DETECT BED BUGS
Bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed. When they sting, their brown coloration becomes reddish. They feed on the blood of humans. They move at the speed of an ant and are visible to the naked eye. They do not fly or jump. They have a lifespan of five to ten months, but can live up to 18 months without feeding in a dormant state.
These small insects can lay up to 200 eggs in their lifetime. The eggs are more difficult to see, since they are whitish and the size of a pinhead. The eggs take 10 to 14 days to hatch.
Bed bugs don’t like light and are most active at night. They like dark, narrow and inaccessible places. A mattress is their preferred living environment, but they can be found in many different places:
- Bedroom furniture, headboard, bedding, box spring and mattress cover;
- Wicker drawers, chests of drawers, cabinets and furniture;
- Backpacks, handbags, clothing and luggage;
- Chairs, armchairs, cushions and sofas;
- Carpets and curtains ;
- Mouldings and frames for windows and doors;
- Cracks (wood, plaster, floor);
- Behind baseboards, electrical outlets and frames;
In the event of an infestation, here’s what you may notice:
- Black or brown stains on bedding, mattress or box spring (bed bug excrement);
- Live or dead bed bugs;
- Bedbug eggs;
- Mosquito-like bites on the body (most often on parts of the body left uncovered during sleep).
It can take up to 14 days for the bites to appear. They can sometimes cause itching, especially in the early morning. They should not be scratched too much so as not to encourage a skin infection. It is important to note that bedbugs do not transmit diseases. If itching is severe, wash your skin with cool water and mild soap. Your pharmacist will be able to recommend products and measures to help you.
CONTROLLING BED BUGS
It is strongly advised to seek the help of a certified exterminator as soon as possible. If you are a tenant, inform the building owner as soon as possible. Avoid applying insecticides yourself. These products can be dangerous if not used properly.
Before proceeding, the exterminator will ask you to prepare the site. This step is essential to the success of the treatment. Click here !
- Avoid leaving objects or clothing lying around.
- Empty the furniture and drawers.
- Remove curtains and rugs.
- Vacuum infested rooms to reduce the number of bedbugs. Vacuuming does not kill bedbugs. Immediately dispose of the vacuum bag in a plastic bag and seal it tightly.
- Inspect your mattresses, box springs and upholstered furniture.
- Wash all fabric items (sheets, clothes, curtains, etc.).
- Wait until the exterminator has completed his work before purchasing new furniture.
The best way to treat fabrics is to put them in the dryer on high heat for at least 30 minutes.
If necessary, you can treat your clothes in the washer using hot water (at least 60oC) for the entire cycle. The water should completely cover your clothes. If you are using a front-loading washer, make sure the water level is sufficient. If in doubt, treat them in the dryer as well.
Fabric objects can also be treated with hot steam. The steam, with a temperature of at least 100°C, should be applied slowly. Only bugs exposed to the steam will die. In addition, it is a good idea to do this treatment before vacuuming since the steam will dislodge any bugs that are still alive.
Finally, the cold can kill bedbugs. Items can be placed in the freezer or outside for at least four days. Ensure that the temperature is at or below -18oC throughout the processing period. Many home freezers are not suitable for this treatment. The bugs must be cooled down quickly or they will adapt and survive.
After treating your objects, textiles and clothing, place them in a plastic bag or cover and seal with tape. Wait until the exterminator has finished his work before reintroducing your items into the room. Throw away any items that cannot be processed.
Follow all of the exterminator’s instructions to the letter.
AVOID AN INVASION OF BED BUGS
Here are some useful preventive tips.
- Avoid accumulating objects unnecessarily.
- Vacuum often, even under beds and behind headboards.
- Do not bring home box springs, wooden or upholstered furniture and mattresses abandoned on the side of the street. Carefully inspect furniture and books purchased at flea markets or secondhand stores.
- Since the same trucks are often used to deliver both new and used mattresses, require that your new mattress be delivered in a sealed plastic cover.
- At the hotel, place your suitcase on the bathroom floor, in the bathtub or on the suitcase rack. Do not place your clothes in drawers, on the bed or on the floor.
- Don’t bring your pillow with you on your trip.
- When you return from your trip, inspect your suitcase thoroughly before putting it away. A light colored plastic suitcase is preferable. Bugs are less attracted to plastic and will be more easily visible.
- If you are moving, inspect the premises carefully before moving your belongings.
To avoid all the worry and stress of a bed bug infestation, prevention is the best solution. If, by misfortune, they manage to sneak into your home, a quick and meticulous intervention will show them the way out!