Anyone who has ever had a bed bug infestation can tell you how difficult these persistent pests are to kill. Through their incredible resilience and ability to go undetected, it can seem nearly impossible to get every last bug out of your home. The problem is, there is no cure-all treatment for bed bugs, and many homeowners get frustrated after seeing their first attempts fall short of success.
The good news is that with a proper understanding of how these pests survive and thrive in your home, and why some treatments fail, you can greatly increase your chances of a successful extermination. If you have tried to eliminate these bugs from your home, but they just don’t seem to go away for good, you may be committing one of the following cardinal mistakes.
You didn’t kill all the bed bugs
Bed bugs are experts at going undetected. They can climb walls, hide in small cracks, and sneak from one room to the next with ease. That means that even if you do find them in one area of your home, chances are there are more hiding in other rooms as well.
The reason why many homeowners lose the battle is they only treat the items where they initially found bed bugs. They may have eliminated the pests from their mattress, but the remaining bugs hiding throughout the house will soon reproduce and lead to a new infestation. To ensure a successful treatment, you must eliminate any hidden pests that survive the first round.
Once you have completed the initial treatment, perform a thorough inspection of each room for signs of surviving bed bugs. Don’t just focus on common problem areas like beds and couches; be sure to check any locations where bed bugs may be hiding. This includes between floor boards, behind hanging clocks, and even in your dresser.
You used the wrong treatment
One of the key reasons why bed bugs have become such an epidemic in recent years is their incredible ability to adapt and survive. As exterminators and homeowners continue to use pesticides to get rid of them, they are beginning to adapt their genetic makeup to become resistant to these deadly chemicals. If you have used a pesticide to treat an infestation and the bugs were not affected, you could be dealing with pesticide-resistant bed bugs.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to know which chemical treatments your specific infestation is resistant to, so using alternative methods or contacting a professional are your best bets to keeping a bedbug-free home.
You weren’t persistent enough
Treating bed bugs is a war, not a battle. If you think a single home remedy will get rid of your infestation, you are in for a rude awakening. Even the most effective treatments used by pest control professionals are not foolproof and often require multiple applications to ensure their success. One reason accounting for bed bugs’ incredible resilience is their unique ability to inbreed. Even if you kill 99% of the bugs in your home, the few that remain can quickly reproduce and lead to a new infestation.
The key to treating bed bugs is persistence, and you should expect to be fighting them for weeks or even months.
You didn’t apply preventive measures
The final step to treating bed bugs is the most important of all: prevention. No matter how thorough your extermination was, if you don’t take the necessary precautions to keep them out, a new infestation is likely to occur. There are a number of simple prevention tips you can perform each day, such as de-cluttering your home to remove hiding places, placing traps near high-traffic areas, and using bedbug-resistant mattress encasements.
Be sure to incorporate a variety of preventive treatments to give yourself the greatest chance to nip future infestations in the bud.
Also, be aware of activities that are known to bring them into your home. Bed bugs are great at attaching themselves to clothing and luggage in order to get a free ride back to your home. If you travel a lot, frequent public
transportation, or have a friend with a bed bug problem in their home, be sure to check your clothes for bed bugs before returning home. The extra few moments you take to prevent these bugs each day could be the difference between pest-free bliss and a costly infestation.
When dealing with bed bugs, it’s better to overestimate your enemy than hope a lone home remedy will do the trick. Treating these bugs is a long process that will likely involve multiple attempts at eliminating them from your home. The best defense you can use is to actively inspect each of your rooms and remove any traces of their presence as you come across them. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact your local pest control professional so you can sleep easy once again.
Daniel Mackie, co-owner of Greenleaf Pest Control, is a Toronto pest control expert well-known as an industry go-to guy, an innovator of safe, effective pest control solutions, and is a regular guest on HGTV. Mackie, along with business partner Sandy Costa, were the first pest control professionals in Canada to use detection dogs and thermal remediation for the successful eradication of bed bugs. In his free time, he is an avid gardener.