Sometimes Tricky

If you’ve captured a bug, and you want to find out what it is, then you’ll need to rule out lookalikes. Short of calling an entomologist, make sure to rule out  the  most  commonly  mistaken  bugs  before  you call pest removers in a panic. People mistake other  bugs  for  bed  bugs  and  it  is  important  to  know the difference. Adult  bed  bugs  are  reddish-brown  in  color  and  are  approximately  ¼  inch  in  length.  The  adults  can easily be seen with the naked eye. Understanding  the  developmental  stage  or  life  cycle of bed bugs can help in identifying different infestation  levels  of  bed  bugs  in  your  homes.  When  the  adult  female  lays  eggs,  they  are  attached to surfaces by a sticky substance. These eggs are difficult to see with the naked eye. The bed bug develops through five immature stages called nymphs or instars, before reaching the adult reproduction stage. This development process from egg to adult can take place in approximately 24 to 36 days (this is temperature dependent, as warmer temperatures speed up the process).

KEY TAKEAWAY: Before you start tackling your pest problem on your own, make sure to double-check with a company that understands the intricacies of bed bug infestations. Heat treatment is best for bed bugs - so if you do have an infestation, you’ll want to go in armed with all the facts!

Chapter 3:  A Bed Bug Bite Is Somewhat Unique

The most insidious thing about bed bugs is their bite.  In fact, the bed bug does not bite at all, they don’t have a mouth or teeth. They have a sucking mouth part they use to puncture your skin and suck your blood much like a mosquito. As the bed bug takes its blood meal, its saliva acts as an anesthetic and anticoagulant which  increases  blood  flow  to  the  bite  location.  They  get  fed  faster, and you feel nothing. It’s almost impossible to feel a bed bug while it’s biting you. The process is quick and painless - for the  bug,  at  least.  They  might  hit  the  same  area  multiple  times,  resulting in multiple bites in a concentrated area.  After they feed, bed bugs move to secluded places to hide for 5-10 days. During this period, they digest their meal and lay eggs.  But as the bed bugs hide, the humans they bit may begin to feel the  effects.  A  sensitive  person  will  start  to  feel  a  burning  sensation. They might start itching and develop a reddish rash on the skin, too.  This is an allergic reaction to the anesthetic and anticoagulant and signs may not show up for days after the feeding event.  However, plenty of humans are not sensitive to bed bug bites at all and will develop no itching or rash. If one person in a household has bite symptoms, but no one else is, that doesn’t mean only one room is infested or just one person is being bit! 

Possible Health Effects from Bed Bug Bites:  

  • Allergic reactions
  • Secondary infections/antibiotics/scarring
  • Loss of sleep
  • Loss of weight due to stress
  • Physical and emotional anxiety

KEY TAKEAWAY: There are plenty of “home remedies” and money-saving hacks out there that claim to help get rid of bed bugs. But while these might help you catch and kill some bed bugs, very few of them help get rid of your infestation.

Chapter 4:  Washing Bedding Is Important, But Alone Won’t Fix the Problem

One of  the  most  common  ways  people  try  to  avoid  bed  bugs  is  by  regularly  washing  bedding, clothing, etc. after returning home from staying in a hotel room, as they’re notorious breeding grounds for these pests. This attempted  treatment  is  a  common  misconception because while it kills adult bed bugs that go through your wash, it does not exactly fix your problem.  Even  if  you  wash  your  bedding  and  kill  or  drown  the  bed  bugs  that  live  in  your  bed-ding,  you’re  missing  the  other  bed  bugs  in  your environment. Bed bugs are masters at hiding and can hide in any nook, from your bed frame to your curtains and walls. There-fore, when you only wash your bedding, you’re just providing a clean slate for the other bed bugs to thrive and continue to breed on as they migrate from their infested hiding places.  One of the most common ways bed bugs persist after you attempt washing them away is the unhatched eggs and nymphs or baby bed bugs. These usually remain hidden behind walls and wallpapers or sneak around the bottom of baseboards throughout your property. Unfortunately, they are left untouched when you’re washing your bedding, and they will continue to grow and multiply. Once you’ve gotten rid of the initial infestation of bed bugs, the eggs will hatch, and it’ll result in another outbreak.

KEY TAKEAWAY: There are plenty of “home remedies” and money-saving hacks out there that claim to help get rid of bed bugs. But while these might help you catch and kill some bed bugs, very few of them help get rid of your infestation.

