Your nightmare scenario has happened - you have a thriving bed bug infestation in your home and a professional pest control company has confirmed the diagnosis. You feel embarrassed and more than a little upset that your house has been invaded. Take a few deep breaths and turn your focus instead of preparing your home for bed bug treatment so you can put an end to the nightmare and evict your unwanted house guests once and for all.
How to Prepare for Bed Bug Treatment
Treatment day is looming so your natural reaction might be to move some of your belongings to another location while your home undergoes a clean sweep. However, you might be unknowingly spreading bed bugs in your clothing, shoes, luggage, or boxes. The bugs can hide within your belongings and when you return these items to your newly treated home the bugs will return too. To avoid this, here are some popular tips for preparing your home for treatment:
- Wash all bed linens in hot water and place them in a dryer on a high heat setting. Promptly remove the bedding from the dryer, place it in a plastic garbage bag, and seal it tight until after the treatment is complete.
- Do the same with all of your clothing, emptying out drawers and closets, and storing in plastic bags away from the home until after the treatment.
- Take down all curtains and gather pillows, stuffed animals, towels, and floormats. Place the items directly in the wash then dry on a high heat setting for at least 30 minutes before placing them into plastic bags. Anything that cannot be washed should be treated on high in the dryer for a minimum of 30 minutes and stored in plastic bags until after the treatment.
- Inspect any items in the home that cannot be washed such as pictures, books, electronics, frames, and toys and place in plastic bags or plastic storage containers. Remember, most bed bugs reside within 15 feet of the bed so you will want to pay special attention to that area of the home.
- Take everything off closet floors throughout the house including bedrooms, living rooms, bathrooms, and hallways.
- Put away all food, dishes, pots and pans, and other small kitchen items in closed cupboards, drawers or sealed storage containers.
- Move all furniture and other items 24 inches (2 feet) away from walls.
- Do NOT put smaller items on top of appliances, couches, or other furniture.
- Plants can remain in your home but should also be moved away from windows and walls.
- Remove all books from bookshelves and store them in storage containers in the middle of the room.
- Take down all mirrors, photos and wall hangings and stack them neatly in the middle of the room.
- Sweep flooring and vacuum all carpets and upholstery. Turn over or move furnishings, open futons, and sleeper sofas, and thoroughly vacuum all items. After vacuuming, promptly dispose of the vacuum’s contents into a plastic bag and immediately put it in an outdoor garbage receptacle.
- Unplug all electrical devices prior to treatment.
- Remove all pets from the premises.
It is difficult for a professional pest control company to effectively treat a cluttered house. Decluttering your home can help enormously- clean out the bottom of closets, under beds, and beneath dressers and throw away any unnecessary magazines, newspapers, and clutter where the insects can hide. Ideally, the exterminator should have access to the walls, closets, cabinets, and all areas around the home’s furnishings.
Preparing for Bed Bug Heat Treatment
Many pest extermination companies use heat treatment to effectively destroy bed bug infestations in a home. Non-heat sensitive items can be left in the home to undergo treatment, but other items must be removed:
- All pressurized and aerosol cans such as hairspray, spray paint, cleaning products, deodorants, bug sprays, inhalers, and oxygen tanks
- Medications and Asthma inhalers
- Chocolates or other foods that may melt
- Paint cans
- Candles or wax
- Lamp oil or butane
- Printer cartridges
- Vinyl records and turntables
- Oil paintings
- Musical instruments
- Fire extinguishers
- Carbonated beverages and bottles of alcohol
Preparation can differ for heat treatment so request a list of instructions prior to the treatment day to be safe.
It is imperative that you take the time to prepare prior to treatment. On the day of, you will be required to leave your home for a set period, along with your pets. Having your home treated for bed bugs is never an easy task, but it is important to eliminate the pests to prevent an even greater outbreak. Following the above steps will assist the pest control company in effectively removing these dreaded insects from the premises.