The Cimex Lectularius, most commonly known as the bed bug, is reddish-brown parasitic insects that feed on the blood of people and animals. They are small, flat and wingless. Usually, these bugs range in size from 1mm to 7mm.
Because of their size, they can crawl and hide in the tiniest of places. These insects move from place to place by traveling through clothes and suitcases of people who have stayed in a place where bugs are present. It must be noted that hygiene does not have anything to do with bed bug control.
They are called bed bugs because they mostly feed while the host is asleep. It doesn’t mean though that bed mites are confined to sleeping areas. Bed mites can also be found on couches, upholstered chairs, walls, cabinets, and any dark, protected area. When controlling an infestation of bugs, all parts of the room must be scoured.
Bed bugs have infested most parts of New York mostly hotels. The management of these hotels is using the following bed bug control measures to curb the problem.
Top bed bug control measures:
Vacuuming is a laborious task, but it works effectively on almost any surface. The vacuum cleaner is designed to remove loose debris and bed bugs from cracks and crevices. Pay particular attention to crevices and hard-to-reach areas where the insects tend to hide.
- Use the crevice tool to clean cracks and crevices in furniture, baseboard molding and where boards join on the floor.
- Use the vacuum to remove bed bugs from the mattress, baseboard, bed frame, box spring, furniture and equipment and other harborages. Carefully turn over the bed frame, box spring, and mattress and vacuum them. Pay close attention to mattress seams.
- Pay close attention to screw holes and nail holes. Use a putty knife or any crevice tool to clear screw holes.
- Vacuum wall hangings, soft furnishings, plush furniture, and cushions. Pay particular attention to the seam along the zipper and underneath buttons.
- Vacuum infested shoes, toys, electrical equipment, behind curtains, drapes and other infested surfaces.
- Vacuum bedside furniture, night table, closet, dresser, and drawers. Carefully turn over drawers and every piece of removable furniture and clean them. Pay particular attention to cracks and crevices.
Laundering, drying and storing clothes
- Wash all infested items that are not affected by moisture, in soapy water.
- After inspecting infested clothes and bedding place them into a plastic bag. Seal the plastic bag tightly before taking it to the laundry room.
- Wash and dry clothes and bedding at the thermal death point temperature (minimum 60 C).
- Mix borax with hot water and wash all bedding in the solution on a weekly basis.
- Place clothes, bedding, coat, and plush toys in the tumble dryer and set at the thermal death point temperature for a minimum of 30 minutes.
- Store clean items in a different location from infested items.
- Don’t store items underneath the bed.
- Steam press the pests out of holes. Repeat the process a few times to remove them.
- Apply light dust chemical to cracks and crevices after vacuuming.
- Use a caulk gun to seal cracks and crevices in wood and along baseboard moldings.
Caulk and seal cracks and crevices
- Caulk moldings and joints around the perimeter of the room including doors, windows, floors, and cabinet with silicone sealant to eliminate harborages.
- Seal openings around pipes and other structures that come through walls, floors, and ceilings.
- Seal all exposed areas in ceiling light fixtures and any areas in the room where bed bugs could use as access to and from a neighboring apartment. The insects can make their way into adjacent rooms through an electrical heating duct, wall voids, phone line conduits and mail chutes.
Build barriers between the bed bug and the host
- Use monitoring devices – e.g., climb up interceptors, moat traps, sticky traps, etc.
- Other techniques
- Move the bed away from the wall.
- Elevate the mattress or box spring from off the floor.
Safe disposal of items
- Seal infested items in plastic bags before removing them from the room.
- Treat infested furniture before removing it from the chamber.
- Label furniture “INFESTED WITH BED BUGS” before disposing of it.
Chemical and non-chemical treatments
Some bed bugs will remain after using prevention control measures so use a range of chemical and non-chemical treatments to eliminate them. Non-chemical treatments include diatomaceous earth, silica gel dust, lavender oil, essential oils, natural insecticide spray, steam, heat and cold treatment. Chemical treatments include insect growth regulators, fumigation, bed bug powder, liquid insecticide and dust insecticide.