How do I get rid of bedbugs?
A professional exterminator may be your only option. I hate to say that because I’m all for natural treatments and home remedies. Expect to pay a lot of money too. Prices will always very widely, but I’ve heard quotes of $125 per room and $2,000 per house and up.
Pesticides don’t work as well as they did in the past. Heat treatment is the latest tool for eradication. Before your house is heated to 140 degrees fahrenheit for a few hours, anything that could melt or explode needs to be protected or removed. Heat treatment is no guaranteed solution either. That person who spent $2,000? He still had bedbugs…and some melted windows. Multiple heat treatments may be necessary. Then what’s to stop the little stowaways from coming back?
I will provide a list of techniques used to kill bedbugs below. This list will include professional treatments, natural products and home remedies. Tips for preventing bedbugs in the first place are also very helpful in controlling them. You can find these tips under the “Love” section.
Professional Bedbug Treatments
- Chemical Pesticides – not highly effective anymore and who wants dangerous chemicals in their house?
- Heat – bedbugs of all stages of life, including their eggs, will die after prolonged exposure to 120 degrees fahrenheit. The temperature will have to reach 140 degrees to make sure the heat penetrates walls, furniture and appliances. This technique generally involves using portable propane heaters and ducting to rapidly heat the structure and expensive thermometers to monitor temperatures. This is a relatively safe way to exterminate a bedbug infestation, but there is a risk of damage to property.
Natural Bedbug Products
- Diatomaceous Earth – a nontoxic powder made from the crushed fossils of hard-shelled algae. Insects, including bedbugs, who walk across this powder die from it’s absorbency properties. The powder is harmless to people and pets. Diatomaceous Earth must be placed where bedbugs will be crawling.
- Mattress Covers – kill bedbugs already in your mattress and prevent new ones from living there.
- Bedbug Traps – you can buy these online or make them yourself. Some prevent bugs from climbing up bed posts. Glue traps or tape can be used as a snare. I’ve read that the expensive commercial traps that use heat and carbon dioxide to attract bedbugs do not work so well.
- Plant Extract Sprays – the retailers claim they work.
Home Bedbug Remedies
- Steam – must actually contact the bugs.
- Heat – just like the pros, you can use heat to kill bedbugs by employing something like a hair dryer. Wash all clothing and bed coverings in hot water and dry with hot air in a clothes dryer. Place items in a hot car or inside a black garbage bag outside for a few days during the summer.
- Cold – extremely cold temperatures also kill bedbugs, but I think this method is probably not practical in most circumstances.
- Caulk – all cracks in wooden trim and baseboards, furniture, and anywhere else you can find a crack. This won’t seem so crazy if you’ve had bedbugs.
- Predators – don’t kill house centipedes, they love bedbugs! I used to think these super fast and long-legged centipedes were ugly…now I smile whenever I see one.