Most people think that it is difficult to get rid of bed bugs, and that is quite true, especially if you are dealing with a large infestation. You can get bedbugs in your clothes and luggage when you travel to different places.
Many people get bed bugs when they buy used furniture or other stuff. It is better to take precautionary measures when you travel and ensure that you stay in rooms where there are no signs of bed bugs. It is equally important to double-check when buying used furniture. Those furniture pieces may have been sold in the first place because of the infestation.
It is equally important to double-check when buying used furniture. Those furniture pieces may have been sold in the first place because of the infestation.
If you have already brought bed bugs home, you will soon notice certain signs. You may actually see live bed bugs in and around your bed. You can also take a flashlight and check your bed at night to look for the signs of bed bugs.
You may even have bed bug bites that tell you about their presence. It is worth mentioning that it is usually not possible to describe bed bug bites just by having a quick look at them – they often feel like flea or mosquito bites. The problem is that you do not really feel anything when bed bug bites you. That is mainly because they insert their mouthpiece in your skin and release saliva that contains an anesthetic compound.
The problem is that you do not really feel anything when bed bug bites you. That is mainly because they insert their mouthpiece in your skin and release saliva that contains an anesthetic compound.
Interestingly, some people never realize that they have been bitten, but others may experience certain issues because their bodies react to the anesthetic compound. Those bite marks can actually turn into big itchy welts, and these welts may sometimes take more than a couple of weeks to heal.
It is important to note that contrary to popular believe bed bug bites do not always appear in threes. They can occur singly, in a line, or even in clumps. Those marks may appear soon after you get bitten or a couple of weeks later. Therefore, it is not always possible to confirm an infestation just by having a closer look at those bite marks.
Since bed bugs feed when you sleep at night, you are likely to see them before you go to sleep. These tiny bugs usually show up an hour before dawn, but they can actually come out to get a blood meal anytime they feel hungry. The problem is that they return to their hiding places once they have had their blood meals, and this makes it difficult to confirm an infestation.
You need to bear in mind that though bed bugs like to feed on people, they can survive by feeding on mice or rats. Therefore, you just cannot get rid of them if you move out of your room for a few weeks. In fact, bed bugs can survive for several months without a blood meal, so staying out of your room is never an option. You will have to take steps to clear an infestation, and it will never be an easy task.
Killing Bed Bugs in Clothes
When it comes to dealing with bed bugs, you will always have to start by checking your clothes and separating infesting items from clean ones. There may no longer be any clean items in a bed bug infested room, so it is better to treat everything to be on the safer side. Before going any further, you have to understand that it is not an easy thing to disinfect clothing.
Bed bugs can seek harborage among clothing that may have been stored in the close proximity of your bed. They may attach themselves to the bed linen while you’re changing it. This way, bed bugs can protect themselves from insecticides and other treatment options.
Bed bugs can easily infest your clothes but you have to keep in mind that washing alone is not going to help. You need to heat treat your clothes in the dryer for long enough to exterminate bed bugs as well as their eggs. To get good results, you should heat-treat those infested items at high temperature – it should be no less than 50C. In fact, it is even better to go with a higher setting.
If you choose 60C, you may end up getting rid of all bed bugs in about half an hour. It is important to understand that opting for the right temperature is important, but it is also important to expose bed bugs to this temperature for long enough. Not exposing your infested items to 60C for half an hour will leave eggs or nymphs unharmed. You can use a large tumble dryer for this purpose – you will have to expose your infested items for 30 minutes if you are using a 7.7lb load.
Alternatively, you can help exterminate bed bugs in clothes by freezing them to death. For this, you will have to expose bed bug infested items to temperatures less than -17C. You will not get good results unless you expose those infested items to such low temperatures for 2 hours at least.
Keep in mind that you will have to use a chest freezer because your regular refrigerator may not help greatly in this regard. Another important thing to bear in mind is that you should start counting 2 hours after the temperature in the center of your infested items has reached 0F.
If you are using a 5.5lb batch, it is going to take about 8 hours to get that right temperature in the center of that load. What it implies is that if you are using a 5.5lb batch, you may have to leave those items in the freezer for up to 10-12 hours to help kill bed bugs in all life cycles.
