What do you do if you have bed bugs?
First things first: Take a deep breath. I, like everyone else, run to the internet when you have something bad going on that you’ve never dealt with before for quick information. In most instances, it’s a coin flip whether or not what you read provides you comfort or makes you completely freak out. With bed bugs “freak out” is the more common reaction and I’m here to tell you to take a deep breath, it isn’t as bad as it seems and in most instances you can get rid of them easier than most make it sound.
Second: Don’t go out and buy whatever bug spray you see first and go crazy in your house! I respect that not everyone can afford a professional to handle the situation and that DIY may be your only option. I only ask that you do some research so you know what to do and where to apply whatever you buy and PLEASE follow the label directions. Although many pesticides you buy at your local hardware store are fairly low toxicity they are still pesticides (yes, Diatomaceous Earth is still a pesticide and can be toxic if used inconsistently with label directions) and needs to be applied properly. All I ask is that you realize that running out and buying pesticide and spraying blindly in your house is like knowing your transmission has a problem in your car and taking a screw driver and hammer and trying to fix the issue with no knowledge of cars and transmissions.
Third: Even if you can’t afford it I would contact a knowledgeable pest control company. It can’t hurt to have someone who knows what they are doing come out and evaluate the situation and quote the job. Even if you know you can’t afford it you may get additional information on what you need to know to handle it yourself…..and you never know, maybe the price they provide will surprise you and you’ll figure out how to afford it.
Fourth: Take another deep breath.
Fifth: Here are many different non-chemical options available that can help the situation. Bed encasements will lock bugs into the bed and salvage your bedding. Encasements will also keep any other bed bugs on the outside of the encasement which makes them easy to see and address. Interception devices and monitors will not only help you determine if you have a problem but will also catch bugs and help you get rid of a problem. Vacuums will help you remove bed bugs (be sure to empty the filter or bag in an outdoor trash can once done….yes bed bugs can live inside a vacuum) and steamers can kill bugs on contact. The bottom line is that you can devastate most bed bug infestations without even touching a pesticide.
Sixth: If you have itchy welts or other issues associated with bed bugs (or you think are associated with bed bugs), see your doctor. Nobody should be giving you health advice other than your doctor and whether it’s itchy welts, trouble sleeping or constant nightmares you should visit your doctor and ask their advice (Ron the bug guy may know a lot about bed bugs and has seen it all but he’s not a medical doctor and he shouldn’t be your source of information on whether or not something is a bed bug bite or how do you treat your skin for itchy irritations).
Last of all: Have confidence that you can get rid of this in a timely manner. It’s always best to involve a knowledgeable professional and that should be the best way to get rid of them quickly. Yes, it may take a few treatments to get every last bug and between now and elimination there may be some rough moments. That being said you can eliminate bed bugs and assuming you caught the infestation fairly early on, it’ll probably be straightforward for a knowledgeable professional. You will get through this.