It doesn’t matter where you live or who you voted for, there’s one thing we can all agree on: the Toronto bed bug situation sucks, and it’s getting out of control.
Bed bugs are unpleasant. Nobody needs to tell you that. But you may not realize just how unpleasant until you’ve come face-to-face with this flat foe in your own home.
These tiny bloodsuckers are extremely hardy and can make life a living pit of despair and desperation for anyone suffering through an infestation. But before you call pest control for bed bugs, there may be something you can do at home.
Here are the four top ways of dealing with a bed bug infestation in Toronto.
1: Identify the Problem
You can’t defeat the enemy until you see the whites of his eyes, according to the old saying. The first step to coping with an infestation is to make sure that you’ve got the right pest.
Bed bugs are tiny, so it can be difficult to spot them. These small, oval insects are brown most of the time, but once they’ve fed on human blood they become engorged, swollen, and red.
Don’t worry, they can’t fly, but they do run quickly and can walk up walls and across the ceilings.
Aside from seeing the bugs themselves, you can look for a few specific clues that you’ve got an infestation:
- The first is bites. Don’t assume that any mark is a bite, or that any bite is a bed bug bite. These are small red welts that are usually itchy and appear in groups. Common areas are the legs and feet, back or chest, and face.
It’s possible that you may be bitten many times without ever seeing an actual bug. But if you have bites at night with red itchy welts, you may want to look for other evidence.
- The second clue is blood stains or red marks on the sheets. Because bed bugs feast on human flesh, they’re in a bit of a dangerous position. They’re literally next to a sleeping giant.
When they’re engorged on your blood, they’re in a vulnerable state. While the waddle back to their hiding places, you may accidentally squish one, leaving your blood staining your own sheets.
- The third clue is feces. Like any other creature, what goes in must come out. Bed bugs leave behind dark or black stains on mattresses and fabrics. If you find these markings, it’s a bad sign. Chances are, bed bugs are there.
2: Try and identify where the bugs are coming from – and control it
This one is tricky. You could have picked up bed bugs from used furniture, or they could have attached themselves to you at the movie theatre. But if you’re in an apartment building, it’s possible that they came in through a neighboring unit.
You’ll want to notify your landlord immediately, so that they can participate in the treatment and let surrounding units know to get inspected as well.
3: Begin Treatment
Prepare yourself, because this may be a long, hard slog. Bed bugs can live on virtually anything. Everything that you remove from the room will need to be placed in sealed plastic bags and treated.
Bed bugs can live for more than a year in some cases, so don’t wait for the bugs to die on their own.
You’re going to have to clean everything. Linens, curtains, and clothing have to be washed in hot water and placed in a dryer at the highest setting. Anything that can’t be washed, like shoes, still need to be placed in the dryer for at least 30 minutes on high heat.
Your mattress is another point of vulnerability. You can try to clean it with a stiff brush along the seams. You want to remove the bugs and their eggs. Vacuum after, but be careful to clean your vacuum outside so you can’t contaminate other areas.
You can also use steam cleaning. Bed bugs are vulnerable to heat above 50 degrees centigrade, and most steam cleaners are capable of surpassing this. Try to use dry steam or low vapor steamers to leave behind as little moisture as possible. You’ll need to be very careful and thorough as the steam will only kill bed bugs on contact.
You can also place small items in the freezer for more than 4 days at a consistent temperature of -19 degrees. Brrrr.
Unfortunately, anything that you can’t heat, freeze, or steam may need to be thrown out.
4: Stay Proactive
Bed bugs are tenacious. You can help protect your newly cleaned mattress by encasing it in a tightly woven, zippered cover. This can help prevent bugs from entering or escaping. You’ll need to leave this on for a long time, as bed bugs can live for more than a year without food.
Another important step is regularly vacuuming. But be careful as cloth bag vacuums can themselves become infested. Carefully vacuum your mattress, box spring, bed frame, and furniture regularly. Once finished, wash the vacuum in hot water and detergent and make sure you empty the canister or bag into a plastic garbage bag that you can dispose of right away.
5: Give Yourself a Break
A bed bug infestation can be traumatic. Too many Canadians already ignore their mental and emotional health as they cope with more pressing day-to-day issues. But the long-term effects of struggling with a bed bug infestation can be severe.
First, there’s the guilt. There’s a strong stigma associated with bed bugs. Many people might assume that only poor or dirty people can be troubled with them.
But this simply isn’t true. Anyone can get bed bugs. Even the most expensive, fanciest five-star hotels struggle. These pests don’t discriminate. Even the Ritz-Carlton in New York City, once of the fanciest hotels there, has had bed bugs in the last few years.
So, put any guilt you may be feeling aside, as well as any feelings of shame. Instead, focus on your own mental health. It’s crucial to continue getting good quality sleep. Anxiety and poor sleep can lead to depression and anguish.
Bed bugs can haunt us, but the good news is that it does get better. If dealing with the issue on your own isn’t improving your situation, you may need to look for qualified bed bug exterminators in Toronto.
Our trained professionals have all the tools and equipment necessary to combat and defeat these frustrating invaders. Call us today at 647-708-7378 or get in touch online. For many, this peace of mind is worth any price.