Bed bug infestation can be one of the most frustrating situations for a homeowner. The worst thing about a bed bug invasion is that they can go unnoticed for a long time until they breed and spread so fast to homeowner’s dismay. The situation becomes unbearable because there are no quick home remedies that can get rid of them or stop the breeding.
What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?
They are small parasitic insects that feed on blood and going by their name; they like residing mainly in beds frames, bed sheets and on mattresses. They can also be found in other places like in the shoes, shoe racks, baseboards, backpacks, suitcases, cupboards, and in most pieces of furniture.
Their shape is like that of an apple seed, and they measure around .16 to .2 inches in length and 0.59 to 118 inches in width. These tiny insects can survive in low temperature and can stay without feeding for a long time in low humidity conditions. Usually, a bed bug is reddish brown, but after feeding on blood, it can appear purplish red.
A bed bug will camp at a place where it has a source of food, and that’s why they will be found in your bed most of the time. When they bite you, you will experience skin irritation, sometimes leaving a rash or a blister. Some people may not manifest any visible signs after being bitten by a bed bug.
Where Do Bed Bugs Come From?
Bed bugs can be picked from anywhere. Since they are small insects, people who live in infested homes or areas can carry and spread them to anyone who comes in close contact with them. You can catch them up in a gym, schools, hotels, offices, or any public place that has an infestation.
Also, bringing used furniture in your can be another way of attracting bed bugs. Be careful when you are purchasing second-hand items such as tables, drawers, and some electronics.
The reason why they spread so fast is that, unlike other insects, the common treatment does not work to get rid of them. If you have an infestation, you will require specialized treatment that will ensure that both the bed bug eggs and the adults are eliminated.
Signs of Bed Bugs
It’s hard to spot a bed bug crawling freely on your floor since they are most active at night. They hide well, and it might be difficult to know that you have a bed bug infestation in your home. Besides, bed bugs resemble most species of insects, and you might ignore them thinking it’s just another harmless insect crawling on your floor.
If you wake up in the morning with irritation or a rash that you seem not to know how you got it, you probably have bed bugs in your bed. You need to do a close inspection around your bedroom and possibly other rooms to ascertain if there is a presence of these annoying insects.
Here are some of the places that you should look carefully to determine if the bedbugs are present in your home.
Take a Look at Your Bedroom
Bed bugs will mostly group themselves in a cluster and stay in hidden spots. Therefore, look carefully in your mattresses especially on the seams and the piping. Inspect the bed frames, tufts, box springs and lift the mattress up to look at the buttons.
Do you have furniture in your room? If you have drawers, chairs, desks or tables, inspect the frames to see if they are hiding in any of them. Pull the drawers and empty the contents to be able to do a thorough inspection.
Also, bed bugs can hide on the cracks in the wood on the floor. Look closely under the edge of your carpet to see if they have lined themselves in there. Sometimes they hide on the cracks on the wallpaper, so make sure you take a close look at your walls as well.
Check Your Luggage
If you had traveled, make sure you inspect your luggage to see if it had any bedbugs. Look at the place where you placed or stored it. It’s possible to carry bed bugs from hotel rooms, or public areas with shared utilities.
Look For Spots Your Bed Sheets and Pillowcases
If you spot dark reddish stains on your bed sheets and pillowcases, it could be an indication of bed bug feeding. The spots appear like smears which are composed of digested blood. If you spot these smears regularly, proceed to inspect the bed frames and the mattress to see if you can see the bed bugs.
As bed bugs grow, they will shed their case skin occasionally. If you spot several in your bed on the several occasions, the chances are that you have bedbugs in your house.
If the infestation is considered to be large, bed bugs may appear in other places like in the sofas, baseboard, bathroom, and kitchen. You can inspect the door frames using a flashlight to see if you can spot them.
When inspecting to see if you have bed bugs, it’s essential to note that these insects are tiny and they can hide in tight corners and fit in small cracks. It’s easy to miss them even when they are actually in the spot you are inspecting. Sometimes they can also hide in the small openings under a picture frame or, on some electrical outlets.
Caution should be taken during inspection because any further disturbance may make the bed bugs shift their hiding spot. If you have already spotted a few, that’s enough proof of their existence, and any further inspection should be carried out with the assistance of a professional bed bug exterminator.
