What Are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are very small, flat-bodied insects that feed on human or animal blood. They can’t fly, yet they crawl fast over floors, walls, and ceilings. Their flat bodies help them escape notice and fit into very small areas, hitching rides on bags and clothing, and hiding in bedsheets, mattresses, and couches. They tend to hide during the day and leave their hiding spots at night to find their next blood meal. Females can lay hundreds of eggs, and growing bed bugs will shed their exoskeletons several times before fully maturing.
Although they are a nuisance, there is no evidence that bed bugs transmit disease. And if you’re faced with a bed bug infestation, know that having bed bugs in your home is not a sign of lack of hygiene, as they can be hard to kill through regular laundering and cleaning.
How to Prevent Bed Bugs
The bites, which often appear in threes and can occur on any part of the body where skin is exposed, affect people differently, varying from no visible traces left by the bite, to red spots or noticeable skin reactions. In most cases, bites aren’t painful.
If you are concerned about bed bugs, there are preventive actions you can take to avoid an infestation of your property.
- Always check any secondhand furniture or fabric brought into your home and make sure there are no traces of bed bugs by looking for small brownish stains or spots that could hint that bed bugs have been crushed.
- If you suspect bed bugs in your home, using plastic covers for your mattresses, couches, sofas, or other susceptible items can be useful to prevent bed bugs from entering them and spreading.
- Clean up clutter and reduce the amount of stored items that you don’t need. You can donate, recycle, or organize all your belongings as it can help to decrease the chances of bed bugs hiding in your place.
- Essential oils like peppermint, lemongrass, clove, lavender, rosemary, eucalyptus, and cedarwood have been proven in some studies to work as a repellent for bed bugs.
How to Use Essential Oil Sprays for Bed Bugs
Use our powerful, TSA-Approved sized-for-travel 2 oz (30ml) bed bug spray on the go. Or our 8 oz bottle for covering more area and for longer. Shake the bottle Shake + Shield Bed Bug Repellent Room & Linen Spray and use it directly on bedding, mattresses, and other areas of concern a few hours before bedtime so the spray has time to dry. Continue spraying twice daily for maintenance.
If you are traveling, spray the bed and luggage one to two times before you go to sleep. Spraying your luggage will help unwanted hitchhikers from returning to your home. For extra prevention, keep your suitcase in the hotel bathtub, where bed bugs are less likely to hide.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
If you’re experiencing a bed bug infestation in your home, you’re probably looking for solutions to eliminate these tiny insects. Eradicating bed bugs isn’t always easy, as they can live up to a year without food, and repeated treatments may be required to eliminate them successfully.
Bed Bug Home Treatments include:
- Washing bedsheets, curtains, and clothing in temperatures over 122 °F (50 °C), as bed bugs aren’t likely to survive them. Fabrics that cannot be washed at high temps or that are dry-clean only may be run through a dryer on no lower than medium heat for at least 30 minutes. Put delicate clothing in sealed plastic bags and take them to a dry cleaner for professional cleaning help.
- Frequent vacuuming of the infested areas to trap bed bugs inside the vacuum. Preferably outside your home, remove the vacuum cleaner bag and seal it inside a plastic bag, or empty a bagless vacuum cleaner into a bag and seal it up to ensure the bugs don’t escape before throwing it in the trash. Unplug your vacuum and check its hose and inside chamber to ensure bugs aren’t stuck inside.
- Encasing mattresses in plastic covers designed to deter and capture bed bugs so they won’t be able to infest your bed, bite you, or spread to other areas.
- Calling an exterminator if none of the previous methods work. Professionals can safely use chemical, heat, or freezing treatments in bedrooms.