Melody is a volunteer for the Center for Disease and Control Prevention. She enjoys sharing her personal experience with others.
Bed Bug Population Continues to Rise
The Bed Bug Dilemma
One factor in the rise in bed bugs is globalization, and another is the ban on the most effective bed bug killers. You want to understand why there are so many bed bugs but it is difficult because the problem can be so overwhelming. There are overlapping reasons that these bloodsuckers are at a historical high. A long time ago governments were less strict about the types of pesticides that could be used in homes. This meant access to more powerful pesticides.
With the recent influx of migrants into the U.S., Canada, and Europe, some are noticing an influx of bed bugs in their area. Bed bugs can sneak a ride on people, clothing, and luggage. Warm weather causes them to breed faster, and the combination creates a huge problem.
As public health awareness spread, regulations took the best bed bug killer off the market. These creepy insects are the most stressful pest a home can get. They are annoying, exasperating and frustrating. However, they are less dangerous than the pesticides we used to use to kill them.
Unlike other pests, such as roaches and ants, bed bugs are hardy creatures that thrive beyond average extermination procedures.
More so, they can decrease your standard of living and cause you a great deal of stress. They interfere with your relationships, both personal and business. You must get rid of them before they threaten your happiness. Simply calling an exterminator and letting them take care of the problem is not an option.
Even if you call a professional to help you get rid of bed bugs, you are still looking at being very involved in the extermination process. The truth is, getting relief can be expensive and time-consuming, but you have no other choice. To get rid of these pesky bugs for real, you must buckle down and take back what is yours.
According to the Ohio State Bed Bug Fact Sheet, bed bugs can live up to one year without a meal. When trying to get rid of bed bugs, you have a hardy foe. When these creepy, nighttime crawlers do feast, they will leave various rashes on your body. In the past, people could chalk these up to mosquito bites, but now professionals and ordinary people are becoming educated on what bed bug rashes look like.
Bed bugs can come from anywhere and have a long history of bothering people.
Were you aware that doctors are on the lookout for bed bug bites? When healthcare workers see a bed bug rash they take specific precautions. They will not usually mention the bites to you unless you bring them up first; instead, they will make a special, coded message in your chart. The office will thoroughly clean the room you were in after you leave.
Even worse, some schools are sending kids with suspicious rashes home and reporting the bites to the local health department. It won’t be long until bed bugs become more than a secret embarrassment, but a threat to your status and personal wealth. Even though not medically dangerous, it is important to get rid of bed bugs before they become socially dangerous.
Prevent bed bugs from damaging your life and your relationships by confronting the problem. Demand relief in your life by getting involved with the problem. To get educated on bed bugs is to become bedbug-free.
Bed Bug Feces
Manifestations in The Modern World
Let's focus on more facts that explain why bed bugs seem to be everywhere. Why now? As mentioned above, we used to use a more powerful, yet dangerous chemical to kill bed bugs. It is called DDT.
In 1972 the U.S. banned its use after research studies explained the negative effects and high half-life of DDT. It was not long until other countries implemented similar regulations. Unfortunately, DDT was the only thing that was foolproof against bed bugs. Some people claim that bed bugs are DDT resistant, but there are too few research studies to prove that.
Unfortunately, DDT was the only thing that was foolproof against bed bugs. Some people claim that bed bugs are DDT resistant, but there are too few research studies to prove that.
DDT was the only product that guaranteed to get rid of bed bugs. No matter who you hire to exterminate, the truth is that there are no foolproof products on the market today. Hundreds of scientists are trying to come up with a new pesticide that will get rid of bed bugs completely, while meeting government safety standards.
This does not mean there are no pesticides that work; it just means that getting rid of bedbugs is not as simple as spraying. A complete plan includes the following:
- Multiple sprays
- Sealing all cracks and crevices
- Sealing furniture with special covers
- Sealing Furniture with caulk or
- Repainting walls and furniture (extreme cases)
- Removing carpet (extreme cases)
- Getting rid of all clutter (mandatory)
Bed bugs can hide almost anywhere. For example, they can squeeze in between pages of books, in cracks of jewelry boxes, small crevices between the trim and the floor, into picture frames, behind wall trim, under loose floorboards and many more places.
