Bed bugs treatment
Bed bugs have been around for as long as recorded history, and getting rid of them (i.e., Cimex lecturlarius, the common bed bug) has never been easy. In fact, the only time we puny humans stood a chance against bed bugs was during the first half of the twentieth century, when advances in chemistry made living without bed bugs possible.
Since then, the resilient and adaptable bed bug has developed immunity to our efforts, and even the most modern, chemically synthesized pyrethrums – plant-based insecticides – are failing to get rid of our ancient enemy, the bed bug, which was first recorded in ancient Egypt in 400 BC.
There are, however, still weapons in our bed bug arsenal. They include:
Treatment #1, Household cleaning
In spite of the fact that bed bugs are not the direct result of unsanitary living conditions, one of the best ways to control bed bugs is to regularly wash bedding and clothing, and vacuum furniture, carpets and mattresses.
In recent bed bug infestations, this may be one of the best methods to insure eradication. In fact, cleaning, washing, “airing”, and even getting rid of household items was one of the few ways our ancestors managed the bed bug problem.
Treatment #2, Insecticides
Insecticides aimed at killing bed bugs are available over the counter (OTC) at many hardware and home stores. One can even find recipes online for “guaranteed” bed bug bombs. These can be dangerous, or even fatal, in the hands of amateurs. In fact, some people have accidentally poisoned themselves, or their loved ones, via the indiscriminate use of OTC bed bug remedies.
Insecticides and other bed bug remedies (including heat) are safest and most effective in the hands of professional bed bug exterminators. The cost to get rid of bed bugs can be significant, but the cost of an ER visit, hospitalization, or long-term care, is much higher.
Treatment #3, Avoidance
Exterminators typically find most bed bug infestations in apartments or condominiums. Another prime location is hotels, motels, and traveler accommodations. Add to that college dorms, daycare centers, hospitals and nursing homes, and it’s easy to see that bed bugs like people – lots of people, closely packed, in a sort of bed bug buffet.
More Tips on Avoiding bed Bugs
• Thrift shopping is good for the budget, and environmentally friendly because it recycles otherwise wasted natural resources, but it’s also a huge source of bed bugs (and lice, and other vermin). If you shop used, always wash, steam clean, dry (at highest heat), or otherwise remove potential bed bugs from your purchases.
• Buying new does not guarantee that the buyer won’t bring home bed bugs. In fact, people who try on clothing in dressing rooms may not always know they are carrying nymphs, or immature bed bugs, on their bodies.
• Buying used mattresses also makes good financial and ecological sense, and the law states that mattress resellers must “re-sanitize” mattresses and tag them accordingly. Nonetheless, a lot of garage-salers and the like may unwittingly offer a nicely priced mattress that is contaminated with bed bugs. The law of caveat emptor – let the buyer beware – always applies. Even in stores where new mattresses are for sale alongside used ones, buyers should anticipate some bed bug crossover.
• Many parents are careful to bundle up their little ones in winter. It’s a good habit, but all too often in multiple-child households, or in many-child settings (school, play dates, etc.), the wrong hat goes on the wrong head. This is, by estimates, almost 40 percent of the cause of bed bugs spreading among children, and from there among families, friends, neighbors, and social groups.
• Many people receive a holiday gift, decide they don’t like it after a single wearing, and then “re-gift” it to someone else. Because mature bed bugs can go months without feeding, live for up to a year, and lay 500 or more in a lifetime, the chances of getting bed bugs from recycled gifts is very high, especially during the holidays.