Bedbugs have evolved to become a major issue for homeowners, apartment renters, college dorms and hotels. They sneak in on luggage, boxes, furniture and mattresses, and then multiply quickly to infest the entire area.
Bedbugs are nocturnal creatures that seek out their human hosts while they are sleeping, thanks to the carbon dioxide and heat people give off. They will bite for three to five minutes and feed on the host’s blood, then retreat back into hiding. They leave behind itchy, red welts that often can result in inflammation.
In fact, even college campuses across the country are now facing the fact that not only students are taking up residence in dorm buildings and are taking measures to help students keep bedbugs out of their student’s sleep cycle. For example, in 2007 the University of Florida heated dorm mattresses to temperatures exceeding 113 degrees-plus to try and get rid of their bedbug problem.
There are simple solutions for preventing a bedbug infestation, identifying if you have one, and treating it quickly, effectively and affordable with available products.
How to identify bedbugs. Bedbugs are easy to see – they are oval-shaped, reddish-brown, flattened insects that are 4 to 5 mm in length. They usually hide around the bed, so that’s the first place to look.
- Look for small, black dots on the headboard or pillow, or on or under the mattress
- Look for blood spots or other debris on bedding
- Check cracks and crevices around the bed
- Check other padded upholstery like couches, recliners and other areas where people may nap
- Look for red, itchy welts on the skin
Even if you don’t see bedbugs, they can still be lurking in even the swankiest home, dorm or apartment. It’s better to take precautions and treat quickly to eliminate the fear – and the problem.
When you see signs of bedbugs, don’t delay treatment. They will only multiply in the meantime. Readily available pesticides specially formulated to kill bedbugs offer fast, affordable solutions that allow you to take care of the bedbugs right away, without the expense and hassle of steam cleaning your entire home.
There are two steps to effective bedbug control using over-the counter pesticides.
Spray away the immediate problem. Products like Hot Shot® Bedbug and Flea Killer will kill bedbugs on contact with a water-based formula. Just remove bedding materials and spray mattress, headboard and bed frame until wet, then let dry. Wash the sheets, pillows and comforter in hot water. Also treat baseboards, moldings and floors, and spray your suitcases if you think you’ve picked up bedbugs in your room. Follow the detailed package directions to ensure safety of people and pets.
Fog for long-term control. To kill bedbugs, fleas, lice and ticks in your home, apartment or dorm – even hidden ones – turn bed bug foggers. This insect control solution kills on contact and provides long-term control. Read all package directions and cautions before using to ensure safety of people, pets and home furnishings.
How to prevent bedbugs. Bedbugs love to travel, so be careful what you bring into your place.
- Treat any reconditioned mattresses or used furniture before bringing them inside.
- Spray suitcases, too, just in case you pick up something from that trip home or on spring break
- Wash clothes when returning from trips or send to the dry cleaner for chemical cleaning
While bedbugs can be found in the cleanest home, thorough cleaning can help control infestations.
- Thoroughly wash bedding, clean all surfaces and vacuum
- Wash bedding and affected clothing with hot water and the hottest dryer setting possible, or dry clean
- Vacuum mattresses
- Steam-clean carpets
By just following these simple tips, you can have one less problem to “bug” you—one that doesn’t involve work, classes, homework, or otherwise hectic schedules. It’s all about taking smart steps to prevent bedbugs from settling in and using reliable, trusted products to kill bedbugs that are already there.