The mere thought of a bed bug infestation is enough to make most people cringe. Bed bugs are small, wingless insects that feed on blood from animals and humans. They congregate in bedding and under mattresses, and come out at night to feed. It can take weeks of aggressive treatment to rid your home of bed bugs, but sleeping through the night and waking up bite-free is worth the effort.
Inspect yourself each morning for evidence of fresh bite marks. Bed bug bites may appear anywhere on the body as small, raised red bumps that are itchy and slightly painful to the touch. If no new bites appear for at least two weeks, the bed bugs may be gone.
Examine your bedding and mattress for signs of bed bugs. Adult bugs are dark brown, flat and approximately 1/4 inch in length, while young bugs and eggs look like small pencil dots. Carefully examine the corners of your bed frame and headboard as well, since bed bugs may take refuge and die in these areas.
Clean the infected room from top to bottom once a week. Wipe down hard surfaces with rubbing alcohol to kill eggs that might be stuck to the surface. Empty dressers and wash all clothing and bedding in hot water, and dry on the highest heat setting. Pull down curtains and drapes, and wash these as well. Vacuum all soft surfaces, looking for signs of bugs as you go. The life cycle of bed bugs is approximately three weeks, so if no new signs of bugs appear after the fourth cleaning session, these creepy little pests are most likely gone.
Tips & Warnings
- If you're unsure of how to treat bed bugs yourself, contact an exterminator as soon as possible. They will examine your home, identify suspicious insects and begin treatment to rid your home of bed bugs.
- Don't remove items from infected rooms without wrapping them in thick plastic. Bugs could fall off during transport and infect new rooms.
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