Achieving relief is about more than a simple spray. It takes an entire attitude shift and an increased awareness level. Even if you think you have rid yourself of the bugs, you still need to take measures to prevent infestations.
It is important to understand that you are not alone. You might feel alone, but there are thousands and thousands of families secretly struggling with bed bug infestations. Everyone too embarrassed to seek help from friends and family.
Having bed bugs does not mean you are unclean or a bad person. It just means you have fallen victim to the most devious bug ever. Staying in denial, or despair, will not help get rid of bed bugs. In fact, it might cause you to put off starting an all-out war against bed bugs. Every day you wait is a day that a hundred new eggs could have been laid.
It is important to act as soon as you think that you might have bedbugs. If you don’t have them, then it is only a matter of time until you do. According to a Huffington Post article written on March 21, 2012, Orkin pest exterminators reported a 33.6 percent increase in bed bug removal business.
With stats like that, everyone needs to know about these devious bugs. Still, do not let fear, shame or guilt keep you from protecting yourself against bed bugs. Start searching for bed bugs around your bed. Look at bed bug photos so you know what they look like.
Adult Bed Bug
Returning Bed Bugs From Where They Came
Once you admit you have a problem you are well on your way to solving it. To understand what you need to do to get rid of bed bugs, you need to formulate a plan which will protect you against, or eliminate, bed bugs.
If you do not create a bed bug relief plan you are going to run in circles, and you will end up on the losing side of the war. You need to decide if you are going to call a professional or attempt to do it on your own. Even if you call a professional there is much they will not do, like seal all of the cracks or remove furniture or clutter.
If you are feeling stressed out by bed bugs, then you may want to call a professional. They usually have bed bug plans ready to go. They will take a look at your problem and personalize the plan for your home.
The benefit of this is that you will have someone on call that you can direct your questions to. Either way, be prepared to be a very active participant in your bed bug problem.
If you really want to get rid of bed bugs, you need to take an inventory of your house and create a zoning system. Bed bugs can travel from one bedroom to the next, to the living room or any place a person spends time. Spraying for beds may not solve the problem; you need an organized and methodical plan.
Create a system that prevents the travel of bags and blankets from one part of the house to another. Also, to get rid of bed bugs, begin washing and drying all blankets, sheets and anything you can fit in the washer. The important part of this step is the dryer.
You must dry all items thoroughly on the highest heat your dryer has. Many people suggest 2 hours of drying; however, recently another writer pointed out this could be a fire hazard (see comments below). In my experience, the amount of drying can break dryers.
For this reason, you might want to do all blankets a the laundromat on a regular basis until the bed bugs are gone. Considering what dryer repairs can cost, and due to fire hazards, going to the laundromat is cheaper and safer in the long run.
Another thing you will need to do to get rid of bed bugs is change blankets and sheets as much as possible. If you can wash and dry them every day then do it. While blankets are in transit seal them in a large bag that seals, like a big Ziploc bag.
Also, to get rid of bed bugs you MUST get rid of all of your old clutter, every old box is a place for bugs to hide. This is not optional; it is mandatory. You have to make difficult choices about what to get rid of and what to keep. One thing to consider: do not give items away to friends or the Salvation Army or Good Will, you are only risking spreading the problem.
If you do not wish to throw everything away, choose a high-grade spray that is safe to use on mattresses, sofas and carpets. However, if your couch is infested it may have to go. For around $100-$200, you can get a couch cover to seal in bedbugs.
If your couch is not worth the investment then get rid of it. All mattresses will need covers, as well. I do not suggest going cheap because a cheap mattress cover will rip easily and need to be replaced, costing more money in the long run.