How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs
Once you are confident that you have bed bugs in your home, or you suspect that they are present, you need to look for a professional exterminator and notify them about the suspicions or the sightings. It’s imperative that your whole house is inspected, since the infestation may not be limited to bedrooms alone.
When doing bedbug extermination, there are three stages involved:
- Bed Bug Treatment
The process of extermination is crucial if and should be properly followed. Lack of proper preparation on your end may cost you some losses. You may end up discarding some items and destroying furniture if the right procedure is not followed.
With a proper inspection process, you can cut down on the cost of bed bug treatment. Sometimes the infestation might be limited to some rooms or places in the house which will reduce the amount treatment the exterminator needs to apply.
The exterminator starts inspection with the bedrooms. They will make sure they examine all the furniture in the bedroom including drawers and cabinets. They look under the carpet, lift the flooring a bit to examine it; they will further inspect all cracks in the wall and on wallpaper, for any signs of bed bugs.
Most professionals charge an inspection fee of $50-$250 which is usually waved off if you hire them to do the extermination for you.
Some exterminators use trained dogs to do a bed bug inspections and detection. It is believed that the accuracy of using a dog is 96 percent which leaves no doubt if there are bed bugs in your home. Exterminators who use dogs for inspection charge $300 to $600 for an average home. For a bigger building such as an apartment or even hotels, the cost can go up to $900 to $1200.
These are some of the signs they will be looking for during inspection:
- Bed bug eggs
- Cast skins/molted shells
- Dead or living bed bugs
- Bed bug fecal material
After they finish the inspection, the exterminator will give you report that will either confirm if there is a presence of bed bugs or absence. If you have an infestation, they will tell you how extensive it is, and they will recommend the right treatment that will eliminate them.
As mentioned earlier, the preparation process is very critical. Bedbugs are very tricky to handle, and depending on how well the preparation is done, the process of treatment will either be smooth or complicated.
Here are some of the tasks that an exterminator will require before the bed bug treatment process starts.
Removal of Potentially Infested Fabrics
- Curtains, bed sheets, pillow cases, linens and any other fabrics that could potentially be a hideout for bedbugs should be washed before they are reused. The process of cleaning them to eliminate a cross contamination should be followed to the letter.
- All the washable fabrics including the ones stored should be collected and placed in garbage bags
- The fabrics should then be washed with hot water
- The garbage bags should be sealed and disposed of as soon as possible
- Dry the fabrics with the highest heating settings but make sure it’s the recommended level to avoid damaging the fabrics in the process
- You can then carefully store the washed fabrics in a sealed bag elsewhere until the extermination process is over
Handling the Furniture
If you have old furniture that is infested with bed bugs, you can get rid of it. You can use storage bags and put it in for disposal. You can then proceed to steam clean the furniture or, use a heavy suction vacuum to clean all the remaining furniture. Make sure you dispose of the bag if you use a vacuum. Make sure all the furniture including bookshelves, drawers, desks and other wooden furniture are cleaned before the treatment commences.
Seal and Close All Bags
If you have any bags or boxes in the areas to be treated, make sure you seal them tightly. During the bed bug treatment process, the bedbugs may try to find other hiding places and may get into an open bag or box. The exterminator will treat these items before they are placed back in the room. Other items such as appliances and electronics should be unplugged and moved far away from the walls.
Exterminators use several treatment processes. Some exterminators may combine several treatments for optimal results while other works just as well on their own. Each treatment has its own cost.
Here are different types of treatment used for bedbug extermination.
Fumigation is a specialized process used to battle bed bugs. The treatment includes a pesticides gas that is infused into your house and then distributed evenly throughout the structure using fans. The gas penetrates walls, clothing, and furniture better than insect’s powder or liquid.
The fumigation process has 99 percent to 100 percent success record, and it kills bed bugs right from their eggs to adults. The gas leaves no residue, and you can reenter the house after the exterminator has vented the house.
However, the gasses used in the fumigation process can be harmful to the environment, and the process requires some costly preparations. It also does not stop future bedbug infestations. The process can be a bit inconveniencing to a homeowner as it takes two to three days meaning you have to stay somewhere else.
A professional exterminator will charge you $4.00 to $7.50 per square foot for fumigation services. The process also gets rid of any other insects in the house.
