First, we are sorry you are here reading this piece. The reason you are here is equally unpleasant and wicked – bed bugs. They are incredibly resilient, and can cause significant emotional stress. If you have contacted a bed bug exterminator for your home or business, its important to properly prepare for a bed bug treatment.
Here are a few things that homeowners can do to prepare properly. The more you prepare, the faster the process will work. But first, let’s understand the bug a little better to cover our bases.
Get to Know Bed Bugs
The little brown bug you hardly see during the day looks like apple seed – but smaller. Their mouth ends in a straw-shaped formation and has no teeth. They can only survive on blood meals, and their primary preference is humans. But they also feast on animals, rodents, and birds. That is why their only source of survival is blood meal. Bed bugs do not fly. Instead, they tend to crawl up on your clothes, bags, and luggage, which is how they reach homes. However, minimalistic and clutter-free homes make it difficult for bugs to infest. So the myth behind dirty homes and bed bugs is wrong.
They have multiple stages of development. The idea behind this slight science detour is to develop a little understanding of how they breed, infest, feast, and move around will help you tackle this nuisance. After the egg hatches, it needs the first blood meal to move to the next stage of development. As soon as they grow in size, they shed the skin and move to the next. If you have a significant infestation in your home, you will find these shells in crevices, folds, and underneath the mattress. The adult female bag soon mates and lay roughly three eggs a day. So, she can lay between 200 to 500 eggs in her entire life span. Due to this pattern, they multiply in number incredibly fast. And as soon the bugs increase in number, they try to move to other rooms in the house where they can find another human or pet to devour. They are nocturnal and like to live in the dark. Hence you will never see them in the day – unless they are starving or large in number.
Signs of Infestation
Many people will have difficulty locating bed bugs in the early stages of infestation due to their size and nocturnal nature. Some not too hard-to-miss signs would help you ascertain their presence in your homes.
- Tiny bloodstains on sheet, pillow, and mattress
- Rusty spots and stains – bed bug fecal matter
- Eggshells and skin shells
- A distinguished musty odor
- Unexplainable bite marks on the skin
How to Prepare For A Bed Bug Treatment
Treatments aren’t a casual event. They take up time, energy, and effort. To make sure it is successful, there are some things you have to do.
Prep Your Home
As you approach the service appointment, ensure you have time to prep your home for a complete and successful process. You are not required to move all the furniture away from the wall. But, if you choose to, please push the furniture two feet (60 cm, 24 inches) away from walls. When you push the furniture away, you give the exterminators space to move around quickly and treat all the walls, crevices, cracks, or loose wallpaper with steam treatment and insecticides.
Note: Remember, do not move anything away from home. There are chances you are transferring them to another house or your car. In this way, they will return to your home or travel to other homes.
Let’s talk about closets and linens. It is vital to wash every piece of cloth and linen in the washing machine with hot water only. After washing, please put the items in the dryer for at least fifteen minutes. If there is something you can’t wash in the washing machine or run thru a dryer, please clean with Clorox wipes or rubbing alcohol. Exposure to detergent and heat will most likely kill all bed bugs and eggs. After taking washed and dried clothes out of the dryer, put them in sealable bags. You can also put them in plastic bags and tie them up. Please do the same washing cycle with shoes, pillows, and stuffed animals. Similarly, you keep doing the rounds for all the towels, bedsheets, and shoes. Other items can be left for staff to treat or clean.
Lastly, vacuum all the carpets and rugs in the house. After vacuuming, dispose of the vacuum bag in a plastic bag, tightly sealed or clean with water if a bagless canister vacuum for bed bugs to not leave residual exposure.
Walls and Floors
The exterminators need space to move around. Try to move things away from the wall to some distance. Remove any clutter; try to make piles but don’t move anything away from home without discussing it with the experts. Now it’s time to vacuum the floor. It is time to use all those extensions of the vacuum cleaner to reach all corners of the sofa and baseboards. After running your vacuum in the house, make sure to throw the vacuum bag in a tightly sealed bag.
Check behind the frames and mirrors hanging on the wall. You can remove them to inspect the walls for any traces. PLEASE DO NOT MOVE ITEMS AROUND THE HOUSE OR PLACE ITEMS IN STORAGE. YOU WILL ONLY SPREAD THE ISSUE FURTHER. Finally, check the loose wallpaper and signs of shells. Don’t forget to highlight any signs for the exterminator if you sense any signs.
Your Bedroom When You Prepare for a Bed Bug Treatment
You may have removed all the linen and bed covers to wash and dry in the initial prep. Take the mattress off the bed frame and place it against the wall. Since their primary and only food preference is blood, they infest close to sleeping spaces such as mattresses, box springs, cots, sofas, and bed frames. If you can lift the mattress and stand up on the wall, please do so. When you leave the mattress up against the wall, exterminators can reach all the nooks and corners of the bed frame and mattress. We will handle this if you cannot remove the mattress from the wall.
Bed bugs come back one out of ten times, as it’s practically impossible to kill every single bug. That’s why we recommend to homeowners to cover the mattress with a sealable bag for a year.
Need To Store Items?
