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Control and Eliminate Bed Bugs

What is the impact of DDT and other Insecticides on bed bugs?

  • By 1950’s bed bugs were a seldom heard of problem, due to strong pesticides such as DDT. However, resistance appeared within a few years but, control remained effective due to other chlorinated hydrocarbons like lindane and organophosphates like malathion.
  • Those bed bugs surviving via resistance however, continued to multiply and we are seeing these offspring and bugs as well as those not treated then.

Why are bed bugs coming back?

  • Increased world wide travel.
  • Underground economy.
  • Increase in secondhand merchandise.
  • Changes in bed bug biology/habits.
  • The public does not recognize the bugs or signs of an infestation.
  • Pesticides today are less toxic.
  • Pesticides today are less broadcast spraying oriented and more oriented towards baits.

How should I control bed bugs in my home?

Not a do-it-yourself job

  • First and foremost, call your Pest Management Professional (PMP)
  • Do not choose a PMP based solely on price.
    • It is time consuming and expensive to successfully rid a structure of bed bugs. This is not the time to scrimp.
    • Make sure your PMP is experienced in managing this pest. Check references.
    • Only use a licensed and insured PMP
    • Have your PMP explain in detail how they are attacking the problem, including what is expected of you and what you can expect from the Company you are considering hiring.
    • Ask the Company if they belong to any professional associations such as their state pest management association and/or the National Pest Management Association.

Be proactive

  • Do not scavenge mattresses, beds, or any furniture that has been discarded
  • Carefully inspect “reconditioned” items, such as mattresses and box springs.
    • You may even want these items treated by your Pest Management Professional before you bring them into your home the first time
    • Second hand fabrics such as drapes, blankets, sheets, etc. should be washed and dried on hot cycle before bringing into your home
  • Returning home after traveling
    • Do not unpack when you first enter your hotel room. Thoroughly inspect room for bed bugs first.
    • Prior to departure, carefully inspect your belongings, including suitcase for hitchhiking bed bugs
    • Wash your clothes immediately upon your return home.
    • Inspect your luggage again once at home.

You’ve called your Pest Management Professional: now what?

  • Do not remove anything from the infested room unless specifically instructed to by your Pest Management Professional.
  • If instructed to do so, remove all sheets, blankets, pillowcases, mattress covers from beds, towels, and other linens and clothing and place them in a tied off plastic bag and wash and dry ALL items on hot cycles.
  • If clothes are dry clean only, bag the items in tied off plastic bags and inform the dry cleaners that they may be infested
  • If instructed to do so, remove as much clutter as possible. These are hiding places for the bed bugs.
  • Remember, to adequately seal all items in plastic or plastic bags before removing from the room. Make sure your Pest Management Professional can get into all drawers, closets, under bed, etc.

I’ve gotten rid of the bugs, what can I do now?

  • Seal or caulk cracks and crevices such as baseboards, moldings, around air conditioning and heating units. Seal all conduits and/or openings that would allow the insect to hide.
  • Repair holes and damaged walls. Re-glue damaged or peeling wallpaper, repair peeling paint and repair anyplace where you suspect the bed bug can hide.
  • Bed skirts - These are notorious hiding places for the bugs. If you must have a bed skirt, purchase one without pleats or ruffles. A flat surface is easier to inspect.
  • Encasements - Purchase a quality, scientifically tested mattress and box spring encasements for every bed in your home. When purchasing new mattresses and box springs, have encasements ready upon delivery. Encase these products BEFORE they enter the home. If you should have an infestation at a later date, the mattress and box spring are now protected and do not provide harborage for the insect.

Why would I want to consider purchasing/using bedding encasements?

Preventative Measure - You do not have bed bugs now

Encasements are proving to be a valuable preventative tool in dwellings that has not experienced a problem.

  • Encasements restrict the movement of bed bugs to the outside of the encasement, preventing an infestation from establishing itself in the mattress and box spring.
  • Bed bugs are more quickly detected and eliminated from the outside of the encasement as opposed to the inside of the mattress and box spring.

You have or have had an infestation of bed bugs

  • Encasements protect new beds purchased due to a previous infestation.
    • Many people cannot rest unless their infested bed is discarded. Encasements provide them with a layer of protection after a new bed is introduced into the home.
    • Encasement prevent the new mattress and box spring from becoming infested by bed bugs that are still present, but undetected or controlled post treatment.
  • Encasements enable people to salvage their infested beds and bedding.
    • Let’s face it…it is expensive to replace these items. Any bed bugs or eggs still in/on the mattress and box spring are trapped in the encasement and over time will die from starvation.
  • Encasements increase control efficiency.
    • It is time consuming to inspect and apply control measures to beds, mattresses and box springs. Encasements trap the bugs and eggs inside restricting bed bug activity and pesticides (if you do not treat) to the exterior of the encasement, which is more easily dealt with.
  • Are all Encasements created equal?
    • Not all encasements are created equal - must be bed bug escape proof.
      • Inspect seams of encasement to make sure stitching is small enough to prevent insect from getting through.
      • Inspect zipper to ensure that when left open, even a fraction of an inch, there is a mechanism to prevent the insects from escaping
      • Is the material strong enough to prevent tearing.
    • Must be bed bug bite proof.
      • Has the encasement been specifically engineered to prevent bed bugs from biting through the fabric to the sleeping occupant of the bed?
    • Allergy encasements are not designed to keep bed bugs out. Encasements should be specifically tested and labeled for bed bugs.
    • Low cost encasements may be ineffective.

Will the bed bugs caught beneath be able to survive? How long?

  • Bed bugs properly encased will eventually die from starvation.
  • The adult bed bug, depending on conditions, can live for over a year without a blood meal.
  • The nymphs (babies) can live up to three months without a blood meal.
  • Needless to say, the performance of your encasement is vital to keep these insects inside or out of your bed, depending on when you encase your property.

Would bed bugs be able to climb/walk on this fabric?

  • Bed bugs are good climbers. Yes, they can walk and climb on almost any surface.

Would bed bugs find it attractive or repellent compared to a standard sheet or other fabric?

  • The term “attractive” or “repellent” implies there is some property of the fabric that modifies the behavior of the insect. I have not seen any research establishing whether this behavior modification occurs.

If I use bedding encasements, do I have to treat my mattress with an insecticide?

  • No, you do not HAVE TO treat the mattress.
  • If the encasement is being used as a preventative measure, prior to any known infestation, there is no reason to treat the mattress or bed with an insecticide.
  • If you have an infestation your PMP may treat the mattress and box spring with an insecticide labeled for this use. They will then encase these items to ensure any insects or eggs in/on the mattress and box spring surviving the treatment are sufficiently isolated in order to prevent them from feeding further.

Can I exterminate bed bugs in my home simply by using bedding encasements?

  • If bed bugs are infesting your mattress and box spring, you can “exterminate” them by simply encasing your items in laboratory tested bed bug encasements. (see answer 7 above).
  • Encasements will not exterminate insects in other areas of the room or if not inside a laboratory.

Will this product help me “know” if I have bed bugs?

  • Encasements will eliminate one common area of an infestation and as such, inspection of a premises is restricted to the exterior of the encasement, where it is easier to deal with.
  • If you have encased your mattress and box spring after you suspect an infestation and in preparation of your PMP inspecting the room, it may be possible for any trapped insects to be viewed and collected by your PMP for identification.

Wouldn’t it be hot or noisy if I cover my bed with this product?

  • Some products are hot and noisy. The fabric or material may lend itself to this experience. However, a high quality, laboratory tested bed bug product can in fact be soft, quiet and luxurious.