The Heat Treatment
In this method, the exterminators make use of air heated to 120 degrees to pumps it into your home. The reason why this method is normally effective is that bed bugs cannot survive high temperatures. During the process, all the items with low resistance to heat such as plastics should be kept away.
The heat method kills everything, i.e., the eggs and the adults and does not leave any chemical residue. However, just like fumigation, it does not prevent bed bugs from invading the home in future. A professional exterminator will charge an average of $2,000 to $4,000 for the heat treatment which only requires one application.
This type of treatment can be used together with other types of treatment. The exterminator will use the powder on open surfaces while the liquid will be more effective on cracks. However, bed bugs have developed a resistance to most pesticides making this method no so effective on its own.
In this method, the exterminator uses a powerful steam cleaner to eliminate the bed bugs. They use special cleaners that have high heat settings. They can clean anything from mattresses to bed frames, curtains and any other infested area.
Water vapor will penetrate most of the materials better and kill bed bug eggs and adult bed bugs. It takes several applications to be able to eliminate the bedbugs with the steam process.
Factors That Influence the Cost of Extermination
In order to get rid of bed bugs, after inspection, a professional exterminator will give you recommendations on most appropriate treatment to use. Depending on the severity of the infestation, a professional may need to do several treatments to be able to clear the bed bugs. They will further give you the preventive measures that will stop the situation from recurring.
However, several variables can affect the overall cost of the extermination process.
The Number of Homes
Most professional exterminators often have a fixed rate that they charge per room. This will include the extermination services, treatment, and moderate infestation. If the infestation has spread to most of the rooms, the charges will be higher. Expect to pay an average of $250 per 10×15 foot bedroom for moderate extermination services.
The Extent of the Infestation
After inspection, the exterminator will determine the extent of the infestation. If it’s too rampant, the cost of extermination per room will increase. This is because the professional will need more treatment and possibly several repeat applications to be able to eliminate the bed bugs.
With a bigger infestation, a professional will need more staff on the project to successfully contain the bed bugs. For a heavy infestation, you will pay an average of $300 to $400 per room for extermination services.
Amount of Furniture
Exterminators charge a fee on the standard furniture in a home. However, if you have additional furniture, you will be charged an extra $50 per piece of furniture. This because additional furniture will increase the amount of time a professional takes to treat a room.
Cleanness and Clutter
It will take more time to clear and clean the area where the exterminator will administer the treatment. They will need extra workers to clean and organize the space for treatment. Also, all the clutter will require additional treatment. For a complete elimination, the clutter, and everything else in the room has to be treated. Expect to pay an average of $450 per room especially if there is a lot of clutter and obstacles.
Some extermination professionals prefer to charge hourly for their services. The average hourly rate for bedbug extermination is around $75 per hour.
As a homeowner, you need to know your choice of exterminator will also determine the overall cost you spend on the extermination process. Some charge lower while others charge more. You can get several costs and compare the prices. However, it could be safe for you to spend a little more and be sure of quality services with an assured total elimination. Ask for discounts from your exterminator, and you might be in luck and get a small cut on the final price.
Bed Bug Extermination Cost
|Inspection fee||$50 - $250
|Inspection with trained dogs||$300 - $600
|Fumigation||$4 - $7.50 per square foot
|Heating||$2,000 - $4,00
|Costs per room ||Moderate infestation||$250 for 10 x15 foot bedroom
|Cost per room||Heavy infestation ||$300 - $400 per room
|Additional furniture ||$50 per piece
|Hourly rate ||$75 per hour
|Clearing Clutter||$450 per room
DIY Bed Bug Extermination VS Professional
Bed bugs are known to resilient creatures which over the years have developed a resistance to pesticide control measures. A property owner may be tempted to try to kill bed bugs without professional assistance. In rare cases, your efforts can work, however, in most scenarios; you will end up causing the bed bugs to spread more after a DIY treatment.
The reason why a professional is essential to kill bed bugs is that you may not be able to know the extent of the infestation and as a result, you may end up using lesser treatment than required. Secondly, you may not be well informed about the right treatment to use compared the severity of infestation. Professionals are trained to know the appropriate treatment to apply depending on your situation.