You can seal up bed bugs, which will die if you place items in storage for over 400 days. Once the bed bugs are in the bag, sealed inside without blood meal for this period, they die. This timeframe is how long a bed bug can go without a blood meal. Invest in a bag that will last you for a year without tearing. Often homeowners decide to throw away the bed frame, box springs, and mattress to avoid the second round of invasion. However, discarding the bed must be done correctly because it leaves other homes susceptible. Hence discuss with the exterminators the options to throw the things properly.
If possible, move the furniture away from the wall. Think of it like this: the trickier the place to reach, the more likely the chances are it’s the bed bug colony’s favorite hideout. When you move everything, it will give the exterminator space to move around and reach those nooks. Also:
- Do not disregard books. It can be a place to laze—mainly the book’s spine.
- Empty the drawers so staff can treat adequately when the contents are out.
- Empty the contents of the wardrobe, wash them thoroughly, or place them on top of the furniture if you cannot clean them in a washer or dryer.
- Leave the shoes out, so they also get the exposure to treatment.
- If you have travel cases or luggage, leave them with easy access to be treated.
- Unplug the electronics, but do not remove them from the premise without discussing them with the exterminators.
Closet & Storage
You may think the attic is far from reach, but do not trust these evil crawlers. They could be hiding in those dark spaces and coming out at night. Do not ignore and prep these areas like other parts of your home. Discuss these areas with your specialist as they may or may not choose to treat or sanitize these areas.
- Begin by moving things away from the wall.
- Vacuum the spaces, walls, and floors.
- Sweep the attic and garage before the treatment.
- If there are any items of clothing, wash and dry them as advised.
- In the case of the closet, everything on the floor should be bagged, washed, or wiped down.
- Wash the carpets, rugs, and mats.
- Place everything after washing in a clean plastic bag.
- Tag all bags, so it is easier to put everything back later.
Pets & Plants
Bed bugs also find pets to be easy targets for their meal. So, if you have a pet dog or cat, please give them a long bath, brush the fur, and vacate them from the premises.
- If you have an aquarium, cover it tightly with plastic and unplug the filter.
- The pet bedding should be washed and dried similarly to yours.
- Pet food dishes should be emptied, cleaned, and put away.
- If you own a fish or reptile, you must also vacate them before the treatment.
- Moving the plants away from window sills and walls is best to create a walking space. Houseplants are safe to be in the home during treatment.
- Please place small pets, including cats, rabbits, etc., in a bathroom or basement far away from sleeping areas.
- Dogs should be removed from the property during a bed bug treatment either with the owners or placed outside etc.
Are you concerned about your bathroom? If the infestation levels are medium to high, you should prepare the bathroom. If your bathroom has towels and rugs, there are chances of infestation. Moreover, it’s a warm place to hide. So take the following steps to prep the bathroom.
- Put away all the towels, mats, and rugs to be washed and dried for at least thirty minutes in a drier.
- Put the clean laundry in a plastic bag, and seal it to use later.
- Do not pile things on the movable items.
- Empty the contents of the laundry, towel, or toiletry basket.
Prepare for a Bed Bug Treatment If You Have Medical Issues
If you have an incapacitated person, toddler, or elderly – you need to take extra care. Due to their weak immune system, they can develop health issues with bed bug bites. EnviroPest can make special arrangements and treatment methods for these situations to ensure elimination without leaving home. Please discuss these details with your specialist.
Important Precautions Post Treatment
You can ventilate the premise thoroughly when you enter the home. After the treatment, discuss with the exterminator when you can enter the house. Usually, it’s best not to enter at least three hours post-treatment. However, to be safe, discuss a timeframe with the exterminator.
Our staff will advise you not to wash any part of the home for at least two weeks – especially the floor, window, and walls. Instead, you can vacuum or sweep to keep the house clean.
If your mattress has a cover, do not remove it. As mentioned before, the bag must stay on for a year to starve all the eggs and bed bugs to ensure complete eradication. If you want to purchase a cover, you can do so at all major retailers. Just be sure the mattress encasement is rated or mentions bed bug protection.
Take time to gradually put the furniture and washed contents back in their place. But do not put the unwashed contents back in their area without washing and drying. Discard any garbage bag properly (outside) because it could be housing some bugs that can get back inside the home.
Hire a Professional
EnviroPest is the best in service and knows everything about bed bugs and treatments in upstate New York. Since bed bugs are famous for hitchhiking, travel in New York has been spreading these bugs to new homes. EnviroPest has experience in eradicating them. We advise best practices to our clients to avoid multiple infestations. Our specialists are happy to discuss with you any questions you have on how to prepare for a bed bug treatment.
We offer plans to homeowners and motels for continued treatments to ensure 100% eradication. Our staff has extensive experience and provides their clients do not go through any more distress. EnviroPest ensures all treatments comply with procedures and guidelines of the FDA (Food and Drug Authority).
Having a bed bug problem is always very distressing. It will keep you up at night. That’s why it is important to solve the problem as soon as possible. After booking an exterminator’s appointment, make sure you prepare for a bed bug treatment properly. The proper preparation works great for the exterminators as they will be better able to reach every nook and corner of the house, which are most likely the home for the bed bugs.
Follow all the guidance instructions before and after treatment to be safe. Some exterminators advise a second follow-up session depending on the severity of the infestation. If you comply with the plan, the possibility for re-infestation will surely diminish.