If you think you have bed bugs, here are some dos and don’ts (Part 2 of Two Parts)

October 21, 2014 by Doug Moore

Don’t start bagging everything you own. With the exception of washed and dried clothing (according to specific instructions from your pest control operator) do not seal up everything you own in bags. Some PCOs will want you to inspect, vacuum, and seal all your possessions in bags. Most won’t. Following their advice is crucial, since they know what they’re using on your problem. If you decide to bag things, you may be sealing away bed bugs– and this is only a way of dealing with the problem if you put these items in storage for 18 months, unopened. Instead, most PCOs will vigorously fight your problem, and bed bugs will be attracted out of your possessions and towards poisons which will kill them. If you decide to go with a heat treatment, you don’t need to wash all your clothing.

Do start dealing with your clothing and linens. Though you should not simply seal your possessions in bags (as above), it is probably a good idea to start working on clothing and bedding, since the PCO most likely will tell you to do this, and it takes time. You should take clothing and other items, wash them in a machine on hot, dry them on hot for at least 30 minutes. Remember, driers vary as to their strength and how long they take with what size of load. Dry cleaning is okay too. Keep in mind that pillows, comforters, down coats, and other thick items may take longer. Here’s the key: after washing and drying, bag items in sealed, airtight bags, and do not remove them until you’re ready to use them. Again, if you’re getting a heat treatment, you can eliminate these steps.

Don’t assume bed bugs are only in your bed. While bed frames and mattresses and headboards are the most likely location for bed bugs, they can and do often hide out in sofas and other soft furniture, electrical sockets (behind plates), light fixtures, baseboards, floor crevices, and other crevices in the bedroom and living room. Bed bugs are occasionally found in kitchens and bathrooms. This should not make you panic: most cases, especially smaller ones, are quite concentrated, usually 10-20 feet from where people sleep (or where they sit for extended periods). Hire a canine bed bug inspection service – the dog will be able to determine where the bed bugs are.

However, if a PCO tells you bed bugs are not found in living rooms, realize that many people have infested sofas, computer chairs, and so on. Don’t believe that bed bugs only bite at night. They prefer a sleeping, stationary host who is fast asleep. But if they’re hungry, they’ll take what they can get. You can be bitten while in a chair, awake.

Once you get a PCO treating your place, don’t assume this will be solved overnight. If your PCO treats and you are still being bitten, this is normal. The bites should decrease and eventually disappear. If you see bed bugs or are bitten, do have another treatment within 10-14 days of the first. Get mattress and box spring encasements for your bed.

Vacuuming every day in some cases is a good idea, in others, it may sabotage the work of certain substances left down to kill bed bugs. The same is true of bagging everything you own, as above. Never assume that you should do what someone online is doing, since they may be working with a different pest control protocol.

For more information about bed bugs, heat treatment, and canine bed bug scent detection, click here.

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