Instead of making the situation worse to save a few coins, it’s advisable you seek consultation from a professional. You might end up spending some more money eventually when they spread to other rooms in your house. A professional will do an inspection and give you a recommendation for the right treatment that will eliminate the bedbugs.
You also need peace of mind; therefore, get a professional to get rid of bed bugs once and for all. Unlike the other types of insects, bed bugs are stubborn, and you might not quickly get rid of them with home remedies.
To avoid a prolonged infestation and spreading, get a trained professional who has the right equipment and skills to remove and kill them. In the process, you will also get useful tips on how to keep the annoying creatures away from your home and minimize the chances of a reoccurrence.
Precautions That Can Help Prevent Bed Bug Infestation
Bed bugs can quickly move from one place to another, and they can also be transferred to anyone close to a person carrying them. Hotels seem to be on top list of sites where you can get bed bugs. Public places are also the most common places where you are likely to get bed bugs attached to your body and consequently transferring them to your home.
It might not be easy to avoid public places, but there are several measures that you can exercise to minimize chances of having an infestation on your property.
Inspect Second Hand Furniture, Sofas, Tables, and Beds
If you are planning to purchase second-hand furniture, you need to do a thorough inspection to make sure they are not infested with bedbugs before bringing them home. Most second-hand furniture is likely to have bedbugs so be careful when purchasing them.
Protect Your Mattress
Use protective mattress cover to prevent bedbugs from accessing the inside and infecting your mattress. By encasing your mattresses and box springs with a protective cover, you eliminate the hiding spots for bed bugs. Try to use a light color encasement plastic cover that will make it easier for you to spot bed bugs early enough.
Vacuum Your Carpets Regularly
Vacuum as often as possible and make sure you dispose of the dirt and contents in a sealed plastic bag away from your home.
Keep your home organized and clean to enable you spot bedbugs easily. With less clutter, you will have reduced the hiding spots for bedbugs.They thrive on clutter because it gives them a perfect hiding out.
Seal Your Doors and Cracks
If you live in an apartment or near other homes, you should buy a door jam or install door sweeps to cover the open space just below your door. This way, bed bugs will not have easy access to your home. Also, make sure all the cracks in the walls are repaired to minimize the entry spots for bed bugs.
Choosing the Right Bed Bug Exterminator Professional
The fight against bed bugs is not an easy one. The fact that you have decided to use a professional to conquer a bed bug infestation is a great move. However, you need to realize that not everyone claiming to be an exterminator is qualified to be one. You may need to weed out several after interviewing them before you land on the right professional for the extermination.
Here are some useful pointers that should narrow down your search.
Use Telephone Directories
A reputable extermination company known for its specialization in your area will be in the telephone directory. This can be one of the places to search for an exterminator and while at it, make sure their designation is bed bug specialists. However, after contacting several companies, you will need to interview each of them before making a selection.
Look For Companies Authorized By Pesticide Regulatory Agency
Your search should only be limited to companies that have been licensed by the pesticide regulatory agency in your area or state. Avoid companies that lack this authorization; it could be a sign that they are have not met the required standards.
Get a Company That Uses Integrated Pest Management
Integrated Pest Management is a method that seeks to minimize the amount of pesticide used. Using a company that employs the IPM services will guarantee you a continuous process of monitoring and containing the bed bugs. The IPM services include vacuuming, steaming treatment, and heat treatment.
Ask Around For Referrals
You can inquire from your close friends, neighbors or colleagues for reputable bedbug exterminators. You are more likely to get someone from within your area that has a good reputation. Make sure you inquire about their services. Did they eliminate the bedbugs? Ask what method of extermination they used.
Also, you can use the internet to get a qualified exterminator. Just make sure you research for enough information about them. Reviews on their websites should give you a clue on the quality of services they offer. Settle for an exterminator who seems to have a record of happy clients and meet them in person before hiring.
10 Questions to Ask an Exterminator Before Hiring
The ultimate solution that will guarantee you that all the bed bugs and their eggs are eliminated is using a reliable a professional exterminator. They will be able to expertly employ the latest bed bug treatment procedures to kill the bedbugs and give you the much-needed peace of mind in your home.
However, with many exterminators in the market, choosing the right one may not be an easy task. Before you hire, you will need the exterminator to address some critical concerns to ensure that you are hiring the right person for the extermination job.
