Dealing with a Bedbug Infestation

Your very first course of action upon learning of a bedbug infestation is to not panic. Although the thought of living with insects crawling about Ė especially as youíre sleeping Ė is enough to give anyone cause for concern, bedbugs arenít dangerous creatures nor do they spread disease. Thankfully, with some diligence and patience, itís possible to get rid of these unsightly pests.

How Did I Even Get Bedbugs?

Having an infestation of bedbugs doesn't mean you are "dirty" nor is it anything to be ashamed of. Even the most ornate and well-kept homes and structures have been known to have problems with these pesky, but relatively harmless, critters.

Because of their tiny size, bedbugs have the ability to stowaway on any number of objects and are often unknowingly transported from one place to the next in clothing, luggage, boxes, mattresses, furniture, or even in books and papers. If you accept any of these gifts from friends or family, be sure to give them a good cleaning and scrubbing before bringing them into your home.

Many people find great delight in attending garage sales, flea markets, or even "dumpster diving" to find used pieces of furniture. While many a treasure has been found this way, it's best to carefully scrutinize any item you want to bring into your home before your purchase it. If you have any doubts about the cleanliness of the item, donít buy it. If you purchase a piece of furniture with bedbugs, youíll be getting a lot more than you paid for!

In some rare cases, bedbugs are even introduced into homes through their distant cousins, the bat bug and bird bug, who travel about on bats and birds respectively and will be more than happy to set up shop in your home.

Clean Up the Clutter

The less clutter your home has, the fewer hiding places you'll be providing for the bedbug to live and reproduce. This means youíll need more than the occasional dusting or vacuuming to get rid of bedbugs, but rather a deep-down, thorough cleaning that involves dismantling and scrubbing your bed frame, dressers and any other furniture in your bedroom.

Regularly vacuuming your mattress will also help to keep bedbugs at bay, but be sure to only use a vacuum cleaner with a bag. The bagless filter type has far more hiding places for the insect to stay trapped and healthy until it's time to reemerge. Also, remember to empty the vacuum's bag outside of the house, never inside, and immediately place it into a garbage bag for disposal.

You'll also want to do a thorough inspection around windows or doorframes, especially those leading to the bedroom. If you live in an apartment, make sure there aren't tiny holes in the wall leading to the next unit, whether around the baseboards or where the pipes snake through the walls. Any holes or cracks in these areas provide access points for bedbugs to enter your bedroom.

In cases of severe infestation, consulting with a professional pest exterminator who is trained in matters of safely handling the harsh chemicals that could be needed to completely eradicate bedbugs may be necessary.