Bed bugs have a rather cryptic lifestyle and that is what makes their control so difficult. Integrated pest management is hence one of the most effective bed bug control techniques. This approach involves a detailed inspection of the infested premises (preferably by a qualified professional) followed by heat treatment or chemical control. In the first step, one’s personal belongings are examined thoroughly for bed bugs, eggs, larvae and fecal matter. Since bed bugs prefer hiding in cluttered spaces, it is essential that a ‘bare walls’ approach is used for ensuring complete elimination and control. Following visual inspection, one can use one of the following effective bed bug control techniques:
Effective bed bug control techniques
For complete elimination and control, all clutter and personal belongings must be removed from the premises.
- Vacuuming is the first step of removing bed bugs. If you have opted for professional pest Control Company, the technicians might carry HEPA based backpack filters for vacuuming. These are very effective in removing cast skin, eggs and larvae of the bugs.
- Once vacuuming is over, the plastic bags in the vacuum cleaner must be sealed and discarded as far as possible from the premises.
- Vacuuming usually gets all the bed bugs, but small eggs often remain cemented to the surfaces they are laid on. As a result; other bed bug control techniques become mandatory.
- Sealants and caulking is another important step of effective bed bug control. Both these techniques can trap bed bugs inside the cracks and crevices and also reduce harborage sites for potential bed bug activities. Special attention must be paid to areas around window frames, electrical outlets, wall-paper seams etc.
- Steam cleaning is one of the most widely used methods of bed bug control. Professional pest control companies specifically use this technique to trap and kill bugs hiding underneath carpets, in headboards and baseboards as well as in the mattress seams, box springs etc. Dry steaming can also be used for reaching temperatures as high as 140 F, which can effectively kill and reduce bed bug populations. If you are planning on buying a bed bug steamer, make sure to purchase a unit having larger opening that dispels steam at lower velocity. The units with wider openings tend to blow eggs and larvae and simply spread the bed bugs to other areas of the room.
- Mattress encasements and covers are the next step in bed bug control techniques. After vacuuming and steaming is completed, cover the infested mattresses inside escape-proof mattress encasements. These ensure that bed bugs on the outside cannot enter inside while the ones trapped inside cannot escape outside nor bite through the covers. Remember: mattress covers and encasements will only prevent you from having to throw your mattress away; they will not prevent future infestations.
- Laundering infested personal items and clothing is the next important step of bed bug control. Make sure you have bagged all infested (or suspected to be infested) items so that they are not mixed with the clean items. Laundering should be done on the highest heat (more than 120 F). Alternatively, you could wash them in detergent for more than 10 minutes. When possible, a little bleach may also be used. Bed bugs can be effectively killed by soap as well as bleach.
- For large commercial facilities, the most effective bed bug control techniques include heat fumigation. This technology uses electric fans to blow hot air inside the facility to raise the atmospheric pressure. This heat is then maintained for hours to kill all bugs and their eggs. While this is one of the most effective bed bug control techniques for commercial properties, it is also one of the most expensive.
- Bed bug elimination with cold temperatures is another bed bug control method, though it is considered impractical due to the longer time periods for which the cold needs to be in place. Hence, attempting to kill bed bugs at 0 deg will take many days and if the bed bugs are inside the bedding, it might take even longer.
- Cleaning and sanitation of the premises are necessary on a continual basis, though this will not ensure bed bug elimination. Hence chemical control must also be made an important part of the integrated pest management approach. When using chemical products, one must use them only according to the label and the treatment area must be monitored from time to time to make sure that it is working.
Apart from these bed bug control techniques, people also need to be educated about how bed bugs spread. One has to; first and foremost, accept that these critters exist and that they even spread through public transportation and five star motels/hotels. Hence, everyone should be able to identify bed bugs in order to protect their household and loved ones from infestations.