Many people who have bed bugs also have infested beds or couches and that comes as no surprise since these are two of the most common breeding grounds for bed bugs. Couches are especially convenient for bed bugs as there are plenty of places for them to hide in, reproduce, and also easily access hosts for blood meals. Moreover, couches contain dead skin cells and organic debris that bed bug larvae feed upon to grow and proceed to the next lifecycle stage.
In this guide, we will discuss ways to get rid of couch bugs and also protect your furniture from re-infestation with bed bugs.
Why do bed bugs love couches?
Bed bugs love to hide in the cracks and crevices found in beds, tables, frames, couches, and chairs. Couches covered with fabrics are very easy targets for bed bugs since their fabric tends to develop tiny cuts and tears in which they easily hide. Leather couches are less porous but nevertheless, bed bugs also target them for making their home in. It is usually easier to protect leather couches from bed bugs than it is protecting fabric couches and upholstered sofas. Nevertheless, both are equally susceptible to bed bugs, dust mites, and allergens; so if you are dealing with an infestation, you’d want to ensure cleaning both types thoroughly.
Identifying bed bugs on couches
Often times, people are sure that the bug they saw on their couch is a bed bug. However, many different types of bugs look like bed bugs. So unless you are absolutely sure that you have a bed bug infestation, there is really no need to panic. Bed bugs typically love the bedrooms as that is where people sleep. So your chances of finding bed bugs on your bed are certainly higher than finding one on your couch. If you have recently had a guest who slept on your couch, then s/he may have brought bed bugs on your couch. In most cases, people wake up with bites and scratches while watching TV on their couch in the living room. All these are tell-tale signs of bed bugs on the couch. Here are some more signs that you might have bed bugs in your couch:
Signs of bed bugs in couches and sofas
- Bed bugs appear as flat, round, reddish-brown, wingless, and six-legged bugs. They have flat bodies, oval shape, and resemble a small apple seed. Bed bugs measure about ¼ inch in length. After feeding, their bodies tend to appear dark red in color.
- You can look for bed bugs on the sofa and couches if you have seen one or two bugs in the bedroom or found something that resembles a bed bug on the sofa. Check the entire sofa for bed bugs. You might even see some bugs nearby on the walls. Cracked and peeling paint is a great place for bugs to hide. Check the seams between the sofa’s back and the seating as well as in the gaps between the hand-rests. Also, check the wooden frame of the fabric-upholstered sofa. Perform these checks during the daytime.
- Over time, bed bugs can spread around. You might see bed bug activity nearby such as in the art frames, on chairs, behind the curtains, and so on. Examine the curtain pleats, cushions, pillowcases, and throws. Don’t forget to check your rugs and carpets as well.
- Bed bugs often leave rust-colored stains all around. This is usually regurgitated blood, fecal matter, dried exoskeletons, and other debris. Dark leather sofas may not show these stains but lighter colored sofas can easily make these spots and stains stand out.
- Sometimes, bed bugs also leave behind a sickly, sweet, almond-like odor in the air. This is typical in the case of larger infestations.
- Expect to see bed bugs at night time. You might see them out and about when you are lounging on your sofa at night.
- Understand that if something bites you while you are on the couch and you develop red itchy welts, then chances are that you have bed bugs in your house.
How to get rid of couch bugs
Steam clean the sofa
Steam cleaning is the best way to get rid of bed bugs from the couch. You may want to test a small area of the couch with the steam to ensure that it isn’t damaged by it. Thoroughly steam the gaps between the hand-rests and the sitting area. Try and direct the steam on each and every inch of the sofa. The blast of hot steam is sure to get rid of eggs, larvae, and adult bugs.
Vacuum the living room and den
Ideally, you must vacuum the entire house. You can use diatomaceous earth powder all over the floors, carpets, and rugs. Let the powder stand for a few hours before vacuuming. What this does is, it shreds the bug’s exoskeleton and rips their insides, killing them on contact. Now you can vacuum clean the floors. Thoroughly vacuum under the sofas, couches, chairs, tables, cabinets, and other furniture items. If needed, pull out the furniture away from the walls and vacuum behind them. Clean the den, living room, and hallways thoroughly. Use special vacuum attachments to clean curtains, blinds, couches, chairs, and sofas. Discard all vacuum bags right away.
Launder the pillows and cushions
If you have throws, rugs, and sofa cushions, you may want to discard them (necessary for large infestations) or toss them in the hottest washer-dryer setting. You can use mild bleach to wash these items. Drying on the highest heat setting will kill bed bug eggs and larvae, and prevent a new infestation.
Discard items that are highly infested
Many times, it is not possible to salvage heavily infested items. So, if your couch or sofa is filled with bed bugs, please just throw it away. Make sure you mark the item as ‘bed bug-infested’ so that no poor soul takes it home.
Special sofa pillow and mattress encasements can prevent bed bugs. They trap the bugs inside and kill them. Select encasements with higher thread count- they are expensive but totally worth it.
Preventing bed bugs in sofas and couches
- Avoid picking up used or discarded furniture from streets or thrift stores. There is a high probability that these items are infested.
- Keep your living room clean. It goes without saying that you need to vacuum the entire house, and not just the living room, to prevent bed bugs in sofas and couches. Minimize clutter as it leads to more hiding places for bed bugs. Steam clean sofas, couches, rugs, and carpets from time to time.
- Avoid placing your luggage on sofas or chairs after you return from a trip. Bed bugs can easily hitchhike their way into your luggage and on your couch from infested planes, buses, and motels. Always open your luggage in the yard or garage and steam clean it before bringing it indoors.
- Launder clothes, rugs, throws, and pillowcases in hot water, detergent, and mild bleach if they can withstand it. Dry these items on the highest heat settings. This will get rid of larvae and eggs.
- If you bring over guests who sleep on your sofas, make sure you clean the sofa thoroughly after their departure. Use an effective bed bug spray all over the sofa and couch. You can also wipe your leather couch with a non-abrasive leather cleaner. Avoid harsh alcohol-based products that could damage your leather couch permanently. Use a vacuum attachment that is specially designed to clean leather and fabric sofas and couches. Toss all fabrics/upholstery/linen in the washer-dryer. Discard vacuum bags right away.
If your couch is infested with bed bugs, chances are that the rest of your rooms are too. Make a thorough inspection of your home to assess the extent of the infestation. If needed, enlist the services of a professional extermination company to get rid of bed bugs from your couch, beds, and other furniture.
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