Bed bugs present themselves as a general nuisance all over the world; in fact, they can be found in every country and on every continent except Antarctica! Bed bugs get their name through their nasty habit of feeding on human blood while we sleep in our beds, but they can be anywhere. They generally dislike the heat, so they don’t tend to linger on our skin or in our hair like lice or ticks. Instead, bed bugs like to hitch a ride from place to place on our clothing, shoes, backpacks, and luggage.
But how do you get rid of bed bugs? And how do you keep them away for good? We’ve broken down the process into 5 clear steps or “phases” of bed bug removal and prevention.
Why listen to us? As a member of the International Bed Bug Resource Authority, Dominion Pest Control offers the best in bed bug extermination services because we understand the habits and life cycle of these insects. We’ve treated more than 947 bed bug infestations, so we know what works and what doesn’t. Bed bugs have been a growing problem here in the Lancaster and York areas where we serve, and we want to help keep you safe.
Step 1: Identify Bed Bugs
Before starting any sort of treatment plan, it’s important to make sure that you know what you’re up against. See the close-up picture of a bed bug to the right or down below so you know how they look.
Bed bugs are very tiny, somewhat oval-shaped, and fairly flat. They expand in size after a blood meal, but generally speaking, they’re approximately 1/4 inch (6-7 cm), about the size of an apple seed.
Wondering how bed bugs compare in look and size to other similar insects? Ticks and fleas are both about half the size of a bed bug, although all three look somewhat similar, especially when glanced at with the naked eye. Ticks do not reproduce very quickly, so if you’re dealing with a large infestation of tiny bugs, it’s less likely to be ticks. Fleas reproduce quickly, much like bed bugs do, but fleas jump and bed bugs do not, so that’s another way to differentiate bed bugs from other bugs.
Ultimately, if you’re unsure what type of bug you’re dealing with, contact a local pest control company to get a professional opinion. If you’re in the Lancaster & York area in Pennsylvania, call us here at Dominion Pest Control at 717-393-7879.
Step 2: Prep The Area
In order to make the treatment as effective as possible, there are a few things you should do to prepare your home or your room for bed bug removal. Some of the most important things include:
- Place sheets, blankets, and other coverings from beds into a plastic airtight bag or container. Carefully transport them to your washer and dryer, and wash in hot water and dry with high heat.
- Vacuum all carpets, mattresses, and other furniture. Place the used vacuum bags in a sealed plastic bag and discard them outside in the trash receptacle.
- Do not remove furniture items (stands, chairs, pictures, etc) from any rooms that need to be treated. If you do remove furniture, make sure each piece is first wrapped tightly in plastic sheeting.
For a more comprehensive list of preparation steps, read our “Bed Bug Treatment Preparation Sheet” (available in English and Spanish).
Step 3: Treatment
You’ll need to decide if you want to attempt to rid your house of bed bugs all on your own or if you will involve a professional.
DIY may be tempting as it can seem to be the lowest-cost option at first. However, if not done properly, attempting to do the treatment yourself may require even more treatments and in the end cost just as much if not more than hiring an experienced professional.
There are also risks involved in attempting to rid your own home of these pests by yourself without professional help. Many “over-the-counter” products are only effective if they come in direct contact with the insect. However, bed bugs don’t typically surface every night, so if they are in hiding when you apply the product it will do nothing but keep them dormant until they think it’s safe to resurface. Bed bugs could survive more than half a year in hiding, all the while multiplying, causing further headaches for you. Bed bug treatments can be complicated, so trust us to assess the problem and get the job done right the first time!
Step 4: Monitor Effectiveness
Multiple treatments are often required, even when done properly by a professional. A trusted professional will advise you on exactly how many sessions and at what frequencies will be required for your specific situation, but it’s still helpful to identify a resurgence of bed bugs if that happens.
The signs to look for are the same as when the infestation began – noticing bed bugs crawling on sheets or furniture, seeing dark black stains on pillows or sheets, shed cast shells (molt shells), and egg cases (white), etc. While some of these indicators are hard to see, they are visible.
If you notice an increase in signs of re-infestation, let your pest control company know so they can do another treatment.
Step 5: Prevent Another Infestation
One of the most important things you can do to prevent re-infestation is to ensure that the treatment process was done properly. This is why we recommend getting help from a professional pest removal company such as Dominion Pest Control. One of the most common reasons for a resurgence of bed bugs after treatment occurs is that the treatment did not get into hard-to-get infested areas or not enough care was taken during the cleaning and preparation process.
For example, if you did the treatment yourself, did you treat your bed and furniture, but forgot to treat your closet? If so, the bed bugs may have scurried off to the closet in hiding, and then came back out of hiding after the treatment was finished.
Or maybe you carried infested sheets and pillowcases from to the washer without first putting them into a sealed bag, dropping bed bugs in the hallway throughout the process, giving the bed bugs more space to hide and then multiply.
It is also very common for bed bugs to hide in places that are not readily accessible such as wall voids, until they come out for their next blood meal. This is another reason to choose a professional to do the extermination for you instead of attempting it yourself.
What’s Next? Where Should I Start?
Now that you’re a bit more familiar with the bed bug treatment process, it’s time to take the first step, which is to schedule a consultation with us so we can see what you’re dealing with and develop a custom treatment plan for you.
If you’re in Lancaster County (Lititz, Lancaster city, Manheim, Ephrata, Strasburg, etc), York County (Dallastown, Red Lion, York city, Hellam, etc), Lebanon, or Hershey, we can help! Here’s a map of our location and service area:
Bed Bug Informational Video
Curious about what bed bugs are and how they multiply? Watch our video below:
Dominion Pest Control Featured on WGAL’s News Segment on Bed Bugs
“No one is immune. It’s not a rich, poor, clean or dirty type of issue.” Bed bug exterminator and Dominion Pro, Chris Komarow’s words ring true regarding the fight to eliminate bed bugs. The key to controlling bed bugs is pre-treating the areas susceptible to bed bug infestation, an offensive that not many bed bug companies are willing to take. The experts at Dominion Pest Control know how to wage war against these pesky critters and have a good track record in doing so. Check out the videos below for more information about the fight against bed bugs in our area and Dominion’s role in their extermination.