An essential item that is needed to get rid of bed bugs are bed bug glue traps. Most of them are formulated to smell like humans, and lure bedbugs to their death. There are general traps and traps to put under your bed posts.
They are inexpensive and can prevent bedbugs from crawling up into bed with you. As you can see, you need to use multiple approaches against bed bugs; spraying alone rarely solves the problem.
If you are serious, and really want to get rid of bed bugs, you must attack the problem as many ways as possible. This means creating the space, privacy and time needed to killing these cunning, nearly indestructible pests. It isn't easy, but it is well worth it.
Some Useful Bed Bug Products
Suspend Sc Insecticide can be used to spray for bed bugs. While it is not listed in the immediate title, there are instructions on the label that explain how to use Suspend to spray to get rid of bed bugs. One pint will get make between 10 and 20 gallons. At the highest concentration, for server infestations, you get 10 gallons. One gallon is used for every 1000 Square feet. This information comes directly from the label, which you should read thoroughly. If you want to know more read my Bed Bug Spray Review of Suspend SC.
Eco Keeper Bed Bug Monitors and Glue Traps are great for both infestations and as a preventative measure. When you open them up they do smell a little weird; however, once they are exposed to air the smell goes away. I find the strange smell goes away in about 24 hours.
Buggy Beds 4pk Home Bedbug Glue Trap is one of my personal favorites. These things are so awesome. They are perfect for infestations, prevention and detecting bedbugs before they become an infestation. Not only do they trap bedbugs, but they trap fleas, too! This is a cheap way to prevent bed bugs, and a great way to monitor your bed bug eradication plan.
Ideaworks Bed Bug Blockade Mattress Cover is a bed cover that covers the entire mattress and zips closed. It is not made of vinyl, which is a terrible material for mattress covers. This cover is a pretty good deal for the price and is machine washable. An added bonus is that it protects against dust mites, too.
Sleep Safe Bed Bug Pillow Zip Covers are so important! I have seen so many people go to the trouble of getting a mattress cover and not getting pillow covers. This particular cover is made of Evelon fabric, which is more comfortable and less noisy than vinyl covers. The price is really good, too.
SofaSafe Bed Bug Proof Sofa Cover Couch Encasement is for the person who doesn’t want to end up getting rid of their couch. I have never personally used this product; however, it came recommended to me by a tenant who uses it.
One piece of advice: DO NOT open this product up if you are not 100% sure it is what you want. There are no returns on this bud beg couch cover due to the fact that you could open it, it could get infected with bedbugs and they could spread back to the distributor.
© 2012 Melody Collins
Reginald Thomas from Connecticut on August 12, 2015:
I enjoyed reading your article. You provided plenty of advice as to how to rectify the situation in a home. Well done!
Naima Manal from NY on May 08, 2012:
This is a very interesting topic and a useful resource for anyone experiencing a bedbug problem. Voted up!
Melody Collins (author) from United States on May 08, 2012:
Thanks. Apartment living and bed bugs can be a problem. In our larger apartment building we spent a week straight caulking and sealing the tiniest of cracks and crevices. If you live in an apartment building with bed bugs, you need to talk to your landlord about sealing EVERYTHING.
Dianna Mendez on May 08, 2012:
This is so informative and useful to many people who may be experiencing this problem. I knew a coworker who had these little bugs when she lived in an apartment. She threw everything out! I like your recommendations much better. Voted up.
