On this site you’ve probably seen come across a lot of information that falls into the following areas:
- Facts and information
- Prevention strategies
- DIY bed bug extermination (discouraged)
- Finding bed bugs exterminators and choosing bed bugs exterminators
But what do you do in a situation where there is already a nasty bed bug infestation and extermination is not an option?
Sometimes you’re in a bad situation and don’t have many options.
Let’s say business travel requires you to stay somewhere that is infested or likely to be infested. Or you’re staying at a dorm or apartment that has bed bugs but management is not taking action for any number of reasons. You take every measure to avoid situations like these but sometimes they are unavoidable. When this happens, you take action to control bed bugs in order to protect yourself.
In these instances your goals are going to be:
- Prevent bed bugs from biting you.
- Prevent bed bugs from harboring in your bed, clothes and belongings.
- Limit the chance of spreading bed bugs.
On paper, strategies for bed bug control sound reasonable enough. But they can be challenging to carry out in the real world.
Controlling bed bugs breaks down into two areas:
- One time actions.
- Ongoing habits.
The one time actions get the ball rolling and the habits keep the ball rolling.
Perform one time actions.
Isolate the bed. Pull the bed away from walls and furniture. Make sure drapes don’t touch it. Buy ClimbUp Interceptors to help prevent bed bugs from climbing into the bed.
Encase the mattress and box spring. The mattress and the box spring especially can be difficult to treat if they become infested. If they already are infested, isolating the bed isn’t going to help you unless you use bed bug encasements. And if the mattress and box spring are not infested, leaving them unprotected is a bad idea.
Launder all the bedding on the highest heat settings. Laundering on the highest heat settings is a well known, proven and accepted method of killing bed bugs on your bedding. Wash everything to start with a clean slate.
Line drawers with bed bug proof bags. Bed bugs don’t just hide in beds — they also hide in other nearby places. Not only do they crawl around rooms and buildings, they can hitchhike on clothing and accessories. You want to keep your clothing isolated then, protected from being infested on one hand and sealed to prevent bed bugs that might be in your clothes from spreading.
Launder all clothes on the highest heat settings. The same things apply here as with the bedding.
High heat will kill bed bugs. Not all clothing is suited to high heat washing and drying though. For more sensitive items, consider dry cleaning them. But let the cleaner know about the bed bugs so they can handle the items appropriately without spreading bed bugs.
Develop ongoing Habits.
Don’t let bedding touch the floor, walls or furniture. This is a basic part of keeping the bed isolated.
Don’t put clothes, accessories or belongings on the bed.
This is another aspect of keeping the bed isolated. If it’s possible for your clothes or backpack (or luggage) to be infested, you don’t want to bring them onto the bed.
Put dirty clothes into sealed, dissolvable laundry bags. You don’t wear an item and directly wash it afterward do you? Many people have a dirty clothes basket or hamper. They let the pile of clothes build and then wash them. But do you want a pile of clothes hanging around that might have bed bugs or could become infested?
Sealed bags work two ways: they limit the spread of bed bugs from infested clothing to other areas. And they prevent clothes from being infested by the environment. Dissolvable laundry bags are a huge help because you don’t have leftover infested bags to deal with. You put the laundry in the laundry bag and then they dissolve when you do the wash.
Always wash and dry bedding on high heat. This will kill any bed bugs that may have made their way onto the bed.
Wash and dry clothes on high heat periodically. Just like I mentioned above, some garments are suited to laundering with high heat. In that case you can have them dry cleaned.
Bed Bug control is not a complete solution.
These strategies are for the rare instances where you know you have a bed bug situation and there is really not that much you can do about it except cope.
Look at it like this: if you get a flat 50 miles away from town and the only choice you have is to drive with the spare until you get back to town — you’ll do it. But it’s an exceptional circumstance. You’ll want to correctly address the problem as soon as possible. Same here. The strategies above are for when you have no other options.
Also keep in mind: if you think your items may be infested, don’t go stay at somebody else’s place. There is a good chance you’ll spread the infestation.