How bed bugs can be killed

Bed bugs are bloodsuckers. They specialize in living close to us and biting us at night to get at our blood. Also known as house bugs and belonging to the flat bug family, these animals are drawn to the warmth and vapors that are released while we sleep. As a result, they can always be found close to where we sleep, i.e. in and near our beds. Hence the name. Your nightly bites can cause nasty allergic reactions and inflammation. Combat is therefore essential.

Fighting bed bugs - a challenge

Anyone who has caught bed bugs in their home actually has a big problem. Getting rid of the little beasts is far from easy. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Grandma's home remedies definitely don't work either. Most of the time there is no getting around hiring a professional pest controller. It takes a lot of specialist knowledge about the way of life and behavior of animals in order to kill them successfully and permanently. In addition, many animals no longer respond to certain insecticides. There has long been a certain getting used to it. And because we're on the subject: Without the use of chemicals, you usually can't get rid of bed bugs. Even then, by the way, the exterminator may have to repeat his measures once or twice. However, all of this does not mean that as a person affected you cannot do anything. The opposite is much more the case.

Recognize bed bugs

Before you can start fighting bed bugs, you first have to find out whether they are bed bugs or other parasites at all. The differentiation is sometimes not that easy. The first signs of a bed bug infestation are usually itchy, reddened areas on the body. They come from the bites of the bedbugs. Of course, other pests can also cause this.

Tip: If there are bites or redness on the body in a more or less straight line, the probability that you are dealing with bed bugs is very high. The animals wander straight on the surface of the body and bite into the skin until they have found a fine blood vein.

In addition to the bites on the body, there are a number of other indications that suggest a bed bug infestation. These include:
  • Inexplicable, very small traces of feces (black or dark red spots) in the apartment and especially in the bedroom
  • Dead animals reminiscent of cockroaches and nymph skins, especially under the bed
  • A disgusting, sweet smell that also mainly spreads in the bedroom
  • Bed bug eggs (about one millimeter long, transparent, creamy-white)
In addition, sooner or later you will come across live animals. These are very small, brown insects with an oval body. As long as they haven't sucked blood, they are relatively flat. After sucking, the body volume increases significantly and takes on a somewhat spherical shape. Among other things, bed bugs can be recognized by the fact that they travel extremely quickly. Not only do you move horizontally, but you can also effortlessly climb up walls and cupboards.

Tip: Adhesive tape placed under and around the bed can help identify bed bug infestations. The animals stick to it and are easier to identify.

First measures

If you are sure that there is a bed bug infestation, you should take measures as soon as possible to at least limit the problem first. As I said, trying to eradicate the insects in your home yourself is a very difficult undertaking. Without an exterminator, this usually doesn't work. However, you can make life much more difficult for them and thus prevent further spread. These measures include:
  • Thoroughly tidy up in order to prevent the animals from hiding in the apartment
  • Vacuum thoroughly down to the smallest corner and edge in order to remove animals and their eggs. The vacuum cleaner must then be emptied immediately.
  • Wash all clothes in the wardrobe at a minimum temperature of 50 degrees Celsius, even if they should be clean. It is best to store clothes in lockable plastic boxes or bags.
  • Treat mattresses, furniture, upholstery, carpets, curtains and cuddly toys with a steam cleaner (minimum temperature 65 degrees).
  • Seal holes and cracks in the walls as bed bugs use sleeping spaces.
  • Move the bed away from the wall and put in a so-called bed bug barrier by smearing petroleum jelly on the legs of the bed or wrapping it with double-sided tape.
  • Attach a bed bug cover to the mattress to prevent the animals from nesting in the mattress.

Actively fight the population

In order to get the problems that arise in connection with a bed bug infestation under control, the measures described above are not sufficient. They only have a supportive and preventive effect. You can only get rid of the bed bugs in the apartment if you actively control them and exterminate the existing population. Background: A female bed bug lays around twelve eggs a day. In its fortunately short life it comes to around 200 eggs. This means that the animals can multiply rapidly. If you don't fight them, the infestation will get bigger and bigger. Combat must be aggressive and comprehensive. It is not just about hatched or adult animals, but also about their clutch. This does not work without chemical additives such as insecticides or pesticides.

In specialist shops (hardware store, garden center) there are bed bug and vermin sprays for between seven and 15 euros, which can be used to kill bed bugs and their eggs. However, you can only get rid of the pests if you really reach every conceivable nesting and sleeping place with it. This is hardly possible for a layperson. In any case, it is definitely not enough to just spray live animals that you kind of run into. In addition, depending on their composition, these agents can cause health problems in closed rooms. Biological pesticides usually do not destroy a bed bug population, but only drive them away - usually from one room in the apartment to the next. When fighting bed bugs, you should always be aware that bed bugs are true survivors and that individual animals are not important.

Diatomaceous earth can be an alternative to sprays. The powder destroys the shell of the bed bugs, they dry out and die. It has to be scattered in every conceivable hiding place and on the paths that the insects usually take. That alone makes it clear where the problems lie. Diatomaceous earth works and is also environmentally friendly, but it can hardly destroy an entire population. In addition, kieselguhr should not be inhaled by humans or pets, as this could lead to respiratory diseases.

Professional pest control

Even if some people may not like to hear it very much - as a rule, and especially in the case of a more severe infestation, only professional pest control will help. So there is no getting around the exterminator. He will usually use a so-called combination process. Different chemical control agents are combined, for example, with heat or water vapor. The aim is always to permanently exterminate the entire population of bed bugs in the apartment, i.e. eggs, nymphs and adult animals. Several appointments are sometimes necessary for this. How exactly a pest controller works differs from provider to provider. The costs for this depend on the one hand on the selected methods and on the other hand on the effort.

For example, how strong the infestation is or how many rooms are affected also play a role. A few hundred euros can come together quickly. That hurts, but in the vast majority of cases it leads to a sensible solution. And that can only be to get rid of the uninvited intruders in bed and apartment permanently, sustainably and safely. After all, no sensible person wants to live with such nasty bloodsuckers.