A Practical Guide to Bed Bugs Part 1: Getting a restful sleep

If you own your house or apartment, this guide is not so much for you, my advice to you is to spare no expense at ridding yourself of these pests as soon as possible but you can of course take part in some of the following tips.

The blessing of being a tenant when you get bed bugs is that you won't have to cover any of the expense yourself. In most places the landlord would have to prove your negligence in bringing them in in order for you to have to cover the expense. The annoyance in this comes with not being able to be in control of when they come or if they treat or not. You're dependent on the rest of the people in your building being ready for treatment and doing all the necessary prep work that you so diligently have worked.

In my case my neighbors (where the bed bugs most likely originated due to their frequent intake of backpackers) weren't ready almost every single time that treatment was supposed to be done, during one visit they weren't even home and had left their apartment in a shape that made it impossible to treat. No wonder while our apartment was pronounced momentarily cleared theirs weren't and the precious little bugs kept creeping back down to us.

Now, what do you do to do your best to ensure that these pesky buggers stay as far away from you as possible?

My first goal was to ensure a comfortable sleep. When you find bed bugs crawling over you at night everyone's first desire is to get as far away from them as possible. Moving to the bed bug free couch feels like the best option. Please don't! You'll regret it. Bed bugs will follow you, they are attracted to the Carbon dioxide you breathe out. When they find nothing to feed on they will move and follow you to wherever you decided to sleep.

In order to get a restful sleep get a mattress encasing right away as well as casings for your pillows. As long as they protect against dust mites they are good enough, the bed bug proof ones are great too but cost almost double. Please be sure that there are no exposed areas around the opening of the zipper and if there are, use ducttape to keep it shut. You can't remove the mattress casing ever again so it will be on there until you bring the bed to the dump. If you have a box spring the same goes for it. There are speficic box spring encasements. If you don't already have a mattress cover I recommend getting one. One that you can easily wash but at the same time provides some padding between you and the mattress casing, otherwise I promise you you'll wake up in a pool of sweat every night.

Next ensure that your bed is raised off the floor. If you have to get legs for your bed or a new bed frame that is advisable. Even better if you can keep your bed away from the wall to ensure that no bugs are climbing up there but this is rarely a possibility. You can rub the legs down in vaseline which makes them impossible to climb for the bugs. Getting diteomaceous earth is also advisable if you can find it (Home Hardware sells it) this can also be used later on for making your own beauty products if you're worried about getting a big bag. You can sprinkle this all around bed legs, moulding and any areas you think bed bugs may cross. Just please be advised that if a dog is being brought in to detect bed bugs you will have to properly vacuum up any traces of ditomaceous earth first.

You will need to dry all of your bedding for at least 30 minutes in the dryer. This also means you can save some money and do two loads in one cycle. The high heat will kill any bugs. Merely washing won't. Anything you're not currently using should be placed in sealed garbage bags and I recommend labeling them very specifically. You will have a lot of garbage bags before this is over. Also don't tie the knots too tight, just tight enough to ensure nothing can crawl in, you will need to open and close these many times over.

I also made a spray of lavender and tea tree oil mixed with water to spray on fabrics and the bed. Beg bugs hate the smell of tea tree oil as well as lavender and will stay away.

By employing all these tips and keeping up with washing and drying your bedding regularly you should not only be able to kill a lot of the bugs but also ensure that you get your sleep when you need it the most. Having bed bugs is a stressful time and you need to take care not to get burnt out.

You can also take the steps of protecting your bed as a precaution if you are worried about bed bugs. Needless to say I will never have an uncovered mattress again.


Best of luck!