Bed bugs like to travel from place to place just as much as people. Reader's Digest reports that most of them are transported on people's luggage, clothing and furniture.
Rather than refusing to buy used furniture, stay in a hotel, or fly on an airplane ever again, you can implement these 10 home remedies for getting rid of them if you find you have a few hitchhikers.
1. Clothes dryer. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends taking any infested clothing or bedding and placing it in the clothes dryer on high heat for 30 minutes.
2. Wash and dry. If you're still feeling a little uncomfortable, Texas A&M says you can wash items in hot water for 30 minutes and then tumble them dry on high heat for 30 minutes. This will kill both the bed bugs and the eggs.
3. Dry clean. Some pieces can't be thrown in the wash or dried on high. For those, Texas A&M recommends dry cleaning. Professional exterminators use steam to kill bed bugs, and steam is used to dry clean.
4. Black plastic and sun. Since heat kills bed bugs, taking items and encasing them in black plastic bags and placing them in the sun or in a hot car for an afternoon if it's really hot will kill the bugs.
5. Freezer. Another option is to place items in a freezer that is set at 0°F for 8 to 10 hours according to Texas A&M.
6. Mattress cover. If the mattress and box springs are infested, Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) says you can purchase bed bug mattress and box spring covers designed specifically to trap bed bugs.
7. Bed bug interceptors. Even furniture can transport bed bugs, so BHG also recommends placing bed bug interceptors under the legs of the bed or other furniture, trapping the bugs and keeping them from spreading.
8. Systematically treat rooms. If your problem has spread to more than one room, Texas A&M recommends treating each room systematically, getting rid of every bug.
9. Repeat. To be sure you've gotten rid of bed bugs and eggs, the EPA recommends repeating your treatment every few days until you're sure they're gone.
10. Professionals. Sometimes, calling the professional is the best option. BHG, the EPA, and Texas A&M all comment that if the entire house is infested, calling a professional exterminator is the best way to ensure you get them all.
If you want to stop the advancement of bed bugs, keeping them from continuing their travels, you may be able to stop them in their tracks all on your own. Being wise with how you deal with used furniture when you buy it or luggage when you travel can save you a lot of headaches in the future.
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