Despite their name, “bed bugs” can be found in almost any part of your house and are often found far away from the bedroom. Bed bugs might be lurking in your bookshelves (avoid buying used books on the street for this reason) or in your couch (avoid buying used couches too!) or in other places too. There are several ways to tell if you have bed bugs – maybe you saw an actual bug or egg so you are 100% certain; perhaps you have woken up covered in bites leading you to believe you might have bed bugs; or maybe you have even had an inspector come to your house to confirm your fears. Either way, now that you know you have an infestation, you are probably wondering how to take care of it.
First, save a specimen. This might sound gross, but you should hold onto the physical bodies of the bed bugs in a Ziploc. Beyond helping the exterminator confirm the infestation, you might need to show them to your landlord or insurer so that you can recover your costs. You may never see an actual bug, so if you do, grab it. Take pictures of any damage as well.
Second, don’t switch to another bed in your house. Your first instinct might be to sleep elsewhere if the bed bugs are actually found in your bed. But unfortunately, all this will achieve is spreading the infestation. So don’t start sleeping on the couch, and definitely don’t stay at a friend or relative’s house. The bed bugs will be waiting for you when you get home and will have left some cousins wherever you went.
Third, consult a professional. Even if you are sure you have bed bugs, you should always get a professional pest control operator to come in, identify the pest and then treat it. Call them as soon as you suspect an infestation and get them into your home right away. Treatment takes time, so start sooner rather than later.
Fourth, check the other beds. Not everyone will know if they have bed bugs just by being bitten. Not everybody reacts to the bites in the same way, so there could be bugs in their beds without them knowing. Make sure your professional pest control operator does a thorough check of the home.
Fifth, don’t start throwing everything away. Not every piece of furniture in your home needs to be sent to the landfill. Ask your professional pest control operator what can be saved and what should be tossed. Once you know what cannot be saved, the professional can help you dispose of it properly and safely so as not to spread the bugs even further.
Sixth, do start washing your linens and clothing. Your clothing and bedding should be dealt with right away. Machine wash everything on hot and then dry them on hot for about two hours. Dry cleaning is also an option. Whichever option you choose, the key part is to put the cleaned clothing and linens in sealed, airtight bags until you are going to use them in your bed bug free house.
Finding out you have bed bugs is never fun. But if you follow the proper precautions and have patience, hopefully the bed bugs will be handled quickly and without major loss of sleep, furniture, and money.
About the Author: Michelle Lim has been writing about designer bedding for this website for years. When she’s not spending her time writing, she enjoys shopping and going on vacations with her boyfriend.