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What Can I Do About Bed Bugs?

Updated on July 17, 2012

In a recent study, 88% of Americans admitted to having been bitten by bed bugs at least once in their lifetime. No matter how clean you are or how clean you keep your home, bed bugs are a serious concern. Bed bugs feed off of the dry, dead skin particles that we are all constantly shedding - most of which come off at night while we're in bed. Thus, bed bugs are attracted to our beds because of the constant food source and the warm, humid environment that our mattresses provide them with.

What Are Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are a pest that are common in nearly are American homes.  They live in our beds, feeding off of our dead skin and blood while we sleep.  Yes, I know that sounds scary!  It's true though, so it is very important to take appropriate measures to get rid of bed beds.

Bed bugs are sometimes called by their scientific name, Cimicidae.  The most common species of bed bugs found are Cimex lectularius, although the term bed bugs is generally used to specify any type of parasitic insect that inhabits mattresses and feeds off human blood and skin.

What Can I Do About Bed Bugs?

So you've found bite marks on your body that you think are from bed bugs? Bed bugs can burrow deep into our mattresses so getting rid of then can be a challenge. Don't worry though - you do not necessarily need to go buy a new mattress. There are many things that we can do at home to kill bed bugs. Some of these methods are just normal cleaning tasks while others are specific treatments for bed bugs.

Cleaning that Kills and Prevents Bed Bug Infestations

There are simple, everyday cleaning tasks that can strongly cut down on your bed bug infestation and also prevent further infestations from happening.

Quick things that you can do to your bed include washing your sheets properly on a weekly basis(see my other Hub about washing pillows in the washing machine), vacuuming your mattress weekly when you strip the sheets and also purchasing a plastic mattress cover. Another way how to get rid of bed bugs is by steam cleaning your mattress monthly. Although bed bugs like the warmth and humidity mattresses provide, they do not like extreme heat or moisture. Having a professional steam cleaner (or doing it yourself if you have the equipment) steam your mattresses on a monthly basis will kill the majority of bed bugs that currently live in your mattress and prevent future infestations from happening.

Effective Bed Bug Treatments

If you have a severe bed bug infection currently, you may be asking, "What can I do about bed bugs right now?". There are many specific treatments for bed bugs that can be effective almost immediately to get rid of bed bug infestations.

Often considered the most effective, sprinkling diatomaceous earth on your bed will get rid of bed bugs quickly. Diatomaceous earth is a naturally occurring substance that is made out fossilized diatoms (a type of algae). This powder kills inspects because it absorbs the lipids in their exoskeleton (the outside of most insects) causing them to dehydrate and die. It is perfectly safe to use around children and pets and is a quick and affordable cure for bed bugs.


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