Person vacuuming a mattress - Florida Pest Control, Gainesville FL

If you’ve found bed bugs in your home, you’re probably ready to jump into action and get rid of them as quickly as possible. Before you start removing bedding or vacuuming the carpet, though, it’s important that you learn how to kill bed bugs—and read these warnings about DIY bed bug control. 

DIY Bed Bug Control

There are a lot of DIY bed bug control ideas on the Internet, but not all of them are actually effective. To keep you from wasting your time or money on treatments that don’t work, here are the most common DIY solutions and what the experts at Florida Pest Control think about them:

  • Vacuuming: If you come across bed bugs, vacuuming them up can be a good way to get rid of any insects hiding out in your room. Be sure to vacuum around your room, including behind the headboard, beneath furniture, and between wall joints. Also remember to empty the contents into a sealable plastic bag and place it in an outdoor trash can to avoid carrying the pests throughout your home. 
  • Baking Soda or Diatomaceous Earth: Baking soda and diatomaceous earth are supposed to work by dehydrating the bed bugs’ exoskeletons and causing them to die. People sprinkle these substances on their mattress or carpet for a few hours before vacuuming it up. However, there’s very little evidence that doing so provides consistent results. Even if it works against a few insects, it likely won’t hold up against an infestation. 
  • Tea Tree Oil: Tea tree oil is often touted as an insect-repellent. While the strong scent can deter some insect species, it isn’t shown to work on bed bugs and rarely provides noticeable results on its own. If you like the smell, though, it doesn’t necessarily hurt to spray it around your room. 
  • Dryer Sheets and Moth Balls: Some people believe that the scent of dryer sheets or moth balls can mask the smell of carbon dioxide, which bed bugs use to locate potential hosts. Like tea tree oil, though, this isn’t a proven solution in getting rid of—or even repelling—bed bugs. 
  • Washing Linens: Washing your linens can be an effective way to get rid of bed bugs, but you have to use very hot water. Bed bugs can’t withstand extreme temperatures, so putting them through a hot cycle can kill both adult insects and their eggs. 

Can I Get Rid of Bed Bugs On My Own?

While there are some pests you might be able to handle on your own, bed bugs are a real nightmare and are best left to the professionals. In fact, a lot of people unintentionally make the infestation worse when they try to use DIY bed bug treatments. Stripping your bedding or carrying potentially infested items throughout your home is a recipe for disaster, and you may just end up with bed bugs hiding out in new places. 

If you think you have bed bugs, it’s best to work with an expert. They can contain the infestation and reduce your risk of carrying it into other parts of the house. And, they’ll provide fast treatments that offer more dependable results than at-home methods. 

What Kills Bed Bugs?

Just because we don’t recommend DIY bed bug control doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know what kills them. On the contrary, this information can be helpful for preventing infestations from forming in the first place. 

The most common and effective way to kill bed bugs without professional help is to wash infested linens on high heat.

Bed bugs are hardy insects, but they’re not impervious to extreme temperatures. Washing your clothes or bedding on high heat (at least 140°F) for a minimum of 90 minutes will kill any insects or eggs that may be hiding out. This can be a great way to get rid of bed bugs that you may have picked up while traveling—just be sure to keep any possibly infested fabric in a sealed plastic bag while transporting it to the laundry room. 

What to Do If You Have Bed Bugs

Whether you’ve just discovered an infestation or you’ve been battling one for weeks, professional extermination is the best way to get rid of bed bugs. Experts have years of training and a variety of specialized products at their disposal, so they know how to create custom treatment plans that are highly effective. They’ll also take into consideration factors like pets or small children to minimize health hazards to your family. If you want lasting peace of mind that the bed bugs are truly gone, contact a professional for help.

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