Bed bugs are a problem that no one wants to deal with. They’re incredibly difficult to get rid of, and sometimes, the treatments available on the market seem to come with a hefty price tag.
This may leave some of you helpless, frustrated, and ready to throw in the towel.
But dealing with bed bugs doesn’t have to be that expensive – at least, not how you’re expecting it to be. There are practical and low-cost solutions for tackling this issue.
Things to Do to Prepare for Bed Bug Treatment on a Budget
The idea of killing bed bugs on a tight budget might seem impossible – but it isn’t. Many consumers are left with the misconception that bed bug treatments require paying quite a lot of money.
While dealing with bed bugs before the infestation becomes severe is definitely recommended, it’s also possible for you to be able to do something without breaking the bank.
Disclaimer: Nothing beats the help of a professional pest control treatment, but if you like to try it yourself, there are some things that you can do to get rid of bed bugs and save money at the same time.
The Preparation: Identifying and Isolating the Problem
The first step to ensuring a successful bed bug treatment is accurately identifying and isolating the problem. So what does this mean?
It means taking a closer look at your mattress and furniture for signs of bed bugs, such as eggs, larvae, adult bugs, fecal spots, or even exoskeletons.
While it’s safe to assume that the entire house is infested, it doesn’t hurt to double-check and verify that the bed bugs are, in fact, concentrated in one particular area.
Identifying where the bed bugs are mostly concentrated can help you save money by targeting only the affected areas with the treatment instead of your entire home.
Take Out all the Mattresses and Bedding
After you’ve identified the infestation, it’s time to take out all the mattresses and bedding from your home. The mattresses and beddings need to be taken outside and vacuumed properly.
Remove the sheets and anything that can be washed in the washer. This includes sheets, pillowcases, curtains, blankets, and other items that can be machine-washed.
While these bed bugs may have infested your mattress, there’s a huge chance that they can also be found in your pillows, pillowcases, mattress covers, protectors, sheets and blankets, curtains, and even your clothes.
Before you go ahead and target those living in your mattresses, try to kill as many bed bugs as you can, which are commonly found in sheets. These can be easily washed in hot water for at least 30 minutes.
Vacuum and Isolate the Affected Areas
The next step involves taking out the vacuum cleaner. If you haven’t used it for quite some time, you’ll be using this often especially when dealing with these nasty bed bug creatures.
Most households have a vacuum cleaner, and this comes in handy when trying to get rid of bed bugs.
Vacuum everything in the house – if this means a general cleaning to get rid of the existing bed bugs and make sure that no new ones pop up, then so be it.
Target the carpets, furniture, and other items that can’t be easily thrown in the washer. Make sure to include all of the crevices, cracks, and all corners of your rooms.
This is where most of the bed bugs may hide, and vacuuming them out can make a huge difference in the overall cleanliness of your home.
Cheap Ways to Kill Bed Bugs
Now that you’ve done your preparation, it’s time to take out the big guns. Take note that the things mentioned above don’t involve killing the bed bugs.
It’s a preparatory step to further ensure the effectiveness of your bed bug treatment.
If you’re ready, here are some cheap ways to help target an existing bed bug infestation:
Vacuum cleaners play a crucial role in getting rid of bed bugs. While you’ve done this during the preparation stage, it’s still recommended to do it several times until you’re fully confident that you’ve gotten the most of them.
Vacuuming is a powerful yet inexpensive way to address an existing bed bug infestation.
When using your vacuum cleaner, it’s best to pair it with a vacuum bag to avoid spreading the bed bugs. Vacuum bags can be bought from your local supermarket and should be thrown away immediately after use.
Bug bombs, or total release foggers, are likely one of the most popular cheap solutions to getting rid of bed bugs.
These sprays come in an aerosol can and, when activated, will release a fog of pesticide and insecticide across a room that can kill bugs on contact, including bed bugs.
This is ideally used on a room-by-room basis, making sure that you cover every corner and crevice.
However, due to the toxicity of the ingredients involved, extra caution needs to be taken when using bug bombs and other forms of pesticide.
Ensure that you evacuate the area, keeping dogs and kids away from the area, and make sure to read the instructions in full before releasing the fogger.
Additionally, bugs and insects tend to hide in tight spaces and crevices that may not be accessible by insecticide spray from a single can alone.
As such, depending on the severity of your infestation, you might have to use several more cans for maximum effectiveness.
Wearing face masks, protective clothing, and gloves is also recommended when using the fogger.
One of the common disadvantages of using bug bombs is that this method only targets adult bed bugs – and this often leaves the eggs unharmed.
With that being said, using bug bombs along with other methods is the best way to ensure that you get rid of existing bed bugs and their eggs as well.
Finally, it’s worth noting that bug bombs may not be enough to fully eradicate bed bugs in your home – some of them may still survive and go into hiding.
After each application, make sure to check for any signs of remaining bed bugs before moving on to another room.
This could be a controversial subject, but using essential oils might be a cheap and natural way to get rid of bed bugs. Essential oils like tea tree oil and lavender are being used as a home remedy for bed bug control.
