We have had bed bugs around for centuries. The Romans dealt with them, the Egyptians had them, and we have never gotten totally rid of them. They are a parasite that doesn’t seem to want to die. We have histories that record them in Italy, Germany and China. Today, they are found on every continent except Antarctica. Why don’t home remedies work on bed bugs? We are the bed bugs only source of food. So they have adapted to us by using effective hiding places, being fairly quick and traveling on our clothing.
Bed bugs are believed to have first made contact with us back when we still lived in caves. Bats, carrying bat bugs, or blood sucking parasites, hung from the ceiling of these caves. As ancient cavemen slept, some of these bugs fell and crawled down to find us, a new delicacy for their blood thirst.
WHAT ARE BED BUGS?
Bed bugs, or cimex lectularius, are small, apple seed shaped insects that feed off of human blood. They can feed off of other mammals, but only do so in extreme situations. They prefer to bite people at night while they sleep. Their bite is painless, but leaves welts much like mosquito bites in their wake. They do not care if your home is clean or dirty, large or small, cheap or expensive. They simply want to feed off of your blood.
These insects use incomplete metamorphosis. This means that they lay eggs, and then nymphs emerge. These nymphs are smaller versions of the adult that will go through five molts, or shedding of skin, before adulthood. They will need to feed before each molt, and before laying eggs. These insects can go up to a full year without feeding.
DIFFICULTIES ELIMINATING BED BUGS
There are many problems associated with killing bed bugs. The first is that they have adapted well to our society. They are small and hide extremely well. They can go long times without feeding. They inject a bit of their saliva when they bite that keeps the blood from clotting, and their host from realizing that they are being bitten. They can sense the carbon dioxide that we exhale in order to find us.
Bed bugs, as their name implies, live in our beds. This means that whatever pesticides that we try to use, they must also not hurt us. Humans are very vulnerable when in their beds. The most skin is usually exposed during sleep. We are unconscious. There are also lots of places to hide in our mattresses. Because of overuse of pesticides, many bed bugs have developed an immunity against some pesticides.
ESSENTIAL OILS AND MOTH BALLS
Many people swear that plant based oils such as essential oil repels bed bugs. There are no studies that prove this what so ever. I can tell you that from my experience, bed bugs are unfazed by these scents and oils. Even peppermint and thyme, both oils used extensively in environment friendly pesticides, are ineffective against bed bugs.
Moth balls have also been promoted as a natural repellant. Some even say that it can kill bed bugs. Nothing could be further from the truth. In one study, researchers placed eggs, nymphs and adults in separate bags with two different kinds of moth balls. After a week, less than fifty percent of the adults were killed, and the moth balls had no effect on the eggs or nymphs.
VACUUMING AND DRYER SHEETS
Vacuuming is one of the few things on this list that does help. Vacuuming will kill adult and nymph bugs. It will also pick up eggs, even when they are stuck down. In fact, most Oklahoma exterminators recommend that their customers vacuum often when treating for bed bugs.
Dryer sheets, on the other hand, do nothing to help stop an infestation by these bugs. This solution has been heavily lauded by the internet, but no feasible proof of this claim can be found. You will find that your Tulsa pest control company will work much better.
Many people believe that you can out smart bed bugs by changing where you sleep. Bed bugs are smarter than this. They can sense the carbon dioxide that you emit when you sleep, and are attracted to it. They are also fairly fast movers. They can cover between two and three feet a minute. While this is not a marathon track record, it does mean that they could cross your entire home in one evening. More than enough time to find your new sleeping place and get a quick midnight snack.
Mattress encasements are a great way to slow the growth of your insect problem. Mattress encasements are sealable covers, usually made out of a polyester or other man made fabric, for your mattress, box springs and pillows. The fabric has a tight weave that the bed bugs can’t get through. That means that bugs are caught inside the cover, and the ones outside have far fewer hiding places.
THE WASHER AND DRYER
Running clothing through the washer and dryer are a great way to kill bed bugs. These insects can not survive temperatures above 120 degrees. The high heat cycle on the dryer is more than enough to cook their goose!
RUBBING ALCOHOL AND HOUSE HOLD CLEANERS
Neither of these has been proven to even deter bed bugs. These tests were conducted by spraying them over live bugs. No bugs were hurt in these tests, much less died.
OVER THE COUNTER PESTICIDES
Unfortunately, pesticides have been overused against bed bugs. Because of this, they have developed an immunity to many pesticides. The most used family of pesticides that they have grown accustom to are called pyrethroids. These insecticides are derived from certain flowers such as chrysanthemums. After being thoroughly over used by exterminators, over the counter solutions almost always use these chemicals, but to no avail.