Get Rid of and Treat an Infestation of Bed Bugs: The Right Way

Like many insects and other small organisms, bed bugs—those blood-sucking parasites that plague the nightly repose of thousands of Americans, as well as many others throughout the world—have adapted well over time. Most organisms adapt to changing conditions, but creatures with shorter lifespans (such as the bed bug’s 11-month average, outside of laboratory conditions) tend to do so much more quickly than the rest of us. With methods of bed bug extermination focusing, more or less since time immemorial, on the elimination of any individual bed bugs encountered, it’s small wonder that their ongoing adaptive process has favored those with pesticide resistance and thicker skins.

These individuals have survived to pass on these traits to their offspring. And pass them on they have: some scientists regard the recent outbreak of bed bugs over the last three to four years as being the result of an evolutionary leap. Bed bug populations which have not been isolated from the overall gene pool show a resistance to common pesticides that is nearly 1,000 times more potent than that displayed by bed bugs from a few decades ago.

In some cases, today’s bed bugs—while no visibly different than those from centuries past—can scurry around quite comfortably in environments which are laced with substances that effectively neutralized their direct ancestors. Much as with the plague which swept through Europe repeatedly over the centuries, each subsequent sweep affected a much smaller portion of the population than the one before it. Today, the question of how to get rid of bed bugs has no simple or short-term answers.

How to Identify a Bed Bug Infestation:

Bed bugs are surprisingly stealthy. They aren’t very agile, and they can’t fly; they reproduce more quickly than other, larger animals, but they’re far from being the most fecund of insects. These nocturnal parasites’ only real ally is stealth and concealment. Here are a few ways to help identify a bed bug infestation in your home.

  • Check your mattress and sofa cushions for bed bugs. Bed bugs like to feed on sleeping individuals. Using a magnifying glass or zoomed-in cellphone or smartphone camera, inspect the seams along the edge of your mattress and sofa cushions. Bed bugs are tiny, and can easily hide in the narrow crevasses available in such locations. Bed bugs which have recently fed, such as within the last 24 hours, may have retreated to hiding places in the immediate vicinity.
  • Bed bugs do not fly. This is more of a common myth than a bug-hunting tip, but if you find an insect with wings, or which takes off into the air while being observed, it isn’t a bedbug.
  • Look for spots on your sheets or mattress. Any light-colored fabric will reveal the signs of a recent bed bug feeding under close inspection. Tiny black spots, about half the size of the head of a pin, represent bed bug waste. The insects will usually defecate where they’ve been feeding, leaving behind fecal matter which looks a lot what you might see from a quick poke with a gel-tip pen. Larger, redder stains will result from when an individual changes position in their sleep, crushing bed bugs in the process.
  • Waft your hand over any suspicious stains. Recent bed bug fecal deposits will smell faintly musty, like a rarely-used but crowded basement with poor air circulation.
  • Look for bed bug eggs, larvae (nymphs) and shed exoskeletons. Like other insects, bed bugs molt their skins. Because they swell up while feeding, molting usually occurs after they’ve fed. They will also lay their eggs close to where they’ve been feeding. Unlike individual bed bugs, which may either bunch together or scatter, larvae and eggs will often be grouped close together.
  • Molted skins are beige, brown or yellowish. Bed bug nymphs are yellow or yellowish-white, and the eggs are white. They’re each about 1-2mm in size, a little bit larger than the head of a pin, but can be seen through a camera’s zoom when clustered together.
  • Inspect other likely hiding places. Bed bugs neither like nor dislike filth, but they love cluttered and untidy spaces because they offer plenty of places for an insect the size of a pinhead to hide. Check your mattress and box spring, and seal up any holes in either thoroughly. Examine your bedframe, your carpet (including the underside, if possible) and any clutter in the area of your bed. Don’t forget the joins in the wood or metal of your bedframe, if there is any separation; the same applies to other furnishings in the room.
  • Examine light switches, electrical sockets, and electronics. Look for bed bugs hiding in nooks and crannies, and for signs of defecation, or discarded skins. Bed bugs have been known to hide within electrical sockets and light switches; if you suspected an infestation, unscrewing and removing a switch plate is a good way to find obvious signs.
  • Look for bug bites. Bed bugs feed in coordinated groups, and they favor parts of the body which are exposed, offer plenty of surface area and have veins conveniently close to the surface. Bed bug bites can be dangerous and will form irregular patterns of visibly round splotches that look a little bit like bruising. Bed bugs favor the feet, as these are most often exposed, as well as arms and legs, the back, and the neck and chin. That being said, they’ll feed on just about anywhere where they can find blood.

Professional Bed Bug Treatment: Pros and Cons

Bed Bugs are insidious but can be dealt with. Like doctors dealing with antibiotic-resistant bacteria, professional pest management companies have more than one trick up their sleeves. By most estimations, hiring a pest control professional is still the best way to go when it comes to dealing with bed bugs: most individual populations of bed bugs won’t share all of the same resistances as bed bug populations in a location hundreds of miles away.

Bed bugs do spread, and they like to accompany us when we travel, but an increasingly bug-conscious public has managed to effectively curtail this issue (at least for the time being). It’s a growing problem, but not at such a level as of yet to make it impossible to deal with. What it does mean, however, is that professional pest eliminators will often need to be called back to deal with bed bugs from the same population, until hitting on a treatment that works.

Pros of Hiring a Bed Bug Exterminator:

Professional pest management experts know how to treat bed bugs: if there are pesticides which are more (or less) effective on the local population, chances are strong that they’re aware of them. Additionally, they understand the behavior of bed bugs and have experience in tracking down their favorite hiding places. Bed bugs are small enough to conceal themselves almost anywhere; while your average homeowner will look for a place where “they might hide, if they were that small,” a pest control professional will look for any place offering the specific conditions which—from a bed bug’s perspective—amount to the perfect environment to stay hidden and expand a colony.

