When you discover bed bugs in your home, it can be very unsettling. You will want to have your home treated right away to get rid of these pests. You will want to determine the size of your infestation, and you will likely need more than one treatment to eliminate these pests. You can either call for professional exterminators to come into your home, or you can choose to treat it yourself. Either way, you will need to be patient to get rid of bed bugs. Read on to learn how to get rid of bed bugs and to answer the question, “How long after bed bug treatment can I return home?”
The Bed Bug Life Cycle
The problem with bed bugs is that they can reproduce quickly. If you only have a few bed bugs, you might only notice bites a few times a week. However, female bed bugs lay as many as 10 eggs a day, so the number of bed bugs can increase quickly. The larva is born, and it goes through five stages, during which it must feed on human blood to advance to the next stage. By the time you notice the bed bugs, you could have a full infestation.
Do You Need to Treat Your Home More Than Once?
Bed bugs are very good at hiding all day. They are nocturnal, so they only come out to feed at night while you are sleeping. They will find spots in the folds of your mattress or the frame of your bed. In addition, they are difficult to kill, and no pesticide is 100% effective at killing them. You will have bed bugs at all stages of the life cycle, and you will need to do the treatment more than once to make sure that they are gone. There may be some unhatched eggs when you do the first treatment, and you may need anywhere from one to three more treatments to get rid of them.
Heat Treating for Bed Bugs
One type of treatment for bed bugs is called heat treatment. A pest management professional will bring in equipment that will raise the temperature in your home to kill the bed bugs and their eggs. Once they heat the room to 118 degrees Fahrenheit, the bed bugs and eggs will die within 90 minutes. If the room is heated to 122 degrees Fahrenheit, they will die immediately. During this treatment, the air temperature is usually between 135 and 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
The heat treatment takes between six and eight hours. You need to remove pets, children, and anything that can be damaged when this extreme heat is applied. While this treatment will kill the existing bed bugs and eggs, it will not prevent another infestation. Once the treatment is finished, you may want to discuss future prevention with your pest management professional.
You can return to the home between six and eight hours after the treatment begins. Your pest management professional will be able to tell you when it is safe. Once you return, you can vacuum and clean thoroughly. There are no conditions following the treatment, so your goal is to clean out the dead bed bugs, and you may want to spray around the border of the room to prevent future infestations.
Pesticide Treatment for Bed Bugs
When you have your home treated with pesticides, it is a lengthier process. It is common to do this treatment over two to three visits from your pest management professional. They will use pesticides from three categories, including the following:
- Fast-acting contact insecticide
- Residual insecticide
- Dust insecticide
The contact insecticide will be sprayed on surfaces. The residual insecticide is placed inside furniture, and under furniture. The dust is sprinkled in cracks and near baseboards and other spots where these pests can hide. The treatment should take between 30 minutes and two hours for each room, and you can return home after the insecticide has dried. Normally, this will be after about four hours, but you may need to wait as long as 24 hours.
Cleaning After Treatment
If you use the heat treatment, you can clean right away unless you have sprayed residual insecticide as a preventative. If you have had an insecticide treatment, you should not shampoo or steam anything in your home for 30 days. You can vacuum, and you can clean all of the horizontal surfaces. Use soap and warm water.
You can wash your bedding, pillows, stuffed animals, cushions, and any other items that can go in the washing machine. You should use bleach or color safe bleach, and wash it on the highest temperature you can. When you place these items in the dryer, use the highest heat setting, and dry them for two hours. If you have items that cannot go in the washing machine, you can still place them in the dryer for two hours. The heat will kill any leftover bed bugs.
If you use insecticides, it is very likely that you will need to repeat the treatment two or three times. Your pest management professional will set a schedule with you, but it will likely be two or three weeks later. It is also important to note that you should sleep in your room. Bed bugs can live from six months to a year without feeding, and they are going to be drawn out by a human.
Bed bugs can sense when you are there because they detect the carbon dioxide when you exhale. If any were hiding and didn’t get killed by the insecticide, or if eggs haven’t hatched yet, you will draw them out. As soon as you notice the bites, it is time to call your pest management professional to come back. You need to be patient, and you will be able to get rid of these pests once and for all. The heat treatment is ideal for killing all of the bed bugs that are in your home, but you will need residual insecticide as a preventative.