Bed bugs can infest your mattress, bed frame, box spring, or headboard. They come out at night to feed on blood, leaving red, itchy bites. A bed bug infestation can be frustrating to deal with, but it's possible to permanently get rid of the bugs.
Signs of a Bed Bug Infestation
The first step to getting rid of bed bugs is confirming the infestation. Even if an individual notices bites on their skin, they may be bites from another insect or it could even be a rash or hives.
Check around the bed and mattress for signs of bed bugs, including:
- Red or brown stains on the sheets from crushed bed bugs
- Eggsand eggshells
- Shed bed bug skins or shells
Some people also see the live bugs, although they hide during the day. Check the edges and crevices of the mattress, bed frame, and box spring for the bugs. They may also hide in the seams of couches or chairs, in drawer joints, and at the corner of the wall and the ceiling.
Home Remedies for Bed Bugs
As soon as someone finds an infestation, they must act immediately to get rid of the bugs as quickly as possible. A vacuum cleaner should be the first step in getting rid of bed bugs. Vacuum all carpets, mattresses, chairs, and curtains. Use a brush to loosen up eggs from the seams of the mattress. Immediately after vacuuming, remove the bag, seal it tightly, and dispose of it.
Then, use a steam cleaner on all of the surfaces where there may be bed bugs or eggs. Wash all linens and clothing with the steam cleaner, too. Repeat this two or three times to ensure it kills as many bed bugs as possible.
Diatomaceous earth is one of the most popular home remedies for bed bugs. It's a chemical-free powder that will dehydrate bed bugs to kill them. It will take almost two weeks for the powder to work, but it has a 90 percent mortality rate. Apply diatomaceous earth to all affected furniture and to corners and cracks in the walls. The powder is completely safe for humans and pets, but it will take care of the bed bug problem.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bug Bites
Bed bug bites can be very itchy and uncomfortable, especially when they appear in clusters. The best way to soothe irritation is with an ice pack, which numbs the nerve endings. Keep an ice pack on the bites for 10 to 15 minutes, and repeat this several times per day.
Baking soda can also help by neutralizing the acidic chemicals that cause itching, swelling, and redness. Mix a teaspoon of baking soda with a few teaspoons of water, and apply this paste to the bites for about 10 minutes.
Aloe vera can be effective for soothing skin after bites, too. It keeps the skin moisturized, which helps it heal quickly, and it relieves itching and burning. Aloe vera directly from a plant is the most potent, but it can also be purchased as a gel from a drugstore.
There are a wide variety of other home remedies for bed bug bites. To relieve itching and help the bites heal, try applying any of these substances to the skin:
- Lemon juice
- Apple cider vinegar
- Witch hazel
Top 5 Routes for "Bed Bugs"
This article describes bed bug bites and signs of bed bugs, which can help people determine whether they have an infestation.
- Environmental Protection Agency
The EPA provides information on the bed bug life cycle and how to spot an infestation.
- University of Minnesota
This site gives detailed instructions on how to use a steamer to kill bed bugs.
This article gives a detailed explanation of why diatomaceous earth works for bed bug infestations and how to use the powder effectively.
This website provides a long list of home remedies for bed bug bites, including many items that most people already have in the kitchen.