Bed bugs bugging you? Destroy them!

Photo credit: Consumer Reports

Apart from cockroaches, bed bugs have got to be one of the scariest and most difficult pests to eliminate. They’re incredibly resilient and hardy, and they breed as fast as rabbits.

Bed bugs have been harassing people ever since mankind started living in homes and making wooden furniture.

All sorts of methods have been used to control them, some more effective than others. Signs of a bed bug infestations start with itchy welts appearing on the arms and legs. They look exactly like mosquito bites.

However, unlike mosquito bites, they turn red and the itchiness stays for days. Eventually, the bites leave a brown scar that takes months to disappear.

Photo credit: Home Remedy Find

Bed bug bites manifest differently on different people, and the itchy welts can take up to half a day to appear. Some people don’t react at all, so different family members may have different bite symptoms.

Apart from the itchy bites, other signs of invasion include small dark or brown stains on pillows, cushions, walls, blankets and other surfaces. These are actually the bed bug droppings. Also be wary of the brown debris that made up their discarded shells.

Photo credit: Entomology Today

Bed bugs reproduce very fast, and they shed their skin several times throughout their life cycle, leaving behind previous shells. A female bed bug can lay up to 5,000 eggs over a period of 6 months.

Bed bugs live in cracks and crevices, furniture, walls, bedding and practically any nook they can find. Getting rid of bed bugs can be tedious and frustrating because they can live without feeding on blood for up to a year.

The key to exterminating bed bugs is to understand their weaknesses. bed bugs are sensitive to extreme hot and cold temperatures.

Their skins are porous and they can die of dehydration very easily. Bed bugs also move rather slowly when visible, so it’s easy to catch them.

For small pieces of furniture and light mattresses that can be moved, take them out onto the lawn to sun. The heat will kill off the bed bugs.

For larger mattresses, take the sheets off and wrap in cling film to prevent the bed bugs from coming out and feeding, effectively starving them.

A steam cleaner works well on mattresses and furniture too. Douse hot boiling water onto pillows, cushions and small pieces of wooden furniture to kill the bugs.

Photo credit: Wikihow

Apart from squishing visible bed bugs which is pretty gross, try spraying rubbing alcohol on them. Rubbing alcohol or ethanol should be used undiluted on visible bed bugs. The alcohol dehydrates them by drawing moisture from their skin.

Diatomaceous earth or DE is sold on-line in powder form and is reasonably priced. 200 grams is more than enough to complete the extermination.

Photo credit: Harmonic Arts

DE is made up of microscopic sea creatures called diatoms whose outer shells are rich in silica. When insects like bed bugs walk across this powder, bits of sharp silica will pierce their skin, causing moisture to leak and dehydrating them slowly.

DE doesn’t kill the bed bugs immediately, but they will die within 2 -3 days after contact. To apply the DE, identify places where the bugs have a high chance of walking across, dip a brush into the DE and just dust some powder in that area.

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