Bed bugs cause unpleasant bites that can lead to terrible itching and even allergic reactions. Invisible during the day, these tiny, bloodthirsty nocturnal insects wait for their hosts on beds and sofas. Let’s see how to eradicate them.
Recognizing Bed Bugs
If you wake up in the morning with mosquito-like bites in groups or rows, you may be dealing with bed bugs.
The most common bedbug is tiny (between 5 and 8 mm) and has the soft Latin name of Cimex lextularius. It has an oval, flattened reddish-brown body. This is nothing like the much larger, winged, vegetarian Devil’s Bug or Green Bug!
The beast neither jumps nor flies; it simply moves using its legs. This discreet but voracious insect can cause up to 80 bites in a single night and feeds on human blood.
Over the past thirty years, the bed bug has made a comeback and is spreading at an alarming rate. Therefore, vigilance is essential, and getting rid of them as soon as possible is of paramount importance to stop the infestation.
The insect hides during the day and acts at night, causing sometimes unbearable itching. Discreet during the day, it flees the light of day by taking refuge under skirting boards, carpets, pictures, wallpaper, furniture, in mattresses, box springs, or cracks in the floor. If your bed is infested, the sofa will probably be too!
You should also know that bed bugs have an average lifespan of 5 to 6 months and that you can go on holiday without worrying about them; they can survive without eating for several months!
How can you avoid getting bed bugs in your home?
Unfortunately, bed bugs may already be present when you buy a new rental property.
If your home is healthy, there are a few things you can do to avoid bringing bed bugs into your home:
•If you buy second-hand clothes, put them in the washing machine immediately on a 140°F. Also, beware of furniture found at flea markets or picked up in the street;
•If you are going on a trip, beware of hotels, residences, other home rentals (even the cleanest ones), boat and train cabins, and holiday camp dormitories. Never put your suitcases on textiles (carpets, sofas, armchairs, beds, etc.) and do not store them in cupboards before checking for bedbugs;
•Scrupulously examine the bed and wardrobes before storing clothes.
•If you experience suspicious bites, find the cause and report the presence of bedbugs as soon as possible;
•Before leaving, vacuum your suitcase and wash all your clothes at 140°F before putting them in;
These precautions will prevent you from contaminating your home.
How to get rid of bed bugs?
If your home is infested with bed bugs, effective mechanical control will help you get rid of them; take heart because there is work to be done!
Start with plastic bags, a steam cleaner, and a hoover. But, of course, your washing machine will also be in demand.
•Empty your cupboards of clothes, wash them at 140°F, hang them outside if possible, or use the tumble dryer and put the dry clothes in sealed plastic bags. Textiles that do not tolerate high temperatures can be placed in a freezer at -4°F for more than 72 hours.
•Vacuum the eggs, nymphs, and visible adults. Vacuum all the nooks and crannies insist on vacuuming between floorboards, under and behind furniture, pictures, etc. Remember to dispose of the vacuum bag in a sealed plastic bag in the outside bin immediately. Then soak the various components (duct, hoses, nozzles) in boiling water.
•Steam clean all upholstery (248°F), wicker baskets, rattan or plant coverings, and curtains. If the infestation is not too significant, do the same on the mattress and sofa, taking care to treat the nooks and crannies, slides, and seam areas. If the infestation is massive, the mattress should be disposed of directly to landfill, as should the sofa.
In addition to these measures, you can use diatomaceous earth, which also works on the most common insects in the house, such as ants, fleas, cockroaches, or roaches. Chemicals should only be considered a last resort and used by a professional team, as they are dangerous to health and the environment.