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Bed Bug Woes: Four Ways to Combat the Itch in the Night

And Avoid Getting Eaten Alive While You Sleep

Bed bug infestations are on the rise, and you can run into these bugs anywhere, especially while traveling. They like to hop on you and your belongings and go home with you. Once settled in, they’re notoriously difficult to get rid of. Arizona and Nevada pest control companies have reported a 70 percent increase in bed bug extermination services over the last year alone. If you have a bed bug problem, or even just suspect you do, hiring a bed bug removal service is often the only way to get rid of the problem for good.

What Do Bed Bugs Look Like and Where Do They Hide?

These little critters are flat and reddish-brown. After feeding, they look like plump apple seeds. They can't fly or jump, but they move fast. They prefer to live in bedding and in the seams and crevices of mattresses, box springs and bed frames. They also hide in alarm clocks, night stands, bedside lamps, upholstery, behind wall hangings and in tiny cracks. They lurk inside books, appliances, clothing, wooden furniture, carpeting, curtains, behind electrical switch plates and anywhere else that's hidden from view. Any crack as wide as a credit card can harbor bed bugs.

How Do I Know If I Have an Infestation?

Here are some signs that you may have a bed bug problem:

  • Bugs in and around your bed
  • Reddish stains or dark spots on your bedding and bed frame
  • Tiny eggs, egg shells, and little yellow skins
  • Small, itchy bites when you wake up

If you detect an infestation, treat it immediately. The longer you wait, the worse it will get. Over time, these bugs can even become immune to pesticides. Serious infestations may require a combination of different treatments applied repeatedly.

How Can I Get Rid of Bed Bugs?

The most effective way to kill these bugs is to enlist the help of a pest control expert. However, you can do a lot to get provide relief from the bites and the itching that ensues. Here are four remedies that can help:

  • Steam. Use a steamer on every inch of your mattress, bed frame and box spring to kill bugs and their eggs. You can also use the steamer on furniture, wall crevices, baseboards, upholstery, curtains and carpeting. After drying, protect mattress, box spring and pillows with sealed encasements.
  • Launder. Remove all bedding and place it in a sealed plastic bag so no bugs can escape. Place the bedding in a washer and launder it in hot water. After washing, dry the bedding on high heat for about an hour.
  • Trap. Use double-sided sticky tape on the legs of your bed so that any bugs that try to crawl in with you will get stuck. Make sure that your bedding and bed skirt do not touch the floor and that your bed does not touch the walls or other furniture.
  • Treat. You can treat your bedding, bed, carpeting and furniture with essential oils. Tea tree, peppermint, lavender, thyme, clove, cinnamon, eucalyptus and lemon grass can all repel and kill bugs.

If you do try to treat the problem yourself, don't rely on just one method. Use all four. Additionally, you should vacuum the bedroom thoroughly and use a vacuum attachment on all crevices and openings on floors, walls and furnishings. Empty the vacuumed contents into a plastic bag, seal it, and dispose of it outside.

Although DIY treatments can be helpful early on, these critters are highly resistant, reproduce quickly and can survive for a year or more without blood. After a room has been treated, the bugs often just move to another room and go into hibernation until they can once again join you in the bedroom.

To ensure that an infestation is removed completely, the only answer is to call in an experienced pest control company like Burns Pest Elimination for a thorough and lasting solution.

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