How to Control a Bed Bug Infestation

Tips for killing bed bugs for good


What should homeowners know in order to get rid of bed bugs? Most importantly: Don’t make the infestation worse. Time and time again, those infested with bed bugs unknowingly worsen the infestation. To add insult to injury, they waste money doing so. Knowing what NOT to do when it comes to fighting a bed bug infestation is as important as knowing what to do. Read on for tips on how to get rid of bed bugs for good.

For professional help, contact Cowleys Pest Services' professional bed bug exterminators, serving Somerset, Edison, Lakewood and surrounding areas in New Jersey. Call 1-855-239-9059 or click below to schedule service!

Don't panic

Bed bugs are annoying, frightening creatures. After all, bed bugs are parasitic and live off human blood. It is important to know that they are not carriers of blood-borne diseases like ticks and mosquitoes. Just remind yourself that, while you are in a bad situation, it is only a temporary one. You can and will get rid of your bed bug problem. Thousands of other households have successfully dealt with bed bugs and you will too.  

The key to winning the bed bug war is adapting a well-considered strategy and utilizing a pest control service experienced in bed bug eradication. It is a winnable war provided that the right steps are taken. If you want to get rid of bed bugs, the sooner you involve a pest control professional, the better. If you wait because you are not sure if you have bed bugs or you want to try resolving the problem on your own, the bed bug population in your home will continue to grow and spread.

Don’t use home remedies

There are many home remedies out there that range from the silly to the outright dangerous. Don’t use thyme oil. It may discourage bed bugs but it won’t kill them. Chances are it will help spread the bugs. Don’t cover the legs of the bed frame in kerosene or coat them with petroleum jelly. Bed bugs have been known to climb on the ceiling and drop down. Leg protectors on bed frames can help, but they are not impermeable barriers. None of these will stop persistent bed bugs from reaching their host.  Bed bugs have been around for time immemorial for a reason. They are relentless in reaching a host and have an unending reserve of patience. Kerosene, of course, is a fire hazard and emits noxious fumes. These types of “treatments” do more harm than good.

Don’t move around – bed bugs will follow

Don’t try to adjust your sleep to avoid or “trick” bed bugs. For example, don’t bother sleeping with a light on. Bed bugs are interested in feeding when their hosts are inactive. Bed bugs are nocturnal, but they are not vampires.  They will happily feed under lights if they’re hungry and the host is exhibiting limited movement. Also, don’t sleep in a different room. Bed bugs will move to a neighboring room if they can’t find food (human blood) where they are. They track us by our carbon dioxide so they will just follow you to the next bed or sofa. Even worse, bed bugs can live months between meals becoming dormant while waiting for humans to return. So sleeping in a different room or even moving to another state won’t solve the problem. Rather, there is a high likelihood that you will carry the bugs to a new place and just exacerbate the problem.  

There is only one way to attack the bed bug problem: killing them. Anything else either delays the problem or makes the problem worse. Bed bug behavior is simple. In this parasite-host relationship, our blood is their sole food source. Their very existence depends on staying close to a human host. As difficult as it sounds, the best way to contain the bugs in as few locations as possible is to continue sleeping in the same bed. If you have a bad reaction to the bites, find a selfless martyr willing to substitute for you and take a few bites. Most people suffer little to no reaction to bed bug bites and, to reiterate, bed bugs are not carriers of diseases. While it is “skeevy” to be bitten by bed bugs, their bites usually cause problems in the most extreme cases. By striking hard and fast with a pest control professional, your bed bug problems can quickly become a memory,

Don’t bomb or fog

Don’t bomb or fog your affected rooms. This will have the effect of driving the bugs to other places in the home. Bug bombs and foggers are bed bug dispersal devices. If you have a localized bed bug problem, you will soon find yourself with an out-of-control non-localized one. If the infestation is limited to just a couple of rooms, after using a fogger, the bugs will look for places to hide throughout your entire home. Likewise, if the infestation is in one apartment, they will jump ship to neighboring apartments. In an office building, the bed bug problem will spread like an oil spill to other areas. Containment is key. With pest infestations, these products make matters worse.

Don’t blast your heat

Don’t turn up the heat. There has been a lot of publicity about using heat to kill bed bugs. To be sure, heat works extremely well and it is a recommended treatment option in conjunction with other procedures. Exposing bed bugs to high temperatures will kill all life stages of bed bugs. But there is a catch – and it’s a big one. High heat must be maintained at every point in the structure. Pest control professionals have specific protocols and specialized heating equipment designed to kill the bugs. Simply turning up the heat in your house is insufficient to kill the bugs and will likely promote scattering as they look for cooler locations. Similarly, the home remedy of wrapping items in black plastic and leave them in the sun doesn’t work. The only high heat treatments that are effective in killing bugs are those that are applied by bed bug specialists.  You need a high uniform heat the evenly penetrates the room all at once. And that takes special equipment.

