There may be no worse news to a home or business owner than finding out you’ve got bed bugs. It’s embarrassing, it’s unpleasant, and it’s the beginning of what could be a very difficult process of getting rid of the infestation. For homeowners, bed bugs are a matter of inconvenience; for a business owner, they could be catastrophic.
However, when you’re starting your battle with bed bugs, it’s worth your time to take a few minutes to consider the different kinds of treatments available. Among the most important aspects you need to think about are the safety issues that come with each treatment. Getting rid of bed bugs isn’t easy, and some of the methods to fight an infestation can pose risks to both people and property.
Methods for Fighting a Bed Bug Infestation
There are three recommended methods for treating bed bugs, all of which attack the problem differently, and these methods are often used in combination. Each treatment poses a different set of risks, and you should be familiar with what precautions you should take to minimize negative outcomes.
There are a number of chemical pesticides available to treat a bed bug infestation. Pesticides act by killing the bed bugs directly. Because bed bugs lay eggs, you will typically need to follow a treatment regimen over several weeks, to make sure you kill any bed bugs that might hatch after the initial exposure.
Since pesticides attack the biology of the bed bugs, they make use of some powerful chemical compounds, many of which are also harmful to humans and pets. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to the product’s packaging, which should have vital instructions and information you’ll need to stay safe.
If you’re considering treating your bed bug problem with pesticides, you should ensure that the label on your product gives you the following information, as suggested by the EPA:
- Is this pesticide approved specifically to kill bed bugs? If the product doesn’t specifically say it’s effective against bed bugs, choose a different product.
- How do you protect yourself and others from overexposure? Make sure you have appropriate safety equipment, such as gloves, and that you follow guidelines about how long you should leave the treated area undisturbed.
- How do you apply the product? Different products are intended for different applications. A pesticide intended to treat your mattress is different than one you would apply to a non-porous surface.
- How often should you use the pesticide? Some treatments may only need one or two applications, while others will require treatment over time.
- Is the pesticide meant for use indoors or outdoors? Be sure to use only products rated for indoor use. Using a product meant for outdoor applications inside your home or business can create a dangerous situation.
- Has the product been registered with the EPA? If your product does not have an EPA registration number, it means it hasn’t been tested, so you can’t be sure whether it’s effective—or safe.
As you can see, pesticides require you to be vigilant about managing risk, both for yourself and for those around you. At the same time, pesticide treatment can be a very important part of a decontamination procedure. That’s what it’s so important to balance the risks against the benefits.
Applying heat is a time-tested way of combating a bed bug infestation. Any infested clothing, bedding, and other soft, cloth items can be run at high temperatures in a clothes dryer. However, while this should kill the bed bugs infesting these items, it won’t prevent them from returning if you don’t treat the rest of your home or business.
You can hire a professional to use heat to treat other parts of your home. They have equipment like portable heat chambers that can provide intense, direct heat to target bed bugs. While this is also effective, you should be sure to protect any items that might be damaged by high heat, either through melting or combustion.
While it may be tempting to try and freeze bed bugs yourself, you’re unlikely to get temperatures cold enough to kill them. Instead, bed bugs become dormant, and will reawaken when they wake up.
As with heat treatments, you’re better off hiring a professional to help you use cold to fight bed bugs. Beyond having the right equipment, these technicians will have experience using things like carbon dioxide properly. While it may seem innocent, carbon dioxide can quickly become fatal to humans and pets if not carefully controlled.
A Final Word
Getting rid of bed bugs isn’t easy. But using a combination of treatments, you can bring your infestation under control. When you’re aware of the safety risks of each of these treatments, you’ll protect the safety of yourself, your family, and your customers.
ESS Universal manufactures and supplies high-quality, cost-effective commercial grade beds, mattresses, and furniture to camps, hostels, shelters, dorms and more. View our entire line of furniture products including our popular waterproof foam mattress for institutional use, single metal bed frames, single over single bunk beds, single over double bunk beds, and triple bunk beds. Download our catalog for detailed information on our complete product line.