Professionals can also offer tips on how to prevent a bed bug infestation, in order to help curtail the possibility of a problem arising again in the future. There are many factors which add up to making sleeping individuals an easier target for bed bugs, often because homeowners will actually overestimate the little bloodsuckers’ mobility. Bed bugs have a surprisingly difficult time reaching their slumbering prey unless they’re lying on the floor.

Step one on any homeowner’s list of “how to prevent bed bug infestation” should be to make sure that there is a small gap between any furnishings and the adjacent wall. This will minimize convenient climbing opportunities. Provided there are no bed linens reaching to the floor, the bed bugs—which cannot fly, and aren’t built for jumping—will be forced to climb up to a sleeper by way of the bedframe itself.

Cons of Hiring a Bed Bug Exterminator:

For many people, the biggest drawback to hiring an exterminator is the expense. This is particularly true when exterminating the notoriously resilient bed bug. In confronting bed bug infestations, the pest management expert is usually successful in tracking down the majority of the insects’ hiding places, at which point there is the question of which tools to use to attempt to dispose of the unwanted interlopers.

The choice of pesticides for bed bugs is traditionally one of an assortment of neurotoxic chemicals. These substances attack the bed bugs’ nervous systems, killing them quickly and efficiently—assuming the population isn’t resistant to the poison chosen. With that assumption in hand, it is likely to require two to five visits from an exterminator in order to ascertain that all of the bed bugs have been eradicated. Even where there isn’t a specific resistance, bed bugs have become generally more resistant to a toxic residue, and must often be sprayed directly for the chemical to be effective.

This kind of commitment can wind up costing the average homeowner thousands of dollars, and the process only becomes more drawn-out if a callback is required (due to the first choice of chemicals having no effect). This is an increasingly common scenario.

If one can afford it, the professional exterminator is still the most heavily-advised route: the bed bug stymies over-the-counter remedies just as effectively, so the professional’s advantages over the average homeowner are still considerable. There is another problem, however: the issue of personal health risks.

The chemicals used by the pest control industry to help fight off bed bugs are extremely toxic. Many of them, including those which are still legal for use in the United States today, can cause serious illness and death in humans through accidental over-exposure. It is usually necessary to find someplace to stay while a bed bug treatment is being applied, and often for some time afterwards.

Even if all relevant safety procedures are followed, the effects of exposure to a recently sprayed area can have potentially severe consequences for the elderly and infirm, those with asthma or other existing breathing problems, allergy sufferers, small children, and family pets.

How to Prevent a Bed Bug Infestation:

Given the many problems that arise when getting rid of bed bugs, it’s definitely an advisable strategy to try and avoid infestation in the first place—but bed bugs are present throughout the world. Wherever you find people, you will find bed bugs. So, how do you prevent bed bug infestations, given that these little critters’ entire purpose in life is to feed on your blood in the middle of the night?

  • Keep your furniture in good repair. Attend to any loose joins in wooden furniture, particularly beds, chairs, sofas, and any other place where you or your family members spend a lot of time sleeping or otherwise at rest. Seal up any gaps, holes, or tears in mattresses, box springs, and sofa cushions.
  • Keep your furniture away from the walls. You don’t need to have a considerable gap between your furnishings and the walls. Bed bugs are flightless, and—unlike other flightless insects—are not built for jumping. They move mostly by crawling and climbing, at which they are modestly accomplished. If you keep your furniture an inch or two removed from the walls, you take away a handy avenue of access, forcing any bed bugs to ascend the furniture itself.
  • Use monitoring devices. If you live in an area which is prone to bed bug infestations, you might benefit from the use of monitoring devices. These are plastic cups, shaped to allow bed bugs to climb into them, whereupon the interior slope leaves them trapped inside. The items are built to support heavy furniture: put one underneath each leg of your bed, sofa, or other such furnishings. This help to prevent easy access by bed bugs, and doubles as an “early warning system” if an infestation does occur.
  • Avoid long bed and bath linens.  Don’t leave towels and clothes lying crumpled on the floor, or hanging in such a fashion as to be in contact with the floor. Don’t use bed sheets, blankets or quilts which reach all the way to the ground.
How to Treat Bed Bug Infestations Naturally with Bed Bug Bully

Many people prefer to avoid the expense and uncertainty of hiring pest control by dealing with bed bugs naturally. Bed Bug Bully uses diatomaceous earth (D.E. for short) to attack bed bugs in much the same way as salt dries out a snail: the tiny, fossilized phytoplankton inside the D.E. pierces the bed bugs’ thin outer skins, and dries out their internal organs.

Bed Bug Bully also incorporates the use of all-natural essential oils from plants which have evolved substances to naturally deter insect pests. Plants like thyme, lemongrass, peppermint and cedar are all popular choices for their essential oils. They smell pleasant to people but are powerful deterrents to small insects, and some of them are potentially lethal.

All-natural sprays incorporating essential oils as an active ingredient are also available for combating bed bugs. These require direct application to kill a bed bug, but may offer a deterring power which—thanks to their non-toxic and pleasantly scented composition—can be sprayed throughout an infested residence. Read and follow all packaging and label directions thoroughly.

With Bed Bug Bully, it spreads into forces bed bugs to go into “fight or flight” mode, making them eat themselves and each other. This means that they kill each other for you, treating the infestation.

The leftover residue leaves a “shield” for the treated area, preventing future infestations.

And best of all, Bed Bug Bully is 100% safe and natural.  Click below to purchase Bed Bug Bully.

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