Don’t spot spray with ineffective DIY products

The proper use of insecticide takes training, especially when dealing with households where there are very young and very old. That is why there are licensed pest management professionals who are trained and experienced in chemical applications, ensuring safety above all else.  

You may derive some satisfaction when killing those bugs that receive a direct hit, but ultimately it will make the infestation worse in the same way that bombs and foggers do. The sprays will further entrench the bugs, pushing them deeper into your furniture, your walls, and your home. If you see a bed bug and bed bug signs like stains on your sheets, assume there are many more bugs hiding for every one that had the nerve to venture out during daylight. If you want to squish it with a tissue or suck it up with a vacuum cleaner as a stress reliever, no harm is done. But killing a few isolated bugs that happen to rear their ugly head won’t put a dent in the overall infestation. Resolving a bed bug infestation requires a unified, coordinated attack.

Don’t jeopardize the health of your family

Fear of bed bugs has driven people to overuse common pesticides resulting in serious health problems. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported more than 100 cases of insecticide poisoning associated with people’s DIY efforts to get rid of bed bugs. In one case, a person died. The very young and very old can have extreme sensitivities to pesticides. Applying them on your own, especially those not formulated to kill bed bugs, or even worse, designated for outdoor use only, can have serious health consequences for your family. Common toxicity problems come from using too much product, failing to wash or change bedding after treated with insecticide, and from using products, especially foggers, not registered for killing bed bugs.

Don’t steam clean or use your blow dryer as a “heat gun”

Other waste of time activities are steam cleaners that are not meant for killing bed bugs. They are not hot enough or dry enough. But you will blow them around the house spreading the infestation. Along the same lines, don’t try to blast them away with a blow dryer. It does more harm than good. It's better to have professionals come in and perform heat treatment, chemical treatment, or a combination of both. Cowleys Pest Services can help you determine the best method of bed bug extermination.

Don’t throw out your mattress and box spring

Don’t throw out your mattress and box spring. First, just carrying the mattress out of the home usually causes the bed bugs to drop off all over your home like World War II paratroopers. Second, bed bugs hide in more than just mattresses. Lugging out one solitary piece of furniture won’t make any difference. The only reason to dispose of a mattress is psychological. If you insist on throwing out your bed, wrap it in sheeting or buy a special mattress disposal bag. Also, don’t leave it outside for someone else to pick up and cart into his or her home along with the hitchhiking bed bugs.  

Don’t throw out your furniture

Even worse, don’t throw out your furniture. Most furniture can be treated by your pest control professional. It is a waste of money and is more of an act of frustration and desperation since it will not resolve the problem. The bed bugs will remain hidden in the cracks and crevices of your home. Again, if you are getting rid of infested furniture be sure to warn others if leaving it outside for others to pick up. Better yet, take it to a landfill or waste facility right away.

Don’t wait to treat your bed bug problem

Finally, perhaps the worst “don’t” for a homeowner or property owner is don’t wait and see. Bed bug problems don’t self-resolve. Left untreated, bed bug problems just get worse. Much worse. Bed bugs reproduce rapidly. Every day they become more entrenched in your home. If you see just a single, solitary bed bug, assume that where there is one, there is many. You are virtually assured of a full-blown infestation if there are signs, like blood stains on your sheets and unexplained bites on your body. By contacting a pest control professional immediately, you can stop a small problem from turning into a major one. And the more contained the infestation, the lower the cost to treat. All too often, we hear people say that they did not think the problem was “serious enough” to contact a pest control service. Big mistake. With bed bugs, there is no threshold level of tolerance. One bed bug is one too many.

Contact a NJ bed bug control professional

A bed bug infestation cannot be resolved until an action plan is implemented that includes field-tested, clinically proven, effective strategies and products. Only a licensed pest control professional, like Cowleys Pest Services, has the resources to successfully remove these infestations. Applying ineffective products or home remedies only gives the bed bugs more time to gain a foothold in your home. And two weeks later, you are dealing with a larger, more costly infestation. The sooner a pest control professional who is experienced in bed bug infestations is contacted, the faster the bugs will be out of your home and out of your life.

For assistance with bedbug treatment and extermination, contact Cowleys Pest Services today. We service Somerset, Edison, Lakewood, Piscataway, Bridgewater, Toms River, Brick, Old Bridge, Princeton Junction, Middletown and surrounding New Jersey.

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