Chapter 5: Be Wary of Sprays and Harmful Chemicals

Another common method that many people use to get rid of bed bugs is pest control sprays or chemicals. Most over-the-counter chemicals such as foggers are highly repellent and will  make  a  bad  problem  worse  by  driving  the  bugs  deeper into the walls and under carpets. Along with being ineffective, many chemicals are also harmful to your family members and pets if used incorrectly. Many studies have shown that even with non-repellent chemical “remedies” applied by pest control professionals for bed  bugs  often  must  be  administered  at  least  three  times to treat a bed bug infestation. And Furthermore, bed bugs have developed resistance and immunity to many of the widely used chemicals that were previously effective.  Furthermore,  bed  bugs  have  developed  resistance  and  immunity  to  many  of  the  widely  used  chemicals  that  were  previously  effective.  There  are  frequent  accounts  of  harm  to  humans  and  animals because applications are not professionally done, and the correct precautionary measures were  not  taken.  Just  like  with  diseases  to  antibiotics,  bed  bugs  have  grown  an immunity to  the  previously  effective  sprays  and  chemicals,  which  causes  the  newest  and  best  chemicals  and  sprays to be more powerful and dangerous. Finally, treatments should be applied by professionals because they can be especially harmful to people at risk of underlying neurological disorders or other medical issues and make it harder for them to live in their homes during or after treatments.

KEY TAKEAWAY: Sprays and chemicals, although widely used, can cause worse infestations, instead of being the quick or cheap fix that they promise to be. They should be avoided because of the dangers and ultimate costs.

Chapter 6:  Mattress/Box Spring Encasements Only Address Mattresses and Box Springs

Mattress Encasements may seem like a practical way to get rid of a bed bug problem. However, they’re not. This treatment is performed by covering the affected mattress and box spring with a specialized material. However, bed bugs are evasive and don’t live only in your mattress and or box spring that is wrapped by the encasement. Once bed bugs are in your mattress, they’re most likely also in your bed frame, furniture, under carpets and inside your walls or behind curtains. If you’re only treating and killing the bugs located inside your  mattress  and  box  spring,  you’re  not  completely  fixing  the  problem  because  you’re  leaving  many  bugs  be-hind to repopulate your space after the treatment. Once you have a clean mattress, it’ll become an unused space for the bed bugs that were left unharmed to inhabit once you’ve  removed  the  plastic-like  encasement.  This  meth-od is an ineffective treatment method and should only be used together with more all-encompassing methods.

KEY TAKEAWAY: A mattress encasement doesn’t fix a bed bug problem because it only locks out and or kills the bed bugs on your mattress and box spring. It will not prevent the spread of bed bugs from your furniture, carpeting, and walls, making this method ineffective.

Chapter 7:  Some Solutions Just Move BedBugs Around

When  using  Diatomaceous  earth  (a  chalk-like  substance known to kill bed bugs), you’re killing some but not ALL your bed bugs. Baking soda is another  ordinary  powder  that  some  have  used  to kill bed bugs. Both powder or earth methods can dehydrate and kill the bed bugs as they walk through  the  substance.  These  treatments  work  well under controlled conditions, such as in a re-search  lab,  but  are  ineffective  in  the  real  world  because  every  single  bed  bug  would  have  to  track  through  the  powder  several  times  for  it  to  dehydrate them enough to stop your infestation.  Secondly,  when  bed  bugs  are  faced  with  these  powders,  they  will  avoid  them,  often  moving  to  another room in the home. This could counteract your treatment and exacerbate the issue by causing your bed bugs to disperse into other areas of your property. And if you don’t leave your powders out for an extended period, you also will miss hatching eggs and growing nymphs.  On top of the other reasons why these treatments aren’t good options are the fact that they can be  harmful  to  pets  and  humans  alike  that  accidentally  breathe  in  their  particulate  matter.  This  makes this treatment harmful, ineffective and unappealing for bed bug removal.

KEY TAKEAWAY: Diatomaceous earth and baking soda are both powdery substances that can dehydrate and kill bed bugs under the right conditions but do not work well in real-life scenarios.

