How to get rid of bed bugs and the products you need to do it
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- Bedbugs are the small, flat, brown insect from the Cimex lectularius and Cimex hemipterus that survive by consuming the blood of mammals, including human beings.
- Bedbugs can be detected by evidence of their shed skins or droppings, by spotting the insects directly, or, of course, by the bites they leave on your body.
- A bedbug can survive a year without feeding, so proper eradication is critical - never assume an infestation has simply resolved itself.
- To combat bed bugs, you need a laundry treatment, a waterproof mattress cover, a pesticide spray, and a bedbug-killing heater. If all else fails, call the exterminator.
First, the good news: Bedbugs are not known to spread any infectious diseases. As they cannot fly or jump, their spread from one location to another is easy to prevent as long as you take proper precautions.
The bad news is that bedbug bites are itchy and often painful and lead to blistered welts and allergic reactions. Also, these parasitic insects can be found in every populated region on Earth. They can live for up to a year without feeding, lurking nearby, and waiting to bite again. And also they're gross. Though adult bedbugs are usually just four to five millimeters long at full size, the sight of one is enough to make most people swoon. Or sprint.
Ideally, you'll never have to deal with a bedbug infestation. But in case you do, we've got a few tips to help out. But first...
How to prevent a bedbug infestation
Once bedbugs get into your home (or office or shop), removing them can be quite the involved process. So prevent them from infesting in the first place by making sure none ever get in the door.
If you ever visit a location you think may have an infestation, inspect the area carefully, and don't stay there if you find evidence of bedbugs.
To be safe, always place luggage, clothing, and other personal items on stands or hung in the closet, making your property less accessible to these insects that must crawl to move. Keep your effects away from carpets, upholstered furniture, and of course beds.
When you get home later, consider immediately washing and drying all of your clothing that was along for the trip on a hot setting, and if possible, leave unpacked suitcases and even your shoes out in the garage or on a back porch. And change and bathe as soon as you return from anywhere with a potential bedbug infestation.
If you are bringing home a piece of furniture - especially a second hand piece - thoroughly inspect it and consider preemptive treatment if you have any suspicion of bedbug presence.
Also, make sure to keep your own home as neat, orderly, and clean as possible. Hang clothes or put them away in drawers, don't leave towels, linens, or pillows on the ground, and change sheets and make the bed regularly.
How to remove bed bugs from your home
The first thing you have to do here is be honest with yourself: Can you handle this bedbug issue, or should you call in the professionals? If an infestation has spread throughout your home, if the bites are causing you, your family, and/or your pets extreme discomfort, or if you just don't want to deal with a horde of parasitic blood-sucking insects yourself, then call the pros.
Otherwise, it's time to reclaim the residence from these nasty little characters, and it all starts with laundry.
Here are the products you need to fight bedbugs:
- Best laundry treatment: Hygea Natural Bed Bug Laundry Treatment
- Best mattress cover: Utopia Bedding Zippered Waterproof Mattress Cover
- Best brush: Full Circle Laid Back 2.0 Dish Brush
- Best pesticides for bedbugs: Harris Toughest Bed Bug Killer Spray and Eco Defense Organic Bed Bug Killer
- Best bedbug-killing heater: ZappBug Oven 2 bedbug killing heater
Read on in the slides below to check our our recommendations on how to get rid of bedbugs:
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