Bedbugs often go unnoticed until infestations are heavy and people living inside the home are receiving numerous bites at night. Some signs that bedbugs are living in your home are dark spots of fecal matter on sheets, live bedbugs, eggshells and skin casts from molting bedbugs and rusty red stains on sheets from crushed bugs. Bedbugs typically stay within 20 feet of their host and feed during the night by biting humans or animals. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that homeowners with bedbug infestations combine commonsense practices and barrier methods. While some homeopathic remedies can ease the discomfort associated with bedbug bites, you must eliminate infestations to prevent further bites from occurring.
Those who find themselves plagued with biting pests during the night most likely have a bedbug infestation in their home. Bedbugs are little reddish-brown insects that turn darker red after feeding on their favorite food source: human blood. If infestations are fairly mild, you can use some natural remedies to remove bedbugs without the use of harsh chemicals. Heavy infestations may require help from a professional exterminator.
One way to eliminate bedbug infestations is by exclusion. Placing an encasement on your mattress, box springs and pillows helps kill bedbugs. Purchase an encasement that is recommended for protection against bedbugs, and examine it on a regular basis for any holes or tears. Once encasements are in place on your mattress, pillows and box springs, they must remain in place for one full year before being removed. This is because bedbugs can survive an entire year without feeding. Encasements will not keep bedbugs that are living near your bed from biting you, but will trap those living in the mattress inside.
While there are no homeopathic remedies proven to kill bedbugs, there are a few that may help reduce the number of bites you receive until infestations are under control. No homeopathic remedies should be used on children under two years of age, due to possible skin irritation. Placing oil of citronella on exposed skin before bedtime may reduce insect and bedbug bites. Most oils need to be diluted, as they can cause irritation. Several insect repellents made with lavender oil are available at health stores and may help reduce bedbug bites. The most promising homeopathic remedy for bedbug bites is lemon eucalyptus oil, which has been known to reduce bedbug bites. A few other oils that may help prevent bug bites are neem oil and oil of clove, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Many people with bedbug bites develop infections from scratching the itchy welts. Anyone with intense itching or signs of infection, such as swelling and redness near bite sites, should consult a doctor for treatment.
Properly cleaning all areas near a bedbug infestation is key to eliminating these bugs without chemicals. Vacuum all cracks and crevices around your mattress, headboard and footboard, removing all live bugs and skin casts from molting nymphs. Wash all bedclothes and clothing items near areas of infestation with hot water, and place them in a hot dryer to kill bugs. Items must be in a hot dryer for at least 20 minutes on medium to high heat to kill bedbugs. Freezing infested items at temperatures below 32 degrees Fahrenheit will kill bugs. However, infested items must remain at this temperature for several days. Remember that bedbugs have a life cycle, and each cleaning will not kill all the live bugs and their eggs. It is necessary to repeat cleanings every week until bedbugs are no longer a problem. Heavily infested items may need to be discarded to avoid further infestation.
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