How is it used? Depending on the type of oil, it can be applied directly to the bed bugs or mixed in with water and sprayed onto affected areas.
A few drops of essential oils mixed with vodka (used as an emulsifier) can be used to also make a bed bug repellent. Dilute with water and shake well before spraying.
Essential oils are potent and may cause a stinging sensation if it gets in contact with the skin. While this may not be the case for all essential oils, tea tree, peppermint, and cinnamon oils are known to have a strong burning sensation.
As such, extra caution is needed when using them as bed bug treatment – wear gloves and protective clothing before handling any essential oils.
Also, keep in mind that essential oils may not be enough to fully eradicate existing infestations- they should be used as an additional measure alongside the vacuuming and bug bombs.
Cinnamon and Bay Leaves
If there’s anything else that bed bugs don’t like, it’s the smell of cinnamon and bay leaves.
Cinnamon oil is a natural insect repellent that’s been used for centuries to deter bed bugs from entering your home. Cinnamon and cinnamon oil can be placed in small containers around your home and used as a natural repellent.
Bay leaves are also known to repel bed bugs, thanks to their strong scent. Place dried bay leaves strategically around the room or infested area.
While this acts as a repellent, this doesn’t kill the bed bugs. What you can do is vacuum the leaves up and dispose of them afterward, preventing any bed bugs from hitching a ride.
Heat / Steam
Heat and steam are two of the simplest, most cost-effective solutions to your bed bug problem. Utilizing high temperature that is usually too uncomfortable for the bugs to endure, you can kill existing bed bugs in your home with hot steam or a powerful heat gun.
Pest control specialists and DIY enthusiasts alike typically recommend using a steam cleaner for treating bed bug infestations.
Steam cleaning is preferred as it’s quick and easy, plus you don’t have to worry about the toxicity of chemicals when using this method.
Temperatures above 120 Fahrenheit can be lethal to bed bugs, so make sure to raise the temperature of the steam or dryer heat gun as high as possible and treat affected areas thoroughly.
Don’t forget to move furniture, carpets, and hard-to-reach areas when applying heat treatment.
When you hire professionals, heat treatments are usually used as a follow-up to chemical treatments. It should be done after the bugs have been killed by the insecticides and can help prevent any survivors from reemerging.
One of the many reasons why heat treatment is deemed effective is because it doesn’t simply target adult bed bugs – the high temperature from the steam can also kill eggs.
By far, this is one of the most effective ways to get rid of bed bugs in your home. This doesn’t require any materials fetching a hefty price tag, and all you need is a steam cleaner that can reach high temperatures.
Although heat treatment is the most effective option, it’s not a one-time solution. You may need to repeat this multiple times and follow up with other methods to ensure that all bed bugs are eliminated.
Don’t expect that all of your bed bug problems will be gone with just one sweep. While smaller infestations can be treated with just one session of heat treatment, larger ones may need more than that.
Bed Mattress Bags
Bed mattress bags may well be the first line of defense against a bed bug invasion. Not only are they relatively affordable, but you can use them to encase any mattresses and box springs which provide prime real estate for these pesky pests.
Bed mattresses or protective mattress coverings can keep bed bugs from entering or escaping from the mattress, effectively trapping them in and preventing infestation.
When bed bugs in your mattress won’t be able to escape, this means they won’t be able to feed – and this leads to starvation.
Bed mattress covers are typically cheap. You can find a couple of these being sold for around $10 – $20. They are also easy to install – just slide them over your mattress, and you’re done. However, here’s the catch – to prevent these bed bugs from feeding again, these covers need to be placed for at least one year.
If one of your mattresses is in dire need of a replacement, buying an encasement is your best bet, as it guarantees that you won’t be bringing any additional bed bugs into your home.
If you wish to save your old mattress, just keep in mind that you will have to keep it in the encasement for at least one year and refrain from taking it out.
It’s true – bed bugs are present whether your room is clean or messy. These pests hitch rides on our clothes, luggage, and other items. So regardless of the cleanliness of your home, you may still end up with an infestation problem.
However, this doesn’t mean that keeping your living space clean is useless against bed bugs – quite the contrary. Maintaining a tidy environment can help you easily detect any signs of infestation and take the necessary steps to get rid of them.
Apart from that, cleanliness can also make it harder for bed bugs to find a suitable place to hide and feed on blood. Vacuuming your soft furnishings, like sofas, cushions, and carpets, can help reduce the number of bedbugs in an area.
Be sure to dispose of the vacuum bag or container after vacuuming. Regularly washing bedding and other linens in hot water can also help reduce their numbers as well.
Don’t forget about maintaining cleanliness around your home, as this will make it much harder for bed bugs to establish and build their population.
You’ve probably heard of diatomaceous earth already, but if you haven’t – it’s an effective solution when tackling bed bugs. But what is diatomaceous earth, and why does it work?
Diatomaceous earth comes in fine dust form. They’re made from fossilized diatom shells and are originally used in industrial filtration systems.
They’re typically used to help filter water and are sometimes used as a filler. Diatomaceous earth comes in food-grade and non-food-grade forms.
