8 Best Ways To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs

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Homeownership is great for the most part, isn't it? Once you've customized your abode exactly to your interests, you can sit back and enjoy, right? Well, not exactly. You may run into a pest infestation at some point, which could sadly include rodents (ick!) or house centipedes taking residence in your lower level. An ant infestation in your kitchen could quickly happen, or worse, those pesky bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) infiltrate your dreamy bedroom.

According to the Mayo Clinic, these tiny parasites are of the bloodsucking variety. They are a pain since they are excellent at hiding in different areas of your furniture, including the headboard, box springs, and inside mattresses. Bed bugs tend to be their most bright-eyed and bushy-tailed when it's dark, as Dr. Adam Friedman, professor and chair of dermatology at George Washington University, told U.S. News & World Report.

Lucky for you, if you have come upon bed bugs in your home, we have found eight ways to get rid of these creatures. Read on to find the best one that works for you!

1. Prevent the spread of bed bugs

According to the CDC, bed bugs can cause itchy skin, scratching, and in some cases, a heavy-duty allergic reaction in some people and your beloved pets. Preventing bed bugs from coming into your boudoir is the plan, but you also want to prevent them from migrating from other parts of your home; if you are in a high-rise apartment, you want to keep them from infesting over apartments. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says there are a few ways to stop the spread.

First, place items that have been infiltrated with bed bugs into a plastic bag that can seal closed for several days. If you're vacuuming the bed bugs, be sure to empty the vacuum, immediately throw away the trash, and ensure that the bag is properly sealed. Finally, they recommend that if you can't remove the bugs from certain furniture, it might be best to dispose of those items by having a special agency pick up the furniture (don't just throw it away as this can cause a spread of bed bugs). If you are a renter, notify your landlord as soon as possible so they can make a plan to mitigate the issue.

2. Assess your bed bug infestation

Now you're going to want to see if you have a major infestation. Have you ever seen an apple seed? Well, according to WebMD, that is about the size of a bed bug. WebMD notes a few ways to tell if these nocturnal pests have infiltrated your sleeping area. If you wake up to any blood, reddish-looking spots, eggshells, fecal matter, or shedding bed bug skin on your sheets, it could be an indicator that you have an issue. They also say that if the room smells musty, that could be bed bugs and their scent glands. If you notice these problems, your next step is to really take a good look at your bed.

According to pest control professionals Take Care Termite & Pest Control, you're going to want to thoroughly check your mattresses, pillows, and headboards (don't forget the cracks and crevices). Then you can determine your next step.

3. Wash your linens

The first thing to do now that you have found a bed bug infestation in and around your bed is to mitigate the problem. First, strip your bed of its sheets, comforters, and pillowcases. Now for some good news! The Spruce says that bed bugs can be killed by just doing one load of laundry. First, spray rubbing alcohol on your clothes that have come into contact with any bed bugs. However, you should only do this for colorfast garments. Other items that are not safe to spray with rubbing alcohol can be sealed up in a plastic bag for a few days.

So now that you've grabbed everything off your bed, Terminix says to add a load to your washer, set it on the hottest cycle (over 120 degrees Fahrenheit), and after that, transfer to the dryer and set on the hottest temperature. Then feel at ease knowing that you are one step closer to rid yourself of bed bugs for good.

4. Use your vacuum and steam cleaner

According to Rocklin Pest Control, a vacuum can be used to help control your bed bug infestation. However, getting one with excellent suction is important since bed bugs are outstanding at clinging on tightly to fabrics, whether it's bedsheets or in between pillows. It would be an excellent idea to vacuum all areas of your bed as well, including the mattress, box springs, and sides. A vacuum with a strong motor and crevice tool is essential.

After you have sucked up as many bed bugs as possible, buy or rent a steam cleaner because the heat from the machine can also help kill these pests if it's at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit, per The Environmental Protection Agency. However, the agency warns to use a diffuser because a steam cleaner with a powerful blast of air can cause the bugs to blow all over, which, as you can imagine, would not help resolve the issue!

5. Use diatomaceous earth

Diatomaceous earth can be an excellent method when it comes to killing bed bugs. According to Bob Vila, this powdery food-grade product is highly effective at ridding a home of pests, including bed bugs, silverfish, and spiders. The outlet notes that it has many uses around the house, including indoor and outdoor pest control, abrasive all-purpose cleaner, stain remover, fridge and shoe deodorizer, and dry food preservative.

But how does diatomaceous earth work exactly when it comes to killing bed bugs? Per Zap Bug, it effectively dehydrates the bed bugs since the diatomaceous earth soaks up the oily outer area of their shell. While this method can be highly effective, the company suggests doing this method, along with the heat method of washing and drying any infested linens and bedding at a high temperature. It also can be used as a barrier since bed bugs dislike trekking through diatomaceous earth.

6. Make a cayenne pepper spray

Another unique method of getting rid of bed bugs is to create a cayenne pepper spray to help put the kibosh on an infestation once and for all. Vinx Pest Control suggests mixing cayenne pepper with oregano oil and ground pepper and adding it to a spray bottle filled with water. Be sure to shake up the mixture so that it is thoroughly mixed well and then spray away. The company says this spray is so powerful that it kills bugs instantly.

However, there are some experts that don't endorse using cayenne pepper spray to get rid of beg bugs. For example, Killingsworth Environmental doesn't agree with this method; the company says that you would need an immense amount of cayenne pepper for this method to work — and to think both of the red stains it could bring to your home and the issues that could happen if a child or pet ingested it.

7. Purchase commercial products

If DIYing isn't your thing, there are some excellent products on the market for treating bed bugs. The Harris Bed Bug Traps for Early Detection & Monitoring can be a great product to trap bed bugs in the early stages. One Amazon reviewer said, "It took a few weeks to start catching them but works really well. ... Also, I'm using other methods to help eliminate them quicker."

If you're looking for a spray, the Bed Bug Killer by EcoRaider is a top choice. One reviewer highly recommends this product saying it actually worked and had some excellent advice. "You can't just spray magic spray and do bed bug dances during a full moon and expect them to keel over dead. They won't. The little devils will hide and plot," they advised. "Get rid of clutter, use heat, dryers, vacuum, then vacuum again." Once you have done all of the previous steps, the reviewer then suggests spraying to kill bed bugs.

8. Bring in the professionals

If you have tried all of these options and still have an infestation of bed bugs, it might be time to bring in the experts. Custom Bedbug, a pest control company specializing in removing (you guessed it) bed bugs, came up with several reasons you may not want to try to mitigate the pest problem yourself. First, they have the proper equipment and products, which means less exposure to harmful pesticides for you. They also possess the know-how of how to clean up correctly, and that could actually save you money since the experts know the proper process for eliminating these pests.

Anderson Pest Solutions also has some brilliant advice when it comes to knowing when it's time to bring in the experts. They explain that if you see an infestation and there are just too many bed bugs for you to remove the bugs safely yourself, it's an excellent idea to get professional help.