Preparing for Bedbug Elimination
Identification is important and should be done at the first sign of a problem since infestations can grow quickly and bed bugs can resemble other insects. Bring your specimen to the Eisenhower Park Greenhouse on Hempstead Tpke in East Meadow (Phone # 516.228.0426); the diagnostic lab at Cooperative extension.
- Do not throw away mattresses, box springs or any other sleeping surfaces (sleeping bags, air mattresses, etc.) Encasements for mattresses and box springs can be bought at various retail department stores or on online. Encasements must remain on the mattresses and box springs, always.
- Isolate sleeping area. Move beds at least 18” away from the wall. You can apply petroleum jelly (“Vaseline”) or double-sided carpet tape to bed frame legs. Make sure you tuck in sheets and blankets so that they don’t touch the floor.
- For laundry/dryer treatment, make sure to include bedding, linens, dust ruffles, clothes, drapes, towels, stuffed animals, coats, etc. Bag all items and take them to the washer/dryer in that bag. Appropriate laundry bags can be purchased online. After drying is complete, bag items in a clean storage bag, which can be purchased from supermarkets and box stores or online sites.
- Vacuum all over on a regular basis. Use a stiff brush attachment to loosen the eggs. Make sure you reach all carpets, carpet seams, along floor moldings, tack strips, bed seams, under beds and couches, behind headboards, upholstered chairs, couches, window sills, and furniture seams, etc. Vacuums should have a HEPA filter and be a dedicated unit for bed bug treatment. Dispose of the vacuum bag by sealing the open end with duct tape prior to disposal in garbage.
- Steam cleaner: Make sure to include all the upholstery on couches and chairs, mattresses and box spring surfaces, carpets, etc. Pay attention to seams, and cracks and crevices. The steamer must provide a continuous steam of over 120 degrees in order to be effective. (You must buy a commercial steamer and not rent one.) Move the nozzle of the steamer slowly over the object while applying pressure, and allow steam to penetrate the surface. You can also use a handheld steam iron for smaller items.
- Furniture, hardwood floors and other wooden structures must be cleaned--- Furniture or “oil” soap can be found in most supermarkets. Drawers should be removed from all dressers, armoires and nightstands and the inside and outside of all surfaces should be scrubbed with the product according to label directions. Pay attention to all seams, cracks and crevices.
- Seal all hiding places. Caulk and seal any holes in the walls or floors, and fill in the cracks found on baseboards. Plaster and fill in the space where the floor and ceiling moldings meet the floor or wall. Check wallpaper seams and glue them down.
- Seal parquet floor seams with varnish; seal tile flooring with grout; replace cracked or broken tile; seal around window sills and window frames; seal wall panels and wall trims.
There are many products available, in retail stores as well as online, to help consumers with their everyday pest control problems. From products for prevention, to control and treatment, these websites stock inventory specifically for these purposes;