The dreams you have during the night may produce a nightmare, but if you have ever experienced bed bugs (which you likely have, that is why you are here), then you will know that one of the biggest nightmares is bed bugs.
They can bite during the night, and make a home within your bed forever because they love feeding off sweat and carbon dioxide, as well as all that blood from the bites.
It sounds horrible, right?
Well, there are things you can do about it using products from the grocery store or the kitchen cupboard. Hopefully you will find something foolproof here that will help to get rid of bed bugs for good, or at least keep you on top of them (and that means not having to share a bed with them!).
What Are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are fast movers even if they cannot fly, and can quickly walk along ceilings, walls, and floors to reach the comfort of a bed.
Once the female has laid some eggs, which can be in the hundreds, they can be difficult to see because they are about the size of a speck of dust. They cannot be seen by the human eye, making these more difficult to get rid of - though not impossible.
It is said that they can produce around three or more generations every year.
As they grow, the bed bugs, which are called nymphs at this stage, shed their skin up to five times. Every time they shed their skin they require blood as a meal, for example your leg. If living in a good condition for them, they can fully develop into adult bed bugs within a month.
When they are an adult, they have a flat body which is roughly the size of an apple seed, so they can now be seen by the human eye making them much easier to detect.
How Do Bed Bugs Get in the Room?
You will want to know quite quickly if you have an infestation of bed bugs. Are those bites on your leg? Yes, they could be from a bed bug!
They can enter the house in a number of different ways such as through cracks in the wall, used beds, luggage from abroad, etc.
Due to the flat shape of them, they can easily fit through the tiniest of spaces without you ever knowing what is going on.
At first they will likely hide in places they have easier access to a human, such as a mattress, bed frame, headboard, etc., but overtime if left alone, they will likely spread to other areas of the house, so it is best to get the bed bug infestation under control as soon as possible.
How to Detect Bed Bugs
Just because you have bed bugs, does not mean your house is dirty. Anybody, even the cleanest of homes, can suffer from bed bugs - it is just bad luck that they have found your bed to live in.
There are a number of ways to figure out if you have them sharing a bed with you. Some of the ways are:
- A musty smell in the bed which is produced from the scent glands of the bugs
- Teeny tiny egg shells or skin that have been shed
- Rusty areas on the bedding or mattress. This could be excrement from the bed bug
And that is if you have not seen an actual bed bug, because that is the best way of telling if you have a problem.
Now that you know they exist, let us look at how to get rid of them.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs Fast
There are a number of ways to kill off bed bugs without using any ingredients. This is by using different temperatures to kill them off.
- Steam - if you want to kill bed bugs on the mattress or another item of furniture like a couch, then use a steamer at the hottest setting available and run it along all the surfaces many times. Make sure to pay particular attention to all the crevices they may be hiding in.
- Hot water - take all the bedding, any clothes that may be infected, soft toys, and anything else from the infected areas that could be put in the washing machine, and use the hottest setting possible.
- Freeze - because not everything can be washed, you can freeze the rest. Put every item into a plastic bag and place them into the freezer for 24 hours. Once you remove the items, shake them outside to remove any dead bugs and eggs.
Before you try anything else, vacuum the whole house to try and remove bed bugs and eggs. Whilst doing this, also vacuum curtains, upholstered furniture, all carpets, mattresses, etc. Also, do not forget about all the hiding places they may be.
Tea Tree Oil
Whilst tea tree oil will not kill bed bugs, it is a good deterrent. It can mask the smell of human sweat, and is non-toxic to humans, though you may have to get used to smelling it for a while.
Spray non-diluted tea tree oil on the mattress, bed sheets and any furniture.
Alcohol is a great way to kill everything there is to do with bed bugs, including the larvae and eggs. If you use a 90% plus version, it can instantly kill bed bugs on contact.
To do this, put some in a bottle and spray when necessary. It may smell too strong to use everywhere, so keep it for crevices and for when you spot one you want to get rid of.
This might be something you will have to purchase, but it may prove very useful. Due to the fact that bed bugs have soft bodies, once they crawl over the sharp sand, it will kill them instantly.
If you are going to go this route, buy the version used for pest control, and not the food-grade version - it will not be strong enough. Also, even though it is okay to touch and will not affect your breathing, do keep it out of the reach of children and pets as if ingested it can be poisonous.
To make the most out of the sand, sprinkle it on any areas you know are infested and wait a couple of days. Once the time is up, vacuum the area to get rid of bed bugs and the sand.
Whilst peppermint will not kill bed bugs, it can deter them because they really hate the smell. Use this diluted in a spray bottle with water on any areas that you know bed bugs are hanging out in. This could be tiny crevices or parts of the furniture.
Whilst vinegar does kill bed bugs, it will not kill eggs or larvae. To use, spray undiluted vinegar on all furniture and any crevices, and vacuum once you feel enough time has passed.
Baking soda is a good product to use if you have nothing else and want something quick. Whilst it does not kill them on contact, it does dry the bed bugs out. You will need to vacuum the baking soda and any bed bugs up.
The majority of us have Borax somewhere in the home, and it is actually a good item to use when you need to get rid of bed bugs.
If you sprinkle Borax onto your mattress, it will eventually suffocate them. After 24 hours have passed, vacuum the dead bed bugs and remaining Borax.
It is also ideal to add Borax to the washing machine because it will help to dry the bed bugs out further.
Whilst an infestation is unpleasant for anyone, bed bugs can be kept under control or completely eliminated, just by using some home essentials.
Give it time, and hopefully you will have everything under control!