There are many good reasons to go the natural route in anything you can get away with. It’s generally healthier, cleaner, and sometimes even more cost-effective than synthetically enhanced alternatives. But whether or not your fruit punch is preservative free, you have at least one good reason to opt for a natural bed bug treatment: bed bugs are immune to most over-the-counter insecticides.
If you want to get rid of bed bugs without fussing with synthetic chemicals, give this natural bed bug treatment a shot:
1. Encase Your Mattress
Bed bugs are most commonly found on or near (you guessed it) your bed. To keep these pests from eating you up at night, you’ll need to encase your mattress and eliminate their hiding places. Begin by removing your sheets, blankets, and pillowcases; seal those in garbage bags and take them directly to the washing machine.
While your bedding is being washed and dried on high heat settings (if possible), give your mattress, and box spring a thorough vacuuming to remove bed bugs and their eggs from the seams and cracks that they like to hang out in. A HEPA vacuum works best in this step, as its sealed filter prevents bed bugs escaping and setting up camp somewhere else in your home.
Before you put your bed back together, seal your mattress (and preferably your box spring and pillows as well) in certified bed bug-proof encasements. This will stop bed bugs from hiding in your bed, and kill any bed bugs that are already present (as long as you leave the encasements on for at least 18 months).
2. Use a Steam Cleaner
Securing your bed is only the first step – you have to eliminate the infestation elsewhere in your home. Bed bugs are highly susceptible to heat exposure, which makes steam treatments ideal. Use a bed bug steamer (capable of at least 180-degree steam) to treat sofas, chairs, mattresses, cabinets, walls, and just about anything else in a room. A steamer can also be used on carpets and baseboards; pay special attention to any cracks and crevices in your flooring.
When applying steam, move slowly and steadily. Bed bugs and their eggs will be killed on contact as long as you don’t move the nozzle faster than about one inch per second. If the tank runs out of water, let the steamer cool off for a little while before starting up again.
3. Heat-Treat Your Belongings
Bed bugs can hide almost anywhere a credit card can fit. That means they could be camping out in your clothes, shoes, books, and just about any other personal belongings you have in your home. Since you obviously wouldn’t want to run a steamer through all of your things, you’ll want to use other approaches to treating them.
Start by drying your clothes on the highest heat settings possible. Items that can’t be thrown in the laundry can be treated with a portable heater, such as a PackTite. These heaters can safely heat up your shoes, books, CDs, and dry clean-only clothes above 120 degrees, which is proven to kill bed bugs of all life stages.
4. Apply Residual Powder
Now that you’ve thoroughly decimated the bed bug populace in your home, you’re ready to establish a long-term defense. A great natural solution is diatomaceous earth, a residual powder that dehydrates bed bugs by clinging to their shell. DE powders, like JT Eaton’s offering, will work indefinitely as long as it remains dry, so use it in places that won’t be exposed to moisture.
Use an applicator to apply the powder inside the walls, behind appliances, inside electrical outlets (not where you put the plug), and behind picture frames. If your floors or furniture have any deep cracks, stick some powder in there as well.
Regardless of the route you take, natural or synthetic, you need to be thorough and follow the instructions included with your products carefully. An improper eradication not only risks surviving bed bugs, but your health and safety as well.