Chapter 8:  Pouring Boiling Water Won’t Work

Boiling water will kill a bed bug, but you can’t kill all  your  bed  bugs  with  boiling  water.  This  treatment involves pouring boiling water on the areas where  you’ve  seen  bed  bugs  to  drown  or  burn  them to death. Although the idea may seem feasible, it does not work effectively. Once again, it is  important  to  note  that  bed  bugs  are  great  at  hiding  and  can’t  drench  an  entire  room  with  its  nooks in boiling water, which would be required to kill them all.  Furthermore,  the  amount  of  boiling  water  required  for  this  solution  will  result  in  extensive  water damage to your furniture, fixtures, and car-pet  or  flooring.  You  should  not  attempt  treating  a  bed  bug  infestation  with  this  method  because  of how much damage you would be wreaking on your property and how difficult it would be to truly treat the entire property.

KEY TAKEAWAY: Boiling water is not a practical solution for treating a bed bug infestation because you cannot reach every bed bug in an infested room and it would result in a significant amount of damage.

Chapter 9:  Bed Bugs Don’t Respond to Moth Balls

A common myth says that the unappealing smell from the chemicals used in mothballs will  kill  and  repel  bed  bugs.  Mothballs  can  partially  protect  an  area  where  they  are  placed,  however,  they  will  not  kill  all  bed  bugs during an infestation. This is because their  effect  cannot  reach  all  areas  that  a  bed  bug  can  hide.  Additionally,  the  odor  will  also  cause  bed  bugs  to  disperse  and  move  to  other  areas  in  your  room  or  other rooms altogether. You’ll also be left with infant nymph bed bugs and the unhatched eggs which will only leave you with another infestation.  You should also know that mothballs contain either naphthalene or PDCB (paradichlorobenzene). Both  chemicals  are  considered  poisons  and  the  physical  mothballs  themselves  are  a  choking  hazard for small children. Because they do not really treat a bed bug infestation and also pose a potential health risk, attempts to treat bed bugs with mothballs should be avoided altogether.

KEY TAKEAWAY: Mothballs are not an effective way to get rid of bed bugs. In fact, they may cause your bed bug issue to worsen by causing your infestation to spread as they avoid the poisonous odor.

Chapter 10:  Dryer Sheets Don’t Address the Bigger Problem

It’s often said that you can repel bed bugs with  dryer  sheets  if  you  place  them  under  your  mattress,  in  your  drawers,  or  underneath sofa cushions. This is a claim that has no  scientific  support  and  is  well-known  by  pest control companies not to be effective. Though bed bugs might have a negative interaction with dryer sheets and be repelled by them, they will not be killed by them.  Because they will be repelled by the dryer sheets  place  throughout  your  house,  they  will continue to spread and lay eggs in other areas not covered, causing you an even more significant issue than you had at the start of your treatment. You can’t effectively fix your bed bug problem with this highly ineffective method that is often mistakenly used to combat a bed bug infestation cheaply.

Other Ineffective “Old Wives Tales” for Killing Bed Bugs:

Clove:  Clove oil can repel bed bugs but only to a limited ex-tent. You will require a large amount of clove oil which can be expensive  and  become  a  messy  option  of  getting  rid  of  bed  bugs.

Cinnamon:    Cinnamon  will  make  your  house  smell  like  you  have been baking, but it won’t do much against bed bugs.

Vinegar:  While spraying vinegar directly on a bed bug may kill that single bug, this method is very impractical and ineffective against an infestation. You would need to spray every bug and egg to see any results.

KEY TAKEAWAY: Dryer sheets do not kill bed bugs and they often worsen an infestation by causing bed bugs to spread even further through your property. If you use a method like this, you’ll be left with hidden bugs which means your infestation will be worse when you must treat it again.

Chapter 11:  Heat Treatments Are Very Effective

Heat  treatment  works  by  causing  the  bed  bugs’  systems  to  overheat  and  begin  to  break  down.  The  higher  the  temperature, the quicker this breakdown occurs and because the heat penetrates every surface in your home, there is nowhere from them to hide. At temperatures above 110 degrees Fahrenheit, bed bugs will begin to die off. However, heat treatment is most effective  at  slightly  higher  temperatures.  The  recommended  optimal temperature is between 120 degrees and 125 degrees for a few hours to completely eliminate the bed bugs.  If  the  heat  treatment  is  properly  conducted,  it  is  the  quickest  and most effective way to get rid of a bed bug infestation. Bed bug  heating  services  take  4  to  6  hours  to  complete  and  you  will be able to safely return to your home as soon as it’s complete. Heat eliminates the need for chemical treatments and can be used in entire structures, confined areas or for spot treatments. There is no odor, and after a cooling period, the area is safe for people and pets to re-enter. Heat is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control, Environmental Protection Agency and the National Pest Management Association as the most effective means of bed bug control.  Professional-grade heaters with fans are now available for individuals to buy for a fraction of the price. Heat treatments are extremely safe and effective in single-family homes, apartments, condominiums, hotel/motel rooms, hospitals, senior home facilities, office spaces and more.

