For most homeowners, it’s their worst nightmare: Bugs damaging and destroying their furniture.
And now a new threat making its way into American homes could do just that–as well as suck your blood.
“Bedbugs are like vampires,” says Matt McMillen, a contributor to WebMD News. “They suck your blood, and they are all the rage right now. Unfortunately, the nasty little critters aren’t fictional creatures out of the Dracula or Twilight sagas. They are all too real. And they’re not afraid of garlic.”
While most experts say that bed bugs were largely eradicated in the western world by the 1940s–thank the use of pesticides, such as DDT–a sudden reemergence of these pests have spiked once more in American cities, especially in Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City.
The reason? While experts aren’t certain, they say that overseas travel and immigration helped bring these critters back into the country–and into homes nationwide.
“Your coworker, the person sitting next to you at the movies, that secondhand sofa you just bought–all might be carrying bedbugs,” says McMillen. “They’re real hitchhikers.”
Why You Need to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
For some, it’s an urgent issue–but experts say that everyone should consider it a serious issue. But why? While obviously the bloodsucking (which often leaves red welts) isn’t likely to make many people happy, once bed bugs infiltrate your home, chances are slim you’ll be able to eradicate them for good.
“Once indoors, they can be extremely difficult to control without the help of an experienced pest specialist,” says Orkin, a pest control company. “Females can deposit one to five eggs a day, and may lay 200 to 500 eggs in a lifetime. Under normal room temperatures and with an adequate food supply, they can live for more than 300 days. Bed bugs are both dorsoventrally flattened and thin, which creates a great advantage for them. They can hide in unusual places such as behind baseboards, floor cracks, and under carpets or behind loose wallpaper, which can make them difficult to detect.”
To make matters worse, bed bugs are programmed to survive long periods without feeding, with some experts even estimating they can survive up to a year without eating. During the day, they know where to hide as well–oftentimes in small crevices or cracks you’d never think to look.
And once it infests your home, they are impossible to get rid of.
“Getting rid of bedbugs is neither quick nor easy,” says McMillen. “The better question is, what is the most thorough way to get rid of them.”
5 Cheap Ways to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
Unfortunately, it’s true: Bed bugs are one of the hardest pests to get rid of, according to numerous experts. Unfortunately, with bed bug exterminator costs climbing higher and higher (expect to pay over a grand just for one treatment), more people are forgoing professional treatments in lieu of do-it-yourself work.
Luckily, though, you needn’t pay a fortune to eradicate these bugs from your home, however, thanks to new evidence which shows that bed bugs are repelled by certain substances. So what’s the best way to get rid of them for good?
1. Try the dry ice trick. First popularized by Dr. Changlu Wang, head of the urban entomology department at Rutgers University, this method have been proven to attract–and trap–all sorts of bed bugs, including nymphs. How to do it: In any affected room, place a block of dry ice under a pet bowl and leave it be. The carbon dioxide it emits attracts bed bugs and encourages them to gather around it, acting as a bug trap.
2. Use diatomaceous earth. Made from fossilized remains of shells, this dust kills bed bugs from the inside out, yet poses no hazard to animals or humans. A simple sprinkling on this in any affected areas of your house may be all you need to keep bed bugs at bay. Recommended use: After securing your bed with a plastic wrap, sprinkle diatomaceous earth around your bed legs and any small cracks and crevices. Doing so will prevent bed bugs from biting you at night–and it kills them!
3. Prevention is best. Bed bugs favor small cracks and crevices in your home to hide in during the day, so use this to your advantage–by trapping them in there for good. The solution: Sealing all cracks and crevices in your house with a professional-strength caulk will keep these critters at bay for good. Replacing old wallpaper with new wallpaper can also help, as it eliminates additional hiding spots for bed bugs.
4. Do your laundry. To eradicate any bed bugs from your clothing, the easiest solution is to throw your clothes in the washer and dryer–but it isn’t because clean clothes repel these pests. Instead, its killing power lies in heat; bed bugs can’t tolerate scorching temperatures. Make sure to store them in a safe place afterward to prevent reinfestation.
“Wash and dry your bed linens often using the hottest temperature allowed for the fabric,” says Orkin. “Bed bugs can multiply quickly, so early detection is critical to help prevent an even larger infestation.”
5. Put them in cold ice. If you suspect your clothing, small furniture items, or other household items have been contaminated, there’s one easy for killing them for good: Freeze them. Left in frozen ice for several days, the extreme cold will kill all bed bugs, including their larvae. Remember to thaw it out gently afterward to ensure your favorite items stay in tip top shape.
Bed Bug Removal Made Cheap
Remember, when it comes to bed bug removal, you’re always in full control–and it doesn’t need to cost you thousands of dollars either. But whatever you do, remember that simple bug repellant isn’t enough to do the job.
“Unfortunately, there’s no effective repellant for bedbugs,” says McMillen. “Even if there were, it wouldn’t get rid of them.”