It always starts with an itch and leads on to miserable sleepless nights. Bed bugs are a growing nuisance even in the most developed countries and to prevent them from spreading it is important to follow certain treatment routines and practices. It is now a well established fact that getting rid of bed bugs for good is tricky since it requires patience as well as a combination of products and methods. Additionally, we cannot only depend on chemical bed bug products as these harm our children, pets as well as our homes. So, the right treatment approach depends on using an Integrated Pest Management methodology that can help return your life back to normal.
How to protect your home from bed bugs
It is worthwhile to note that most bed bug infestations occur after you have travelled or stayed in infested motel rooms. These pests are notorious for hitchhiking their way into our homes and beds by travelling on buses, trains, airplanes etc or hiding in our luggage.
So, each time you travel, do check the beds you are sleeping on. Also store your luggage away from walls or in the hotel bathrooms as these places are least likely to have bed bugs.
If you do happen to encounter bed bugs in motels, you have the right to ask for another room, or, better yet, search for another motel. It is worth doing this, since it can help you protect your bed and home from bed bugs.
Once you return home from your travels, you must wash all the clothing in hot water on the highest heat settings. If needed, and as an extra precaution, vacuum the luggage and store it away from your sleeping areas, in garages or sheds located outside the home.
Ways to protect your bed and stop bed bug bites
If you do suspect that bed bugs are present in your box springs and mattresses, you need to conduct a thorough examination.
- Start by checking the headboard, mattress, box springs etc. You can either choose to discard these items, if you see the signs of infestation, or if these are expensive and you wish to save them, then you must protect them using special bed-bug free zippered mattress encasements. Alternatively, you can use plastic sheets to cover the entire bed so that bed bugs cannot climb the slippery sheets while you sleep soundly on top of the bed.
- Buy slippery painter sheets that are readily available in home improvement stores to cover the entire bed. You must fully cover the headboards and mattresses. As additional protection, sprinkle some talcum powder on the legs of the bed so that the surface becomes extra slippery and deters the bed bugs from climbing.
- Bed bugs tend to climb up walls and drop onto sleeping hosts from the ceilings. To stop bed bug bites occurring in this manner, make sure to cover the bottom part of the walls with Scotch tape as the shiny part of the tape prevents the bed bugs from climbing. As a result, they drop off to the ground since they have no grip for climbing.
- Next, you must try to trap the bed bugs. For this, set specialized traps for the bed bugs beneath the bed so that they are exterminated while they try to reach you. DIY dry ice or CO2 traps (method given below) (or special bed bug traps purchased from stores) can help achieve this goal to stop bed bug bites. Traps should be placed under the bed, behind the bed legs and at the corners. As the bed bugs climb the sheet, they lose their grip and slip and fall straight into the traps.
- It is essential to isolate the beds when following these aforementioned steps. Pull the beds away from walls and other furniture items. The bed should not touch any electrical cords, etc. When using this method to protect your bed, do ensure that there are no existing bed bugs in the pillow cases, bed sheets etc. If needed, wash all these items on the highest heat settings to kill eggs and larvae of bed bugs. As a general rule, use white colored mattresses and bedcovers as these can help you spot bed bugs easily.
How to make CO2 bed bug traps to stop bed bug bites
Things you will need: 4 empty soda bottles, packet of dry yeast, Sugar, plastic sheets, talcum powder and water.
- Prepare the bottles by drilling holes in their lids. The holes allow CO2 gas to escape in the air and attract the bed bugs.
- Prepare the yeast solution by mixing entire packet of yeast in lukewarm sugar water solution. (Amount of water you need for this is approximately 1 cup while Sugar required is a few teaspoons.)
- Let this mixture rise until it is doubled in volume and very foamy.
- In the mean time, prepare more sugar solution in lukewarm water. It should fill all 4 soda bottles ¾ of their capacity.
- Prepare a cylindrical basket large enough to hold the soda bottles. This has to have its bottom cut out and replaced with a plastic sheet. The plastic sheet should be slippery so as to prevent the bed bugs from climbing out.
- Now place the 4 empty soda bottles in the basket.
- Once the yeast solution has risen, add it to the remaining sugar mix.
- Fill the soda bottles with the yeast, sugar and water solution.
- Place the bottles in the prepared plastic basket. Sprinkle talcum powder liberally in between the bottles and in the gaps in the basket. This will deter the bugs further.
- Cover the entire ‘structure’ with a plastic sheet.
- Place this trap under the bed.
- Next morning, you will see dead bed bugs (in various life cycle stages) in the trap.
These are a few ways in which you can protect your bed from bed bugs, stop bed bug bites and have a good night’s rest.