Bed bugs are not just a myth that people warn their children about before bedtime. These little bugs actually do exist and get their name for the places that they like to hide. They are very small, about the size of an apple seed and, are almost the same color. Bed bugs are a nocturnal insect, which means they like to be awake during the dark hours of the night. These parasites do feast off of human flesh and blood but can live up to a year without eating anything at all. They also like to feed on animals, such as dogs, and even on birds and bats.
Bed bugs like to reside in the tuft areas on a mattress. The darker the hiding place, the more apt they are to live there. They can also infest pillows, blankets and sheets. They even like to crawl and hide in padded headboards. If the infestation is bad enough, the bugs will eventually travel to other rooms and find their way into carpet padding and fibers. A bed bug problem can be identified by the markings that they leave behind. Dark spots on mattresses are usually created by these pests. Using a flashlight while searching in tufts and folds of a mattress can help to easily identify if there is a bed bug infestation or not. Bed bugs are usually brought into a home by unaware travelers. They are picked up by luggage in hotel rooms and can even travel in the home on cuffs of pant legs. They do not care if a home is clean or dirty as long as they have places to hide and people to feast on.
To get rid of a bed bug infestation it is best to start where the worst case is and then work on the entire house. If the mattresses in the house are filled with these pests the best option is to toss them out into the trash. If replacing the mattresses is not something that will fit into a budget, they can be cleaned. Start with vacuuming everything. Every mattress in the house, every carpet and even around the baseboards all need to be vacuumed. Be sure to flip over the mattresses for a thorough cleaning. Inside of light switches and around small electrical appliances should also be vacuumed. After vacuuming, throw the vacuum bag away immediately. This will keep the bugs from escaping and returning to the places that were just cleaned.
If mattresses can not be replaced there are mattress covers that will help. These covers have zippers so that the entire mattress is enclosed inside of it. This will not stop a bed bug problem but it will help to suffocate the little pests and keep them from coming out of their hiding places. If the mattress was thoroughly vacuumed before placing the cover on it will keep any bugs from re-entering their hiding places. Plastic covers are also sold for sofas and chairs. These should be covered and left that way for a few weeks.
All of the clothes, in the entire house, need to be washed in the hottest water possible. The dress drawers will need to be vacuumed and cleaned as well. When the clothes are washed and dried they should be kept in plastic totes for a few weeks to keep them from hiding bed bugs that are looking for a place to escape to.
There are several different pesticides that are sold for bed bug problems. Many professional exterminators are well trained in the removal of bed bugs from the home. If small children or pets reside in the home, pesticides may not always be the safest route in ridding the family of the problem. A spray can be created from cedar wood oil and rubbing alcohol. This can be an intense smell so opening the windows before spraying is a good idea. If anyone in the home is allergic to cedar, tea tree oil will also do the job. Thoroughly spray beds, furniture, carpet and baseboards with the mixture. When the sprayed areas have had time to dry the furniture should all be covered with heavy plastic to prevent the bugs from running.