Step 1: Contact a Professional
Never try to tackle a bed bug infestation alone. Proper intervention demands a deep understanding of bed bug biology and behavior, and the pesticides that are most effective are only available to trained, licensed professionals. Applying pesticides without proper training can be ineffective at best and dangerous at worst. Contact a professional as soon as you suspect an infestation, no matter how big or small the problem seems. A quick response is your best defense against a worsening infestation.
Step 2: Cleaning
While it takes a professional to completely eradicate bed bugs, taking a few steps while you wait for your pest control appointment can reduce the bed bug population and improve your family’s overall comfort. While vacuum cleaners can become infested, you can try to use a vacuum with a vacuum bag to clean mattresses, box springs and upholstered furniture. Do not use attachments with bristles or brushes. Discard the vacuum bag immediately after vacuuming, sealing it inside a trash bag.
Step 3: Reduce Clutter
Cluttered areas, including underbed storage and cramped closets, give bed bugs plenty of places to hide. Eliminate clutter and ensure there is access to every area of your home. Unless treatment chemicals can reach every spot where bed bugs are hiding, professional pest management may only be able to reduce the problem instead of eliminating it.
Step 4: Take Care of Laundry
Bed bugs live and breed in fabrics, and their eggs are so small that you cannot always see them. Temperatures above 120-degrees Fahrenheit will kill bed bugs and their eggs. Launder your clothes, linens and furniture cushion covers frequently. Use a hot water wash and a heated dry. Research suggests that even low-temperature drying can be effective.
Step 5: Use Mattress Covers
Mattress and box spring covers specifically designed to encase bed bugs can help cull and contain your infestation. Bed bugs cannot escape the material. They cannot spread and will slowly starve. Encasements will also help you spot infestations early. Make sure any encasements you use are free from tears and in good condition.
What to Avoid
Realizing you have bedbugs can be distressing, but do not panic. Do not try to sleep in a different area of your home, and do not start throwing your belongings away. You are more likely to end up spreading the infestation throughout your home and even to your neighbors.