Four steps on how to get rid of bed bugs yourself!
Now that an IPM plan has been discussed, let’s focus on how to get rid of bed bugs yourself.
A clean environment is the critical first step in getting rid of bed bugs.
This is a perfect opportunity to take on that “spring cleaning” you’ve been putting off. Start by removing all the bedding and clothes and put them in plastic bags to be washed. Gather any clutter, papers, junk, etc. from the infested location and put it into bags and throw it away. Depending on the severity of the infestation you might need to include items like radios, phones, clocks, television sets and smoke detectors. It is important to place everything in plastic bags so you don’t accidentally relocate the bed bugs to another room. Whatever you throw away make sure it is clearly labeled as “bed bug infested”! There is no need to pass this problem on to someone else.
Now that all of the bedding, clothing and clutter have been removed a thorough inspection needs to be performed. Take the bed apart and inspect it carefully for signs of bed bugs. Be sure to inspect the other furniture in the room as well. Get some Isopropyl alcohol and put it into a spray bottle. It is important to test spray the alcohol on the furniture in an inconspicuous (not noticeable) place to see if it will stain, because wood surfaces that are lacquered or varnished could be damaged by the alcohol.
After testing spray and wipe everything down thoroughly. You can spray the mattress braiding, box springs and headboard as well. The alcohol has a dehydrating effect that will kill bed bugs immediately on contact, but it is not a good long term deterrent because the alcohol evaporates quickly. After using the alcohol spray, open the windows in the room to ventilate it and be sure that everything is dry before you sleep there.
Others have suggested using tea tree oil as another “natural” option to get rid of bed bugs. Tea tree oil is great for a variety of things, but I’d recommend avoiding it to combat bed bugs. Like alcohol the oil will evaporate quickly. A concentrated amount of tea tree oil can kill bed bugs but it’s dangerous to spray on your bed because it can cause many problem like swelling, redness of the skin, blistering, itching, diarrhea and it could adversely affect your liver if ingested or inhaled. Therefore this isn’t the best method on how to get rid of bed bugs yourself.
Step 3: Vacuum
Now that you have killed the visible bed bugs it is time to very thoroughly vacuum the room and furniture. Vacuuming will immediately remove a significant portion of the bed bug pest population and will usually kill some of the bugs. Using a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filtered vacuum, that removes >99% of all particles >0.3 micron diameter, will ensure that most allergens associated with bed bugs are removed.
There are some important reminders to consider when you vacuum. DO NOT USE a vacuum attachment that has a brush or bristles! Bed bugs can attach themselves to these bristles and all you will be doing is relocating the problem. Bed bug eggs will stick tightly to the surface they are on and are usually hard to remove.
After you are done thoroughly vacuuming the room, put some baby powder on the floor and vacuum it up to clean the hose and the vacuum cleaner. When you are done be sure to throw out the vacuum bag to ensure that all the sucked up bed bugs and their debris are removed from your home.
If after vacuuming you see any residuals from the bed bugs you can collect them using commercially available tape (by pressing down on them with the sticky side) or hand picking them and placing them into a container of rubbing alcohol.
At this stage you should have a clean room where the majority of the bed bugs have hopefully been removed. The next step in how to get rid of bed bugs yourself is to decide on a treatment option for the newly cleaned areas.
Step 4: Treatment options
There are 3 treatment techniques or methods that you can select. They are 1) a non-chemical technique, 2) a chemical (pesticide) technique or 3) you can hire a pest management professional. Each one is discussed thoroughly. The most effective treatment is to follow the four steps outlined previously and to use a combination of several of the methods outlined in the next part. Follow up on a weekly or bi-weekly basis until you are confident that you have total bed bug elimination.