1. Are You Licensed By The Pesticide Control Agency?
All exterminators and pest control companies are supposed to have a license that authorizes them to carry out a pest control and extermination process. Find out from the exterminator if they possess this license and ask to see a copy of it. A reputable company offering extermination services will readily provide you with the license even before you ask for it.
2. Are You A Member Of The Any Pest Control Association?
Most bedbug and pesticide control exterminators belong to several associations that govern the member’s practices with well-drafted practices and policies. It’s safer to work with someone who takes their profession with seriousness and is governed by a responsible organization to deliver quality reliable treatment.
3. How Long Have You Practiced Bed bug Extermination Services?
A company that has been in extermination services might be the ideal one for you. You need someone who understands the bed bug menace well enough to eliminate them. An experienced exterminator has probably used several types of treatments and knows what kind works best for particular situations. You need someone who will understand the appropriate methods to handle your situation.
With experience, an exterminator knows which methods have failed in the past and will give you an informed decision based on past examples. Experience also comes with numerous training and exposure to different methods of treatment. You are better off working with an established company that has met all the regulatory requirements and has dealt with most stubborn bed bug cases.
4. What Treatment Method Will You Use For The Extermination Process?
After an inspection, the exterminator should recommend the best treatment to use. Find out from them about the treatment process. If they are using heat treatment, will they combine it with an insecticide? How many applications will eliminate the bed bugs? Are there any safety precautions that you need take during the treatment? Ask as many questions about the form of treatment they will be using before the start the extermination process.
5. What Do You Need Me To Do As Part Of Preparation?
Ask the professional what they expect you do before the extermination process begins. Do they need some cleaning done? What should be removed before the process? All these details should be communicated to you before the treatment process starts.
6. Ask About the Cost of the Extermination Process
Get details about the whole process and the charges. How much will the entire process cost you? What about the subsequent visits and monitoring process? Are they charging for inspection? Are there additional costs that are likely to come up during the extermination process?
7. Do You Guarantee You Services?
If you are hiring someone to exterminate the bed bugs in your home, they better make sure they do a total elimination. It can be frustrating to come across a bed bug a week later after the extermination service. Ask the exterminator if they provide a written guarantee for their services.
8. Ask For References
You need to hear from their recent clients about their treatment processes and how effective their work was to them. A reputable exterminator must have several clients whom they offered extermination services. Get three to four contacts and follow up with calls to ask about their experiences with the exterminator. Ask each if about the treatment. Was it effective? What method of treatment did they use? Would they recommend the exterminator to someone else?
9. Do You Carry Out Follow Up Visits?
Find out from the exterminator if they follow up with subsequent visits to inspect the premises to see if there are chances of reoccurrence. Bed bugs can be stubborn and hard to kill completely; therefore, you are better off with a company that offers monitoring services.
10. Ask About Precaution and Safety Measures
Ask the exterminator if there are safety measures you should take before and after the treatment process.
Watch Out For Scammers While Searching For Bed Bug Exterminators
Bed bug infestation is rampant nowadays and seems to be getting a lot of attention. As homeowners try to get extermination services, dishonest people are claiming to have these services but only turn out to con artists who use substandard methods that leave you struggling with the bed bug menace in your home.
The Electronic Extermination Lie
If you come across an exterminator claiming to use electromagnet or ultrasound gadgets to get rid of bedbugs avoid them altogether. There is no proven evidence that these devices exterminate bed bugs.
Avoid the Common Insecticides
Bed bugs are not easy to kill. In fact, over the years they have developed a resistance to most insecticides. If your exterminator claims that they are using a pesticide only to get rid of the bedbugs, you should be skeptical. You are probably being scammed, and the bed bugs will still be present even after the treatment.
Confirm Their Physical Presence
When you contact an exterminator ensure you know their physical address before you agree to have them in your home. A legitimate company will have an office that will make it easy for you to do a follow up in case of a rip-off. Some companies that operate on just a website may not have an operating license.
A bed bug infestation is one of the most frustrating situation you can ever deal with. The good news is that there are proven methods that can get rid of these annoying little creatures. Avoid doing the extermination on your own as it can make the situation worse. There are reputable and reliable exterminators, who together with your help can contain the situation and leave your home safe with no chemical residues.