Just the mention of this insect makes you want to scratch... Know how to recognize bed bugs to finally stop sharing your bed (and your skin) with them.
In recent years, bed bug infestations have been on the rise in North America.
Getting rid of bed bugs
As an example, the number of residential reports in the city of Montreal has increased from 2,809 in 2011-2012 to 4,903 in 2014-2015.
How to recognize a bed bug
To prevent bed bugs and their eggs from appearing in your home and to exterminate them, you must first become a pro at recognizing them.
Bed bugs are :
Visible to the naked eye
Brown in color, but red or dark brown if they are full of blood
Oval in shape and grape seed sized
Fast, although they do not jump or fly
Tough, because they can live for more than a year if they are dormant
Bed bug eggs are :
White in color
The size of a pinhead
In groups and never isolated
Hatch 10 to 14 days after being laid
Where do bed bugs hide?
They are called bed bugs because they love to feed on your blood.
They can extend their territory beyond the bedroom and can be found in :
Bags and suitcases
Furniture such as chairs, sofas and the covers that cover them
Rugs and curtains
Window or door frames
Behind baseboard heaters and electrical outlets
If you see any of the following signs, bed bugs have adopted your home:
Presence of live insects and eggs
Bites or redness on your body
Black or bloody stains on bedding
How do I get rid of bed bugs?
The faster you react, the easier it will be to exterminate them, as they reproduce at a rate of one to five eggs per day per adult female.
1. Call a certified exterminator
Don't play the exterminator's apprentice. By handling pesticides and chemicals, you risk endangering your health and the health of those living under your roof.
Choose a reputable exterminator.
This applies especially to tenants who have a duty to notify their landlord of the presence of bed bugs in their dwelling as soon as possible.
2. Follow the exterminator's advice
For extermination treatments to be effective, it is essential to follow the exterminator's instructions.
You will have some cleaning duties to do before his arrival and you will have to respect some instructions even after the extermination which can stretch over a few weeks.
3. Clean up. Clean up. Clean up.
Thwart the diabolical plans of bed bugs by keeping your home in an impeccably clean state:
Vacuum everywhere (even mattresses and curtains) and then dispose of the bag.
Pick up anything that's lying around, as bed bugs will take refuge in your clutter.
Empty your drawers, bookcases and dressers.
Remove carpets and curtains, clean them and put them in plastic bags.
4. Inspect your mattresses, box springs and upholstered furniture
If bed bugs are present
Seal your mattresses, box springs and upholstered furniture by tearing them with an exacto.
Before throwing them away, put them in thick plastic bags or a cover that closes tightly.
Wait for your exterminator's signal before buying new mattresses, box springs and furniture.
If there are no bed bugs
Clean them with a steam machine. Then wrap them in a bed bug cover.
Bed bugs don't like Siberian temperatures. If it is colder than -10°C, leave your mattresses, box springs and upholstered furniture outside for more than 2 days.
5. Clean fabrics and items
Fabrics are a favorite place for bed bugs.
Fortunately, there are several ways to clean them to get rid of them.
Once this step is complete, place clean fabrics and items in an airtight plastic bag.
Washer and Dryer
For this technique to work and eliminate bed bugs, follow these washing guidelines:
Wash in very hot water, approximately 60°C.
Immerse all items completely.
Run a full wash cycle.
When drying, make sure the temperature is as high as possible and that your clothes tumble for more than 30 minutes.
Rent a steam machine to clean fabrics, bedding, furniture and also places where bed bugs hide, such as baseboards.
Do this in one room of your home. You'll reduce the risk of infesting other rooms.
Here, the freezer is your best friend, as long as its temperature is at least -18° C. Why? Because it cools your clothes and items quickly and prevents bedbugs from adapting to the temperature.
Place your clothes in the freezer without compacting them too much and let them sit in the freezer for at least 3 1/2 days.
How to prevent bedbug infestation?
The presence of bed bugs in a place is not caused by uncleanliness... only the bad luck that the insect has been transported to your home.
However, there are a few rules to follow to avoid becoming acquainted with them.
Anything lying around on the floor or in drawers is a dream hiding place for bed bugs.
Put everything away to reduce the risk of contamination.
Inspect used clothing
Be extra careful when buying used clothes at a thrift store.
Carry them in a bag that seals completely.
When you get home, inspect your clothes.
Avoid items left on the sidewalk
As attractive and clean as used items left on the curb by your neighbors may seem, they can be a breeding ground for bed bugs.
Upholstered furniture, mattresses and box springs should be left where they are.
If you decide to take them home anyway, an inspection is necessary.
Be extra careful when travelling
As soon as you arrive, inspect your hotel room, paying particular attention to the sanctuary of these insects: the bed.
To do this, you should first focus on the bedding. Then, bring the 4 corners of the sheets and the ears towards the center of the bed. Make a knot. Next, you need to examine the mattress and box spring from every angle.
If you find any, ask for a new room and transfer all of your belongings to an airtight plastic bag until you process them.
If there are no bed bugs, leave your bags in the bath or put them on the luggage rack.
Don't store your clothes in dressers and avoid leaving them on the floor or bed.
When you return from your trip
Carefully examine the contents of your suitcases, leaving them on a hard surface such as the bathroom floor, hallway or garage.
If you detect the presence of the enemy, it's time to treat the contaminated items.