What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs are small brownish blood sucking insects that are a huge menace. These tiny insects can be found hiding under the bed, underneath clothing, box springs, mattresses, on the couch, bed frames, in the luggage and any other tiny places. Very surprisingly, they can also be found in the most luxurious hotels and the cleanest homes.
When do they bite and what are the symptoms?
Mostly active at night, these insects bite us when we are fast asleep and they live only on blood. Most of the times, you may not even get to know that you’ve been bitten by a bed bug. This is so because the red spot that they leave on the skin is very similar to a mosquito bite. Some of the most common signs of the presence of bed bugs include itchy welts on the skin, blood stains on the bed covers, bed bug fecal spots and a particularly musty odor. There is a great risk of getting several infections if bed bugs are present in your homes. They can weaken the immune system and lead to a host of other infections.
If you suspect the presence of bed bugs, it is very important to disinfect your home and eliminate them to avoid any serious health problems. You can easily get professional help and get chemicals sprayed in your home but there are some methods that you can easily administer yourself.
Here are a few home remedies to get rid of bed bugs:
1. Vacuum your house – Clean your entire house using a vacuum cleaner every once in a while. A vacuum cleaner reaches all the corners and crevices which are otherwise out of reach in the everyday cleaning process. They help to suck out all the dust and the dreadful minute creatures that are hiding under the bed, mattresses, couches, almirahs and tables. The suction of a vacuum cleaner is very strong and can take out even the eggs laid by bed bugs.
2. Make your mattress see the sun – Every fortnight, remove all the mattresses and cushions and lay them out in the sun. The sun’s rays are very strong and they help to destroy all the hidden bed bugs. Since there are four seasons in a year, it is very much understandable that all your clothes will not be used at the same time. Most people store their woolens in the bed boxes and trunks during the summers and vice versa. Every time you take out clothes from the bed box or trunk; make sure it is laid out in the sun for 3-4 hours. Once the season is over, make them see the sun again before they go back to where they belong. This helps to kill all the bed bugs and minute insects that may be lingering.
3. Always cover your mattresses – Always keep your mattresses covered. Waterproof covers are very available in shops that sell bed covers and other draperies. These covers not only help to keep your mattresses protected from bed bugs, but they also save them from getting dirty and wet.
4. Sprinkle camphor cakes – Prepared by distilling the wood and bark of Camphor tree, camphor cakes are very effective in killing bed bugs. It has a very strong pungent aroma which makes it a potent killer of bed bugs. Due to its small size, one can place it anywhere. Place camphor cakes in drawers, in bed boxes, almirahs, behind sofas, chests, almirahs, in cupboards and in bathroom cabinets. They help to get rid of any humid and damp smells and disinfect the places where it is placed.
5. Always dry your clothes in a dryer – Whenever you wash your clothes, make it a point to dry them using a dryer. A clothes dryer generates very high temperatures which help to kill all sorts of insects and bed bugs present in clothes. After drying in the dryer, make your clothes hang in the sun. This eliminates any smell and helps to kill any insects and microorganisms that might have been left out.
6. Use essential oils – Essential oils such as lavender, tea-tree, eucalyptus and rosemary help to get rid of bed bugs effectively. Tea tree oil has a very pungent smell. Just spray it all around the room, under the bed, in the bed boxes and protect yourselves from bed bugs. The sharp smell of lavender can also do the trick. Just rub some lavender oil all over the floor and on your bed frame. This smell lasts for 2-3 weeks and helps to keep beg bugs away. Another way to keep bed bugs away is adding a few drops of eucalyptus, rosemary and lavender oils in a cup of water. Mix it thoroughly and spray it all around your room and furniture.
7. Wash all fabrics once in a while – Untouched fabrics and covers are the perfect place for bed bugs to thrive. Make it a point to wash all bed linen, cushion covers, curtains and sofa cloths every once in a while. This will help to remove all the dirt, smell and insects from fabrics.
8. Furniture Polish and Paint – Get your house and all the almirahs painted every few years. Get all the furniture polished and cleaned. This not only gives you an opportunity to redecorate your house but also the strong smells of paints and polish help to eliminate all sorts of insects and rodents from your house.
9. Get your clothes, quilts etc. dry cleaned – Since it is not possible to wash the quilts, you must get them dry cleaned every few months or when they need to go back to a bed box. While dry cleaning, all stains are removed using petrol derivatives which also work as disinfectants and kill all the bed bugs and insects.
Now that you know how to tackle bed bugs, make sure you check for them regularly and get rid of them as soon as you see one!