Minimizing a Bed Bug Infestation
The members of the Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force highly recommend that you have a licensed pest management professional (exterminator) treat your home. If you cannot afford the cost of a licensed pest professional, some of them will sell you the same products that they would use, and they will explain to you how to use them. Follow the directions on the label exactly!
Before, and during the treatment, here are some measures that may help you to reduce the number of bed bugs in your home. Please note! These steps CANNOT completely eradicate the bed bug population, but they will help.
- Remove clothing, toys or anything else that is lying on the floor. Clutter provides bed bugs with more places to hide, which makes treatment less effective. if there are lots of places for the bed bugs to hide.
- Wash all fabric items on the hottest water temperature that the label recommends, then dry them. When they are completely dry, restart the dryer and heat them for 30 minutes on the highest heat setting. Afterwards, seal them in tightly in clear plastic bags labeled “Clean”. (Well labeled and sealed garbage bags or rubber tubs with lids work also.)
- Carefully vacuum carpeting, drapes, upholstered furniture, baseboards, and cracks and crevices daily. Afterwards, Sprinkle talcum powder or cornstarch on the floor and run your vacuum cleaner over it, so that it will suffocate any bed bugs that are drawn into the sweeper. Put the disposable vacuum bag or the contents of the dust cup in a plastic bag. Seal the bag, and take it to your outside garbage container.
- Scrub off any bed bug eggs and droppings that you see on your furniture, walls and baseboards with hot soapy water. Steam cleaning is also effective for removing the stains.
- Put items that cannot be washed and dried, such as electronics, photographs, books and appliances inside heavy plastic bags or plastic tubs that can be sealed closed. Place a Nuvan Prostrip™ in the bag or container. They are available through pest management companies or on line. Nuvan Prostrips™ release a vapor in enclosed spaces that kills bed bugs, but you must follow the instructions that come with them exactly! Note: The items that you are treating will have to remain in the closed container at least for two weeks, and heavy, dense material like books and papers may have to remain in the container for one month.
- Keep all of your backpacks, brief cases, purses, and other carry-alls in your garage, if you have one. If not, put a plastic tub with a tightly fitting top just inside the door that you use the most. When you come home, put your carry all(s) in the container.
- If your pest management professional tells you that he cannot treat a piece of furniture or a mattress, please do this: Wrap it in plastic heavy plastic sheeting and securely tape all of the seams in the plastic. Clearly paint or write “Bed Bugs” on them. Don’t spread the infestation! Make sure your neighbors don’t take the things that you’ve thrown away into their homes.
- Any household goods that you buy should be inspected before you take them into your home. Look for any evidence that the items may be bed bug infested. Pay especially close attention to clothing, electronics, furniture and household items that you bought at bought at garage sales, flea markets, or thrift stores. NEVER take anything out of someone’s trash container or the alley! It is very likely to be bed bug infested!
- Buy “Climb up Interceptorstm” or similar devices for the legs of your bed frame to sit in. The interceptors are detection devices, but they will trap any bed bugs that climb into them. These special cups are available through exterminators, in “big box” stores and on the internet.
- Get your mattress and springs off of the floor! A mattress and / or box springs that is / are lying on the floor is the perfect hiding place for bed bugs! Put you bedding on a frame so that it is at least a foot above the floor.
- Pull your bed away from the wall so that your bed or bedding (blanket, sheets, etc) do not touch it.
- Remove bed skirts, if you have them.
- Do not put anything (luggage, blankets, pillows, stuffed toys) onto your bed if you have bed bugs.
- Encase your mattresses and box springs. Bed bug – proof encasements are like huge envelopes that completely surround the mattress or springs, and which are then zipped closed. Invest in better quality encasements, which are made of a woven polyester fabric, and they are designed with a bed bug – proof zipper. There are plastic covers available on the market, but they are apt to rip, which is a problem, since the cover has to remain in place for at least one year. Bed bug encasements are available on line, and at many retail stores, and through exterminators.