People ask us about how to deal with bed bugs and, though, that is not our expertise, we have spent a fair amount of time researching in order to help those who are dealing with this serious problem.
Once you’ve come to the realization that you are in fact dealing with bed bugs, now you’ve got to decide how you’re going to tackle this problem. There are different approaches, and none of them are perfect. Because we specialize in non-toxic products, our customers tend to be most interested in solving this problem without chemical treatments. This is very doable, but it is no small project. Since Bed bugs are not able to tolerate high or low temperatures, extreme heating or cooling can be deadly for bed bugs.
In order to kill the bed bugs, and all of their eggs, you need to bring the heat up over 113 degrees and maintain that temperature long enough to bring all items in the room/house to that temperature.
This is easy to do to a few items, but when doing this to an entire home, can be quite costly; this can also potentially damage items in your home that cannot tolerate the sustained high heat. Furthermore, it is not always effective on the first try, as the bugs can hide in walls, or other nooks and crannies in the house, to escape the heat.
Heaters can be rented, and little heat boxes can be used for smaller items. Simply putting your bedding items in a hot dryer can be effective on a smaller scale. This can be a do it yourself project, but don’t expect to be successful on the first try. The most recent statistic I’ve heard said that it takes an average of 3 treatments to eliminate an infestation (and that is for professionals).
Extreme cold can be an effective means of killing bed bugs.
Now, I’m not really familiar with this equipment, and its availability; but it is my understanding that this poses less risk to your electronics and personal items than heat treatments.
Additionally, it can be similarly effective for eliminating bed bugs. Essentially what you do is spray a CO2 powder/snow on everything that is affected by the infestation, effectively bringing the temperature of all items below the threshold bed bugs can tolerate. However, bugs in crevices or walls could escape the cold.
Vacuuming prior to treatment can improve the odds of success. The vacuum must be cleaned and emptied immediately following to prevent bugs from simply crawling out of the vacuum bag, and lead to re-infestation.
This brings me to chemical treatments.
These don’t appear to be any more effective than heat or cold treatments; because bed bugs have developed resistance to many pesticides. This leads to the need for multiple treatments in many cases. Furthermore, chemical treatment of mattresses can cause allergic reactions, or worse.
Since burning your house down, and leaving all of your belongings behind is not really an option, you’ll have to decide what is the appropriate approach for you. Simply replacing your mattress is not going to solve the issue, because the bed bug are not only in one spot; bed bugs are probably in the baseboard, and the box too. They could even be in your bed frame. Replacing a mattress, and putting a bed bug encasement on it will not be sufficient without other measures, and even once you’ve done all this they may still return.