The Pros of Bed Bug Heat Treatments:

  • Work quickly, usually between 4-24 hours
  • Kills all stages of the bed bug life cycle
  • Great for small, medium or spread out infestations
  • No need to pre-treat any items or rooms
  • Safe and eco-friendly with no chemicals
  • Can be set up by a professional in minutes

KEY TAKEAWAY: If you detect the signs of bed bug bites on you or someone else in the household, you’ll need to check through for bed bugs. If you find an infestation, make sure to get it heat-treated. Find a professional or use our guide to figure out how to do it for cheaper! It’s important to choose the right tools for ridding your property of bed bugs.

Chapter 12:  Treating Bed Bugs Yourself Can Be Done

You might be on the fence about getting rid of bed bugs by  yourself.  You  might  be  afraid  you  won’t  use  the  right  tools, do it properly or you might be considering whether getting rid of bed bugs on your own will benefit you, especially if you have the right tools and use the right method.  First,  taking  care  of  bed  bugs  on  your  own  is  cheaper.  Calling  up  the  same  pest  control  companies,  time  after  time racks up a huge bill. If the company isn’t using heat treatments, they’re doing it wrong, and you’ll have to pay for expedient measures again and again.  Even  if  they’re  doing  it  right,  you  might  still  get  another  infestation. Why? Because you’re living in the same place.  In apartment buildings and row homes, bed bugs can be transmitted through the walls. So, even if you manage to get  rid  of  bed  bugs  in  your  own  building,  you  might  be  subject  to  bed  bugs  traveling  from  place  to  place.  And  even if you don’t live in an infested building, you originally got  bed  bugs  from  somewhere.  Whether  it  was  a  movie theater or the bus, you’re likely to go to that place, or another one, with an infestation. Despite your best efforts, you could bring unwanted visitors back home with you, time and time again.  The best tool is a heater. Convectex Bed Bug Heat Systems offers the best heating fans to get rid of bed bugs the first time. And if there happens to be a second time, you won’t have to call up expensive pest removal or get another ineffective treatment, due to the fact you own your own heaters.

KEY TAKEAWAY: Invest in a fail-safe tool that gets rid of the bugs before it’s a problem. And if you come home with bugs another time, it’s no big deal - you can just get rid of them again.

Chapter 13:  And Stay Out! Preventative Measures Against Bed Bugs

Once you’ve gotten rid of your bed bugs, you’ll want to take preventative measures. Even though heat treatments are foolproof against infestations, remember you got bed bugs from somewhere. After all, bed bugs are found in several places you might visit every day - and they can easily cling to a purse, coat, or pant leg.  After you’ve gotten rid of your infestation, there are a few steps you can take to prevent bed bugs from moving back in.

Tip #1:  CLEAN UP THE CLUTTER: Bed bugs are experts at hiding and finding them can present quite a challenge. Heavily cluttered dwellings create a million and one places for bed bugs to hide. If you have piles of boxes, newspapers, magazines, clothes, or just “stuff,” it’s time you clean it up. Doing this will make it easier to find them, should you ever get them. 

Tip #2:  MAKING HOUSEHOLD REPAIRS:  Take away or fill up as many possible hiding spaces for bed bugs; separations between baseboards, grout, seams of wallpaper, crown molding, door jams. Clear silicone fills these areas so bed bugs cannot enter. Consider replacing worn carpeting with tile, and because bed bugs travel along routes created by pipes, cables and electrical conduits, seal any openings where pipes, wires or other utilities come into your home.

Tip #3:  AVOID DANGEROUS SHOPPING LOCATIONS:  Avoid shopping at thrift stores, pawn-shops, and Craig’s list. Be mindful of anything borrowed or given to you or discarded furniture or mattresses found at the curbside. Any of these items should be thoroughly inspected for bed bugs before bringing them into your home.  Having your own bed bug heat system doesn’t mean you’ll never have to worry about infestations from another place again.   However, having your bed bug heaters does mean you can get rid of them yourself in no time, even if you pick them up from a train or movie theater.

KEY TAKEAWAY: Just because you treat doesn’t mean the job is over; you need to make sure you are ready to follow up and make sure the problem is solved.

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