But aside from its industrial uses, diatomaceous earth also serves as a good alternative for getting rid of bed bugs. The sharp edges of the diatoms can cut through the exoskeleton of the bed bug, effectively killing them and disrupting their feeding process. Since the sharp particles cut through the bug’s exoskeleton, this also results in dehydration and, eventually, death.
One common and simple way of using diatomaceous earth is by sprinkling the fine dust in areas where you suspect the presence of bed bugs.
Some people place it on their mattresses, along windowsills, and in other areas where bed bugs may be present. You can also sprinkle it around the edges of your bed or furniture to create a barrier and prevent them from climbing onto the surfaces.
But whatever you do, avoid inhaling the dust as much as possible – it’s not safe for humans. Wear a mask when applying diatomaceous earth to avoid any possible inhalation.
Other than that, diatomaceous earth serves as a safe and effective solution for getting rid of bed bug infestations in your home.
If you’re worried about where you can find these – they’re typically available in hardware and gardening stores. Gardeners swear by its effectiveness in getting rid of bugs, so you can trust its ability to be an effective solution for bed bug infestations as well.
Aside from sprinkling the powder around, you can also partner this method with a vacuum cleaner. After letting the powder sit for a few days, vacuum the area to get rid of any dead bed bugs and other debris.
You can use this method in combination with other methods to ensure a thorough and successful extermination of these pests.
You can also use diatomaceous earth as a long-term solution to prevent bed bug infestations in the future. Sprinkle it around your living space every few months so that any bed bugs that enter your home will be taken care of immediately.
When used regularly, diatomaceous earth can be an effective and safe way to prevent bed bugs from setting up shop in your home.
Do you know those little silica packets you find inside a new bag or box? Those are desiccants, and they act as natural bed bug killers.
Desiccants work by absorbing moisture from the air – this deprives any living organism of its water supply, leading to dehydration and, eventually, death.
You can buy a variety of desiccants from the store, such as silica gel or boric acid. You can sprinkle these around your home in areas where you suspect bed bug activity. The same rules apply – wear a mask when applying and avoid inhaling any of the powders.
Unlike diatomaceous earth, desiccants can be harmful to pets when ingested. Make sure that your pets don’t have access to these powders and that you clean up any spills or residue as soon as possible.
Do You Still Need Professional Pest Control Services?
Given the various methods, and inexpensive ones, to say the least, you can use to get rid of bed bug infestations, you might be wondering if it’s still worth it to hire professional pest control services.
The answer is yes – while these DIY methods are effective in getting rid of the bugs, they lack the thoroughness and expertise that a professional exterminator provides.
The above-mentioned are simply ways to let you know that there are various and inexpensive methods that you can try even before going to a professional pest control company. You can get away with using these cheap methods if you have a small or starting infestation.
However, if the infestation is severe, you need a comprehensive solution. These methods above may work for a small amount of time. It may get rid of some of the bed bugs, maybe some of the eggs, but it won’t completely get rid of the root cause.
Take note, however, that nothing beats professional bed bug treatment services. You’re paying years of expertise, partnered with industry-leading products.
While some people may think that getting a treatment is expensive, they forget to realize the cost of making uncountable mistakes that lead to a bigger infestation if you don’t get the help of an expert.
Bonus Tips on How to Cut Costs Even When Hiring Professional Pest Control Services
Inarguably, getting a professional to help with your bed bug infestation is the best way to go. However, if you’re short on budget, there are still ways to cut costs.
Don’t Forget to Inquire About Discounts and Packages
At first glance, the majority of their prices seem steep – especially if this is your first time inquiring about their services. However, most pest control companies offer discounts and packages that may fit your budget.
Don’t be afraid to ask if they’ve got any available, and make sure to check online or local newspapers for coupons or special offers they might have in store.
Additionally, you may notice that some companies offer free inspections. Take this opportunity to get a better understanding of how bad your infestation is and look for ways to save money on treatments.
Consider Looking for a Terminate-and-Prevent Service
Instead of a simple one-time treatment, you may want to look for companies that provide a terminate and prevent service.
These services often include an inspection, initial extermination, and follow-up treatments – all at a discounted rate. By getting such packages, you’ll be able to save money while also preventing the infestation from coming back.
Finally, Don’t Hesitate to Ask Questions
If you’re still unsure of which company or service to choose, don’t hesitate to ask questions. You can ask their previous customers – with today’s technology, it’s never been easier to find reviews and ratings online.
It’s also a good idea to ask the company themselves about the treatment methods and products they use, as well as any additional advice they may have on getting rid of bed bugs.
It’s time to stop the mentality that bed bug treatments are only meant for those who can afford it. Minor infestations can be taken care of if you know where to start.
A couple of DIY methods can go a long way. However, if you want to get rid of the problem for good, professional pest control services are still your best bet.
Catch them early and save money by asking about discounts and packages available. Most importantly, don’t hesitate to ask questions – being informed is key!Cheap Ways to Kill Bed Bugs: Cut Costs and Not Corners