Bed bugs are generally not a dangerous insect. Their bites usually just cause itchiness and rashes, which is reason enough to want them gone fast. It’s important to first try to get rid of bed bugs naturally though since you don’t want chemicals floating around where you sleep.
For thousands of years, bed bugs have been a nuisance that have been feeding on blood and giving people all over the world a tough time with their itchy bites. Declared as one of the Public Health Pests because of possible allergic reactions, bed bugs need to be kept in check.
For some, bed bugs can be the stuff of nightmares. These bugs have grown resistant to usual removal methods and their population is increasing with little a precautionary measure in check by the general public. People often address the beg bug issue when they see a lot of these insects crawling around. Let’s dig into what these pests are and the natural ways to get rid of them.
What are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are classified as parasitic insects which prefer to feed on human blood. The scientific named designated to them is Cimex lectularius. Oval in shape, they often start at a 1mm size as an egg and as an adult reach up to 5-7mm in size. Here is a list of places you need to see in order to find a Bed Bug infestation:
- Beneath Tables
- Wall Junctions
- Baseboards of Beds
Their infestation to beds is fairly common as it takes them closest to their host. Nocturnal in habit their bites go unnoticed and are often mistaken for rashes. The peak time of their activity is reported to be between midnight and 5 am.
Signs of A Bed Bug Infestation:
Though undetectable at the start of their life-cycle, bed bugs are easier to spot once they grow to their adult size. Apart from being visible, these pests leave certain signs that point towards their presence. Some of the important signs of a Bed Bug infestation are listed below:
- Bed Bug Shells: Places where these insects feed often have their shells lying around. As they grow in size, their exoskeleton is dumped behind and a new one is formed according to the new size. An average bed bug undergoes this process five times until they mature. Look for these signs to be sure of their presence.
- Fecal Spots: Wherever these insects go, they leave fecal spots behind them. These are the secretions coming out from their bodies after feeding on a host. Look for dark brown or at times black stains around the above-mentioned places and take immediate action regarding this matter.
Are Bed Bugs Dangerous?
No, bed bugs are not dangerous. Recent researchers have found no evidence to support the claim that these pests are dangerous or helping in the spread of certain diseases. Although, since they bite resulting in itching, excessive scratching can lead to skin related complications.
On the other hand, some insects like mosquitoes are responsible for spreading different deadly diseases. This is the reason people are always on their toes and trying to find whether bed bugs have any potential threat of spreading an epidemic. One thing about them that can make you cringe is that you can’t get rid of them by just walking out of the house. They will attach themselves to your clothes and tag along wherever you go.
Another worrisome thing about these bugs is that they spread in a very fast manner. Even if you have been living in a clean and insect-free place, once you make contact with a bedbug, they are almost definitely coming home with you.
There are also common phobias related to bed bugs that can cause a lot of anxiety for someone affected by an infestation. Some people have a nightmare about these bugs, the main reason behind this is that they don’t want a small insect that they can’t even see, feed on their blood while they sleep. Other than possible allergic reactions and mental trauma some people might get from these pests, bed bugs cause no apparent danger to you or your family.
Steps to Get Rid of Bed Bugs Naturally:
We have come up with the best possible ways to get rid of bed bugs. Read on to know what you need to do:
One natural way of taking the bed bud problem into your hands is heat treatment. In the method you have to make sure you follow the below-mentioned steps in order to manage the bug problem:
- Take off all the sheets from your mattress and pillows
- After stripping down the bed, you need to bag all the sheets and pillow covers in clean trash bags
- Make sure that the bags are sealed properly to avoid any bugs from infesting other places as you move the bags
- Take the sheets and covers out and place them in the dryer for heat treatment
- Meanwhile, take the bags away and dispose of
This is a very effective method as it dehydrates beg bugs and kills them. This might seem counterproductive, but don’t wash the sheets first. The bedbugs won’t drown in the wash and the water can actually keep them alive in the dryer. You want to make sure you are dehydrating them by taking away all moisture in the dryer.
Vacuuming and Steaming:
Both vacuuming and steaming are methods that help you naturally control the bed bug infestation. Here is a list that will allow you to carry out this procedure:
- Use a vacuum cleaner of any type
- Move the suction nozzle along the seam of your bed or a place where you have seen bed bugs
- Dump the canister or bags attached to the vacuum cleaner
- The procedure for steaming is the same.
- In the steaming process, a steam producing machine is to replace the vacuum cleaner and moved across the seam of the mattress
- It must be noted that steam is more effective at killing the bugs as compared to a vacuum cleaner
Natural bed bug sprays:
Yes, these days natural alternatives of otherwise synthetic chemical induced products are available everywhere. Spray these all over the mattress and get rid of bed bugs within 30-40 minutes. Here are some features to look for with these sprays:
- Pleasant fragrance
- Pet and child-friendly
- Made from natural ingredients
Home Made Bed Bug Sprays:
Bed bug sprays are commonly available in the market, but you may have some natural bed bug killing ingredients in your kitchen already. Some suggest you to use baking soda while other stick to using essential oils and alcohol to kill these pests. We have found that vinegar is best as it disrupts their nervous system upon contact:
- Fill an empty spray bottle with vinegar
- Soak the entire area where you think bed bugs might be present with the vinegar spray
- It would be more effective if you spray the vinegar directly onto the bed bugs
- Once you have soaked the places that are infested, you will be able to prevent further infestation for weeks to come
Home Made Bed Bug Traps:
For a continuous fight against a bedbug infestation, you can use some easy diy bed bug traps around your mattress and bed.
Bed Leg Traps
- What you need:
- Apply tape around the outside of the larger bowl; this helps give the bugs a surface to climb into the trap
- Apply baby powder to the interior of the larger bowl and exterior of the small container; this keeps the bed bugs from being able to climb out
- Place the small bowl into the center of the larger bowl
- Place the 2 bowls under the legs of your bed
- Check the traps in the morning
Attracts Bed Bugs with “Bait”:
There are several different versions of this Carbon Dioxide CO2 trap, but this is one of the quicker and easier ones to make. Bedbugs are attracted to carbon dioxide and will walk across a room to get to the source.
- What you need:
- A small jar or cup
- A deep bowl larger than the jar/cup
- Paper towel roll
- Lukewarm water
- Baby powder with talc OR diatomaceous earth
- Wrap paper towel around the bowl; This should be able to reach from the floor to the top without rolling over since it is supposed to be the “ladder” that lets the bugs climb in
- Tape or rubberband the paper towel in place
- Coat the inside of the bowl with baby powder with talc or diatomaceous earth to make it too slick for the bugs to climb out of
- Put ¼ cup of sugar and 3 inches of sugar/yeast solution into a jar or cup of lukewarm water
- Place the trap(s) around the room where you want the bugs to be trapped or attracted to
Buy Bed Bug Traps
If you don’t want to go the DIY route for bed bug traps, there are some that you can buy online pretty easily. There is a version like the bowl-in-bowl trap and also a sticky trap that you can place on or behind your headboard. If you have bed bugs, then you really can’t have too many traps!
The bed bugs are pests that are not harmful but definitely cringe-worthy. That is why they need to be stopped. Over the past, their ability to be undetectable has helped them avoid adverse treatment. They have now grown tougher than they ever were and treatments like heat are the ones that remain the most effective.