The University of Nebraska’s Integrated Pest Management program puts out excellent, practical materials on pest control. Their newest publication is an online magazine on the subject of managing bed bugs. I especially liked one of the videos included in the magazine showing how to protect your bed and use mattress encasements to discourage bed bugs. This video complements a blog post I wrote earlier the summer on first aid for bed bugs.
If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of having bed bugs, I always recommend calling a professional. But if you can’t afford professional treatment, or if you want to supplement the treatment provided by your apartment complex, this video is well worth watching and putting into practice.
If you already have bed bugs, vacuum the mattress and box spring first to eliminate as many bed bugs as possible (vacuuming does not remove eggs, unfortunately). Make sure you discard the vacuum bag after this use. You may also want to treat the bed frame with an insecticide to ensure that bed bugs are not still anywhere on the bed.
From a control perspective, it’s always preferable to live and sleep in your bed bug infested room. While this may seem like craziness, there are at least two good reasons: (1) If you sleep in another room of the house you may encourage bed bugs to leave the bedroom and spread throughout the house–NOT GOOD. (2) Having a person sleeping in the bedroom keeps bed bugs active and more likely to contact any spray residues put out by your pest control company, leading to faster control.
But here’s the beauty of using encasements and interceptor traps, as shown in the video. If you have killed all the bed bugs on your bed frame, and encased your mattress and box spring, and properly installed the interceptors, your bed becomes a relatively safe place to sleep–even in rooms with a few bed bugs. Just make sure you keep the bed away from the wall and bed clothes from touching the floor.