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Bed Bug Treatment

1. How to treat bed bug bites

When treating bed bug bites, it’s crucial to wash the affected area with water and mild soap, leaving the soap on to aid in itch relief and prevent secondary skin infections. 

The three things to know about treating bed bug bites are:

  1. Bites will go away in one to two weeks’ time with proper healing practices.
  2. You can use OTC pain relievers to relieve swelling, pain, and itching.
  3. You may apply creams containing hydrocortisone to relieve itching and burning.

Other treatment options include following manufacturer’s instructions for anti-itch creams, applying calamine lotion for itch relief and skin protection, taking OTC pain relievers or oral antihistamines with doctor’s approval, and avoiding scratching to expedite healing. Most bed bug bites can be treated at home, but consult a medical professional if symptoms persist or worsen. Additionally, seek the assistance of a bed bug exterminator to eliminate the infestation causing the bites.

2. What helps bed bug bites?

Bed bug bites are notoriously itchy. If you don’t have any anti-itch cream at home, there are several other methods to try. At-home remedies that help bed bug bites include:

  • Witch hazel
  • Aloe vera gel
  • Toothpaste
  • Baking soda & water
  • Lemon juice

When it comes to medication, over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen can help reduce swelling and pain, while antihistamines such as Benadryl can address swelling. 

It’s important to consult a medical professional before taking any medications. For natural remedies, applying lemon juice or witch hazel with a cotton ball, using pure aloe vera gel, creating a paste with baking soda and water, or using toothpaste with menthol can provide relief. If over-the-counter and at-home treatments do not heal the bites, it’s advisable to seek medical attention, especially if there are welts, allergic reactions, or signs of secondary skin infections. Contact your doctor promptly if you experience any unusual symptoms or reactions to bed bug bites.


3. How to get rid of bed bugs in Knoxville

Bed bug treatments offered by exterminators include:
  • Heat treatment
  • Steam treatment
  • Bed bug insecticides
  • Fumigation
Heat treatment is considered the most effective solution, as it is chemical-free, non-toxic, and kills bed bugs at all life stages. It allows for continued use of infested furniture and mattresses, and usually does not require follow-up treatments. Insecticides are used for smaller infestations, targeting specific areas where bed bugs are found, but may need follow-up treatments. Steam treatment is effective in reaching deep hiding spots and is chemical-free. Fumigation, while highly effective, involves chemical exposure and significant disruption to the property.

4. Does baking soda kill bed bugs?

While some people may attempt to use baking soda as a home remedy for bed bugs, its effectiveness is not guaranteed. The method involves sprinkling baking soda around areas where bed bugs typically hide and vacuuming it up after a few days, but it may not eliminate the infestation entirely. Baking soda is believed to dehydrate bed bugs by absorbing their fluids or causing internal bleeding, but it is unlikely to eradicate a full-blown infestation. 

Other at-home remedies such as talcum powder, mothballs, rubbing alcohol, tea tree oil, diatomaceous earth, and ultrasonic devices also have varying degrees of success but may not eliminate the infestation completely. Professional bed bug treatment is typically necessary to effectively eradicate bed bugs, as they can hide in tiny cracks and crevices, including eggs and nymphs.

5. Do it yourself bed bug treatment

The following DIY bed bug control methods may work to varying degrees of success:

  • Washing linens
  • Vacuuming
  • Freezing
  • Baking soda
  • Dryer sheets & mothballs
  • Diatomaceous earth

While these methods may have varying degrees of success, it is recommended to seek professional treatment for a bed bug infestation. However, there are steps you can take to minimize the severity of the infestation, such as washing bedding at high temperatures, thorough vacuuming, and freezing infested items for at least four days. 

All-natural treatments may provide some help but are generally insufficient for controlling a full-blown infestation.

6. Does washing bedding and clothing in high heat kill bed bugs?

To eliminate bed bugs from bedding and clothing, follow these steps:

  1. Remove all linens and sort them along with any clothes that need to be washed.
  2. Place each sorted pile into plastic bags and transfer them to the washing machine.
  3. Use your regular detergent and set the washing machine to a high temperature (at least 140°F) for at least 90 minutes.
  4. Quickly transfer the washed clothes to the dryer and dry them on high heat for at least 30 minutes.