Melody Collins (author) from United States on May 03, 2012:
You bring up an interesting point Nicomp. Our tenants have dried clothing and blankets longer and here is what has happened. Their house haven't burned down, but the cloths fade faster. Some of their driers have been pushed too hard. We have had to replace bearings that broke. We were able to fix it ourselves for about 30 dollars. Of course not all landlords will fix your dryer for you. It did cause a blanket to melt in one case. So, I can agree that this could be a fire hazard. I think it really depends on family size. Tenants with 2 or three people seem to have little issues with their dryers, but if you have 3 or more people you should go to the laundry mat. now, if our tenants get bed bugs we suggest they go to the laundry mat for many reasons. One it is safer, two industrial driers are hotter and take less time and three it is quicker because you can do many loads at once. Thanks for bringing that up.
nicomp really from Ohio, USA on May 03, 2012:
"The important part of this step is the dryer. You must dry all items for 1-2 hours on the highest heat your dryer has"
This may solve the problem but it will probably burn down the house as well. Wet clothes 'dry' when liquid water becomes gaseous water. This process continuously cools the dryer as liquid water absorbs heat and transfers it through the vent into the outside atmosphere. No wet clothes = overheated dryer. Dry clothes left to cook in the dryer are a bad idea.
Melody Collins (author) from United States on May 02, 2012:
Tom, I hope you never have to deal with this issue! Thanks for the tip about foolproof! I have gotten it wrong all these years. Just proves you learn something new every day. Thanks.
TomBlalock from Hickory, NC on May 02, 2012:
I can't say that I have a problem with bed bugs, myself, but if I ever do, I know a good bit more now than I did before. Kudos for the interest in going green as well. I think people tend to overdo it, but it never hurts to be environmentally conscious. As one tidbit of contribution to the article, you have one portion written "Foolproof" which should be "fool proof." Thanks again for the helpful article!
Melody Collins (author) from United States on May 02, 2012:
Rebecca, I am glad you have not had to suffer with bed bugs. Some of the traps are great. The nice thing is, that you can put a certain type under the mattress and couch cushions. Check them every now and again and you are good to go. The best types use human scents to attract them. If you don't see bites, and there are none in the traps then you can rest easy.
Melody Collins (author) from United States on May 02, 2012:
Dale, thanks for sharing that all natural green product with us! We got a call yesterday that one of the tenants in one of the property I help manage has bed bugs. We have been using Suspend, but I really lean towards more natural products. I will try to locate the one you recommend, test it out and get pics and info up about it. We have tried other natural products that did not live up to our hopes as property managers, so I appreciate your advice!
Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on May 02, 2012:
This is an excellent guide to ridding bed bugs. I have not had them yet, I have dogs, the fleas probably eat them. LOL this sounds like a nightmare. I will certainly keep the bed bug glue traps in mind. Thanks for a fantastic Hub and welcome to Hubpages!
Dale Hyde from Tropical Paradise on Planet X on May 02, 2012:
Welcome to HubPages! I was checking my email and saw your following, so the name certainly got my attention. About two years ago, bed bugs suddenly became a problem in an apartment my mate and I were living in. We were able to get the problem under control and eliminated by using some of what you mention, including the "quality" not "cheap" mattress and box springs coverings, or bags as I like to call them. As for sprays, we tried several and found one non-toxic and green one to work the best. Good enough that when just a few weeks ago, in yet another apartment, bed bugs from the neighbors (vacant) apartment, started joining us in our apartment. We viewed the empty apartment and could see the spots where the bugs had been from behind where the pictures were hanging. This of course led me to do a search and sure enough, I found three of those critters here. So, back to the spray. We had some left from a couple of years ago, and sprayed the immediate area and ordered a gallon more to follow up with. The spray I recommend, due to my personal experience and ability to vouch that it is effective if used as directed, is Bedbug Bully. A Google search will inform you more of the spray and how safe it is to humans, pets and the environment.
An additional thing we do, to not only control any possible bed bugs but cockroaches and other critters is another non-toxic substance, Diatomaceous earth, which we sprinkle behind furniture and in the backs of cabinets and such. Google can provide you ample information on that as well.
Our landlord will NOT take responsibility for such an infestation, and it has all been an out of pocket cost to myself and wife. We had no new introduction of furnishings or anything, but still these critters will surface as you mention in your profile.
Sorry to ramble on so long! Great hub, voted up, interesting and useful!