Reacting effectively at first sign of bed bugs
By James Lyons
When someone discovers bed bugs in their home the initial shock can often cause panic, and decisions made in this state can do more harm than good.
This reaction is fully understandable: we all want to be in control of a situation and see immediate results. But there is no instant solution once bed bugs have been discovered. For most, the experience is similar to many family emergencies; life gets put on hold until the bed bugs are addressed.
Unfortunately, some things are out of the control of the bed bug sufferer. Patience is required when waiting for landlords and exterminators to address the issue. Most landlords are on your side and want to make sure eradication happens quickly and effectively but if they are not addressing it, renters can file a by-law complaint which again takes time.
If you own your home, you are still going to go through the process of booking an extermination schedule as well as securing the funds to pay for this unexpected expense.
This period of bed bug limbo is a critical time period where the decisions you make can greatly affect the outcome. The biggest mistake at this stage is running to the store to grab some bed bug spray in the hopes of eliminating some of the bugs while you wait for an exterminator. This is not a good idea as you will kill some bugs but repel the ones that do not contact the chemical to other locations throughout the house. The temporary relief provided by this will create a worse situation to deal with later. An alternative to this would be borrowing the steam cleaner and/or vacuum at DMSMCA as these are effective tools to assist in fighting bed bugs that do not pose the same risk.
Another logical mistake is to relocate to another room to escape the horrid experience of being bitten in the night. This is difficult advice to give, but I do not recommend this as some bugs may relocate to this new location making the situation worse. Also, it is hard to treat a room without a person sleeping there to draw the bed bugs out to contact with pesticides. Your exterminator is likely going to want you to stay in the room for this reason.
Therefore, as an alternative I would suggest making sleeping in this room bearable by turning your bed into an “island.” This can be achieved by using interceptor traps or glue boards on your bed legs, steaming and cleaning mattresses, installing bed bug mattress covers (optional), and bringing your bed away from touching the wall. If you do not have a bed frame, this can be more difficult.
Lastly, the worst panic reaction is throwing out possessions before you have met with your exterminator. Many regret throwing couches, beds, and other items away only to learn there were other alternatives. Your exterminator will advise you on what needs to go and what can be saved.
Fighting bed bugs takes time, and with the right effort many can be bug free after a couple of treatments. It relieves a great deal of stress to work through the process with someone and I have seen this first hand. I encourage anyone in the community to contact Brendan with any bed bug questions.

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