Running clothes and bedding through a hot water wash is an effective way to control the spread of bed bugs. It’s important to sort the items and seal them in plastic bags to prevent spreading the bed bugs to other areas. Extreme temperatures, whether hot or cold, can kill bed bugs and their eggs. While washing and drying infested linens helps, it may not be possible to use this method for all infested items or areas of the home.

7. Do I have to throw out food after a bed bug infestation?

Contrary to popular belief, bed bugs almost never infest:

  • Food items
  • Electronics
  • Clothing
  • Pets

They solely feed on human or animal blood and do not eat human food. Therefore, there is no need to worry about bed bugs infesting your pantry or consuming your food. Bed bug infestations rarely require throwing out items, and professional treatments can effectively eliminate them without causing significant disruption. 

Bed bugs can survive for an extended period without a blood meal, but they will not feed on other food sources. It is advisable to seek professional treatment as soon as possible to prevent further infestation and avoid the need to discard multiple items unnecessarily.

8. Do I have to throw out my bed bug infested mattress?

When dealing with a bed bug infestation, there’s no need to immediately discard your mattress or bedding. Instead, follow these steps:

  1. Take all bedding off and wash thoroughly in hot water.
  2. Keep the mattress and box spring where they are. Moving or removing them can spread bed bugs.
  3. Call a bed bug exterminator to treat it with heat, steam, or another treatment option.
  4. Special protective encasement sheets can be placed on the mattress as well. Most exterminators will have these available. 

It’s important to treat the entire property before replacing any items, as bed bugs can be found in various areas, not just the bed. Washing bedding in hot water is usually sufficient to kill bed bugs and their eggs, so throwing away bedding or other items is unnecessary. Infested furniture should be treated before removal. Bed bugs can hide in cracks and crevices, including wooden furniture, so it’s best to leave infested items in place until professional treatment is completed.

9. How do you get rid of bed bugs in your carpet?

To effectively eliminate bed bugs from your carpet, follow these steps:

  1. Only use a vacuum that has a bag able to seal the bugs properly.
  2. Spread diatomaceous earth on the carpet you will vacuum.
  3. Thoroughly vacuum, going over the areas at least two or three times.
  4. To be safe, repeat steps 1-3 as much as you wish.
  5. Remove the vacuum cleaner bag outside if possible. Seal properly.
  6. Consider cleaning the rug or carpet with shampoo or a steam-clean.

Bed bugs can infest carpets, but they typically stay close to the surface, making them easier to remove. If you have a significant bed bug problem, it’s important to contact a professional exterminator for assistance. 

Differentiating between bed bugs and carpet beetles is crucial, as they can be mistaken for one another. Contacting a local exterminator can help you correctly identify the bugs. After professional bed bug treatment, it’s recommended to have your carpets or rugs professionally cleaned or steamed to provide further assurance and eliminate any remaining bed bugs in all life stages.

10. How do I prepare for bed bug treatment in Knoxville?

Before a professional bed bug treatment, you may be asked to:

  • Make preparations to leave your property for several hours, and to take your pets with you.
  • Possibly tidy up your place and reduce the amount of clutter in your property.
  • Strip all bed linens from mattresses and box springs, and wash them in hot water.

The amount of preparation required for bed bug heat treatment varies depending on the type of treatment, but common tasks include removing linens, storing personal items, emptying closets and drawers, laundering clothing, and moving furniture away from walls. 

After the treatment, you can typically return to your property within a few hours, but it’s important to follow any specific instructions provided by the exterminator. Avoid shampooing or conditioning floors for a few weeks, and do not replace bedding immediately. If you notice any signs of bed bugs after the treatment, contact your exterminator for further assistance. In most cases, a professional bed bug treatment plan should effectively eliminate the infestation, which may include, additional inspections and treatments depending on the infestation level.