Those who do not want to use a chest freezer may consider soaking clothes and other infested items in cold water. Studies have found that soaking clothes for 24 hours would help kill nymphs and adult bed bugs but may not help exterminate eggs. To be sure, it is better to have your clothes dry cleaned because this will kill all life stages of bed bugs.
And this is also a more sensible choice in case you are dealing with delicate, temperature-sensitive fabrics.
A very important thing to bear in mind is that if you are trying to kill bed bugs in clothes, you should not rely on a single control method only.
Even if you think you have exposed clothes to a high enough temperature, you may want to use cold treatment as well to be on the safe side. If heat-treatment is what you are going to use to kill bed bugs in clothes, here is how to proceed:
Start by Sorting Clothes
You should always pre-sort clothes to make things a bit easier to handle. You should be sorting the same way as you would when washing your clothes under normal circumstances. Here are a few tips to consider:
- Get several plastic bags and put infested clothes in them.
- Ensure you can seal each bag with ease.
- Do not forget to check the washing instructions for specific clothing items – this will tell you about the highest allowable wash temperature for your clothes.
Washing and Drying Your Clothes
You need to proceed in a systemic way while washing and drying your clothes. Here are a few tips:
- Take all your bags to the laundry room and ensure that you empty each bag directly into the washer. After emptying every bag, fold its opening into the center and wrap the bag around it.
- Get a clean, sealable bag and put empty bags in it immediately. Be sure to seal the bag before you dispose it off.
- Use the hottest temperature setting to wash and dry your clothes. Ensure that you do not exceed the temperature your fabric can safely withstand.
- Run the dryer for at least half an hour to get rid of bed bugs.
Storing Your Cleaned Clothes
It is not enough to treat your clothes, but you also need to store those clothes properly to avoid further issues. Follow these tips to handle things in a better way:
- Remove clothes from the dryer and fold them immediately. It is better to put them in a separate plastic bag immediately after taking out of the dryer. Never put your cleaned clothes on a folding table – there may still be bugs out there that may infest your clothes again.
- Have your room treated for bed bugs and never put your clothes in the closet until you know you no longer have bed bugs in your room.
In case you have decided to freeze bed bugs to save your infested clothes, you should again proceed carefully and know what you cannot or cannot freeze. Freezing bed bugs is certainly an effective option and it is relatively easy too. You need some plastic bags, time, and a freezer that can reach a temperature below 0F.
Before going any further, know what you can freeze. You can freeze most dry household items, including shoes, modern books, clothing items, toys, and pictures. It is important to ensure that you do not try to freeze certain items, such as electronics with LCD panels and items that cannot withstand high moisture. A pest control professional is always in a better position to tell you what you can do to get rid of beg bugs from those delicate items.
Here is how to use low temperatures to kill bed bugs:
- You need to ensure that your freezer is set to 0F. If you cannot reach this temperature, you just cannot kill bed bugs effectively.
- It is a good idea to use a remote thermometer to ensure that the temperature is low enough to kill bed bugs.
- Use the thermometer to check if the temperature in the center of the materials has reached to 0F or not. Remember, if you do not use the right temperature, small bed bugs and their eggs may survive.
- You may have to expose your clothes to low temperature for at least 10-12 hours.
It is important to note that you have to use your freezer for cold-treatment because it is not going to help leave your clothes out in the open even if you think the weather is cold enough. There are so many other variations, including humidity, sunlight, and temperature changes that can make it difficult to exterminate bed bugs, nymphs, and eggs. You should be using your freezer only – and if you cannot do it, it is better to call in a professional and ask them to help you save your clothes while taking care of bed bug infestation in your home.
Avoid Bed Bugs When Traveling
As you can see that it will be a great hassle to get rid of bed bugs from clothes and your surroundings, it is always a better idea to take preventive measures and avoid bringing bed bug homes in the first place. If you travel often, you need to learn how to inspect before settling into your hotel room.
Always keep a flashlight with you and play detective for a while. Your focus should be on your bed and the area around it. Check the headboard first – you may have to lift it up a bit to check properly. Move the bed away from the wall to check what is in the back. Be sure to check the headboard, pillows, and sheets for blood spots and fecal matter. Have your room changed – or change the hotel – in case you find any signs of bed bugs.
Remember, it is better to go through some hassle to confirm your hotel room is free of bugs than bringing those bugs home and spending so much time and money to clear an infestation. So, know what you have to do!