By Erika Taylor
About two years ago, my little brother brought home bedbugs most likely from his football gear – it was the worst. If you are currently going through this, don’t be alarmed! Bedbug cases are common as people travel and are in public space more often. These bugs are not known to transmit or spread disease, but they can cause issues to public health (as well as your state of mind!)
With that being said, I’ll tell you the steps I took to get rid of these bad boys:
Identify: In order to truly figure out if you have a bedbug (aka Cimex lectularius) problem, find a live one in your home. Gross, I know! Research images so that you know exactly what you are looking for. They usually hide in the seams of couches, cracks in plaster, basically any really small hiding spot. It is also best to research the physical signs of bed bugs (for example, dark spots on mattresses and pillows) so that you can do a thorough inspection of your furniture.
Prepare: Next comes the tedious part-cleaning. Start by vacuuming every inch of the room to try to get some of the lingering pests. It is best if you use a vacuum with a bag so that you can dispose of it. Toss anything you cannot thoroughly clean. Dispose of any trash in a sealed plastic bag outside of your home. Double points for scheduling a trash pickup!
Treat: It’s better to start off with methods that do not use chemicals to prevent any possible misuse. One of the most effective options is spraying down everything with rubbing alcohol. Take a spray bottle and literally spray it everywhere. Literally everywhere. (Just check a small spot first to make sure the spray does not discolor the item and make sure you open windows before you sleep in a room where you have sprayed.) Check back every 3-4 days for any signs of the little beasts. If you need additional treatment, it is best to contact local professionals.
Prevent: In order to keep this from happening (or if this article made you paranoid), it is important to protect your home. Find special mattress covers that have been tested for bedbugs. When buying those cute little finds from the thrift store, check for signs of bedbug infestation before bringing them home. Remember to keep your home clutter and dirt free by vacuuming frequently and not having piles of things around.
Ed. Comment: Also check out this eHow article about using alcohol to eradicate bedbugs. And remember that bedbugs are not the only pests that can lurk in your apartment. Follow these instructions to check out your new place for five common pests before you sign a lease.
Erika graduated from Marymount University in 2015. This Beyonce-loving city girl has a thing for DIY, entertaining, and everything Italian. She currently works in Washington, DC. She will be starting her apartment-hunting journey soon, and cannot wait to share her journey.