Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll have undoubtedly heard that the Nation, and San Francisco, in on bed bug alert. The little vampires have invaded San Francisco’s homes, movie theaters, public transit and more.
And killing them is not easy task. If you suspect you have an invasion of bed bugs, it’s always a good idea to call a pest control firm to help you exterminate these pests. Complete eradication is difficult and expensive, but here are a few things that you can use at home to help treat the problem.
If you suspect you have bed bugs, but can’t visually identify them, try this: Set up a dry ice trap. Bed bugs are attracted to the CO2 that we emit. Use an inverted dog bowl and set atop a thermos of dry ice, with the thermos open. Place fabric along the perimeter of the bowl so that bed bugs can climb into it and baby powder in the inverted portion of the bowl which will make it too slippery to escape. As the dry ice emits CO2 you’ll be able to determine in the course of one evening if you have bed bugs.
This technique comes with a number of warnings and disclaimers. CO2 can be lethal to humans in large amounts. If you plan on trying to catch bed bugs with dry ice, use the dry ice for no more than 1 hour. Dry ice can cause extensive burns and should be used with extreme caution when handling and around children and pets.
If you do have bed bugs, the last thing you want is them getting into your bed. Purchase hypoallergenic covers for your mattress, comforter and pillows to kill any infestation that may be living in them. This is also an excellent preventative measure to do prior to an infestation to prevent bugs from finding a way into your bedding.
Bed bugs are resistant to many/most chemicals, but you may want to consider Diatomaceous earth.
Wikipedia tells us:
Diatomaceous earth, also known as DE, diatomite, diahydro, kieselguhr, kieselgur and Celite) is a naturally occurring, soft, chalk-like sedimentary rock that is easily crumbled into a fine white to off-white powder. This powder has an abrasive feel, similar to pumice powder, and is very light, due to its high porosity. The typical chemical composition of diatomaceous earth is 86% silica, 5% sodium, 3% magnesium and 2% iron.
DE can be distributed using a puffer (and while wearing a respirator mask) to slowly kill bed bugs. The dusting remains effective as long as it stays on your floor, so there isn’t a need to reapply. DE is not an instant kill solution — it wears out their outer shell and dehydrates them to death, which takes a few days. This can be a good solution to preventing a re-infestation, but always check with your pest control provider to ensure its not interfering with their own treatment. And remember, DE should not be inhaled. It can cause silicosis, a respiratory disease brought on by inhaling silica.
Climb up insect interceptors are another good option. They can be purchased or you can try to make your own. The commercial versions work by luring the bug up into a moat that it cannot escape from (similar to the inverted dog bowl/dry ice idea). Place your bed post in the middle and watch bugs fail to get up the post searching for a meal. If you make your own, you can place your bed post in a bowl with either soapy water or oil, either of which will kill bugs by drowning.
Your best option for eradicating bed bugs is heat. They may be resistant to chemicals and sprays, but they are not resistant to being burned alive. Clothes should be washed in the hottest water your washer can provide (at least 120 degrees) and placed in a hot dryer for at least 40 minutes. Since bed bugs love hiding in couches, beds, under carpets and any tiny crevice they can find, a good dry steamer is indispensable. To kill bed bugs and their eggs on contact the steamer should reach at least 200 degrees at its tip. You can test the heat coming from your steamer using an instant read thermometer under an area you may want to steam. The thermometer must reach at least 180 degrees to kill bugs and eggs on contact.
Exercise caution with all of the techniques listed above as some of them can cause bodily harm if administered incorrectly. And look up, you can beat a bed bug infestation, it just takes time and persistence.