Bedbugs spread by stowing away in clothing, baggage and other belongings, hitching rides to your home when you return from the shops, the office or school.
Don’t think that having a clean home makes you immune from bedbugs – they are equally happy in clean and dirty homes, and have even been found in brand-new mattresses.
Here are 10 tips to get rid of bedbugs:
- Clean the bedbugs’ hiding places: wash bedding, curtains and clothing on the hottest wash possible, and dry them on high in the tumble dryer for at least 30 minutes.
- Anything that can’t be washed, like shoes or stuffed animals, should be put into a pillowcase and tumble-dried on high for at least 30 minutes.
- Dry-scrub the affected mattress with a stiff brush, working into the seams to remove the bugs and their eggs.
- Check the base set, lifting up the fabric cover to check that bugs are not living within the wooden frame.
- Vacuum the mattress, base set and carpet thoroughly. Discard the vacuum-cleaner contents in a sealed bag in your outside rubbish bin.
- Inspect the rest of the affected room carefully. Bedbugs have been known to set up home in and under bedside tables, in bedside lamps, under rugs and in plug outlets. They may also have spread to your cupboards.
- Encase mattresses in a bedbug cover, such as the BugLock® Plus Mattress Encasement from Protect-A-Bed®, to kill any bugs within the mattress and prevent future infestations. The BugLock® Plus Mattress Encasement uses a patented three-sided zipper system to completely encase the mattress in an impenetrable barrier that ensures current bugs cannot leave the mattress to feed, and new bedbugs can’t enter the mattress to breed. A mattress-encasement cover should be left on for at least a year after an infestation to ensure any lingering insects are dead, since bedbugs can survive for several months without feeding.
- Repair any cracks in the walls and fill gaps around skirting boards to minimise the places where bedbugs can hide. For the same reason, remove clutter scattered about the room, especially under the bed.
- Total eradication of bedbugs usually requires treatment with an insecticide. If going the DIY route, only use products made specifically for the extermination of bedbugs, or for use on bedding and mattresses. Always follow the safety instructions carefully.
- If DIY measures don’t do the trick, contact a pest-control company to rid your home of the scourge.
For more information on the BugLock® Plus Mattress Encasement or to see other products in the Protect-A-Bed® range, visit www.protectabed.co.za/products. The site will also direct you to where you can buy Protect-A-Bed® products.