How to Get Bed Bugs out of Couches and Recliners
Are you afraid to sit on your couches, love seats and easy chairs? Have you sprayed various substances into furniture crevices, only to discover that bed bugs are STILL coming out to attack? If so, there's no better time to get organized and focused.
An infested couch is like a bed bug factory. Adults and nymphs can emerge from hiding to bite you and re-infest your newly treated home. Learn how to control them before THEY control YOU.
Option One - The Poor Man's Method - Trap Bed Bugs in a Furniture Bag
You can insert your couch into a giant furniture storage bag and keep the bag sealed for a few months. At normal room temperature, bedbugs can only survive a few months without a blood meal. In colder climates, bed bugs may live up to a year without feeding. Drape a sheet over the couch to keep your skin from sticking to the plastic, and use furniture leg interceptors to keep bugs from crawling back up to your personal space. (More about interceptors later...)
Example of a giant furniture storage bag. Average Price: $15
Option Two - The Steam Method - Blast Cavities and Crevices with Searing Heat
Use a super heated and pressurized steam cleaner to blast those hard-to-reach areas. Broad attachments will allow you to make wide passes over the whole couch. Pinpoint attachments will help you blow steam into deep crevices and clean between seams. Remove cushions if you can, and pay close attention to zipper flaps, as this is where bedbugs love to hide. Last but not least, don't forget to steam the underside of your couch! Remove the flimsy dust cover and point the nozzle of your steam cleaner into the couch cavity. Allow your couch to dry for at least a few hours before applying pesticides.
Example of a high pressurized steam cleaner with attachments for seams and crevices. Average Price: $40
Option Three - The Fog Method - Blast Bed Bugs with a Lethal Dose of Cedar Oil
Cedar oil fogging kits are popular among folks who wish to avoid saturating couches and beds with chemicals. After spraying the entire couch with the target formula, flip your couch, remove the flimsy dust cover and point the nozzle of the fog machine into the spring cavity. You may also point the nozzle directly at cracks and crevices. Hot Tip: Enclose your couch in a furniture bag and fog directly into the bag! Keep the bag sealed overnight to hold in the fumes. Note that cedar oil fog juices are different from plain cedar oil, as they contain organic ingredients like hydrated silica to help dehydrate eggs and kill live bugs. You can also fog into closets, cabinets, attics and more.
The Importance of Choosing Appropriate Pesticides for Specific Spaces
Some sprays are designed to be contact killers, but they don't keep battling bugs when dry. Other sprays are designed to kill when wet and repel for long periods when dry. At the most powerful end of the spectrum, there are strong residual chemicals that continue to control insects for MONTHS after application. These types of sprays aren't contact killers, and they aren't labeled for direct application to skin, pet fur, couches or beds. They are mostly intended for floors, crevices and baseboards. As a matter of choice, many prefer to use organic pesticides on couches and beds while saving chemicals for floors, crevices and baseboards. It's especially important to keep chemical pesticides away from baby cribs.
Example of a super gentle organic pesticide that doesn't leave fumes or fight bugs when dry. Great for baby cribs!
Kleen Free is a natural, odor free enzyme cleaner that causes insects to molt (shed their outer coating) prematurely. By contrast, chemical pesticides attack the nervous system of an insect. Multiple studies have shown that insects can develop a resistance to standard chemicals. This doesn't happen with pesticides that work by physically attacking the exoskeleton. The best and worst thing about Kleen Green is the lack of fumes. That makes it a beautiful choice for the treatment of baby cribs, hospital beds and floors that toddlers craw upon. When the formula dries, it won't leave scents that continue to kill or repel bedbugs that wander over sprayed surfaces, but that's not a criticism. There will always be places and spaces where you can't spray traditional pesticides, and if you're naturally concerned about using pesticides in your baby's bedroom, this wonderful product can be your best friend.
Example of an organic contact killer that repels bugs long after it dries. Great for beds, couches, carpets, skin and pet fur.
Dr. Ben's Evictor is a safe but aggressive organic formula that can be applied to humans, dogs, couches, carpets and furniture. It contains hydrated silica to dry out the insect's exoskeleton and cedar oil to shut down the insect's breathing pores. It works by attacking the insect's exoskeleton, respiratory system and central nervous system at the same time. It also dehydrates and dissolves insect eggs, larvae and pupae on contact. This product leaves behind a fresh cedar aroma to repel bedbugs and mites from sprayed territory. It's a nice skin repellent for biting insects, a safe flea treatment for dogs and a popular leave-on treatment for skin mites. This product won't stain clothing or furniture. When used with a fog machine sold on the company website, the dry formula will settle upon walls, coat ceilings and penetrate unseen crevices that typical spray protocols don't reach.
Example of a pesticide that controls bugs for MONTHS after application. Great for baseboards, hard floors and crevices!
Onslaught Liquid Insecticide is micro-encapsulated, meaning that after the product is sprayed, the active ingredient is released slowly over time, producing super long-lasting residual control. It's a great formula for treating cracks, crevices, window frames and door frames. This is not the type of pesticide that's labeled for application to beds, human skin or pet fur, but it can be an indispensable tool when used as directed. Hot Tip: Use this product to treat the floor under your bed or couch! That way, you won't have to keep moving furniture to refresh pest control treatments on a weekly basis.
Example of a pesticide formulated to combat bed bugs that have developed resistance to old school chemicals.
Bedlam is a standard "go-to" chemical spray for pest control companies providing a non-staining option for bed bug treatment. It's ingredients are specifically formulated to target pyrethroid resistant bed bugs that might be unphased by old school chemical products. Since you can't buy this stuff over the counter at your local garden store, you'll have to turn to online sources. Bedlam is a great product for treating floors. Bedlam Plus offers a residual and a contact kill. The residual killing power can last for up to two weeks. Note that Bedlam is not a repellent. It won't discourage insects from entering sprayed territory.
Example of an organic pesticide that controls bugs for YEARS after application. Great for sprinkling under beds!
Diatomaceous earth is the preferred insecticidal dust for bedbug and mite infestations. It may be messy and difficult to vacuum out of carpeting (it clings), but it's perfect for applying under couches and beds. If you don't have the time or energy to move your bed or couch for routine inspections, DE will provide much peace of mind. Just set it and forget it! Made of the fossilized remains of marine phytoplankton, this moisture leeching dust causes insects to dry out by absorbing oils and fats from the exoskeleton. The sharp edges of the particles are highly abrasive, slashing at the cuticle and speeding up the process. On the bright side, diatomaceous earth is an inorganic material that will be effective for many years when kept dry. On the down side, these particles are like fiberglass when inhaled. Don't pile it onto carpeting or spread it throughout the room. Sprinkle it under beds, along baseboards or inside crawl spaces. The primary concern is to keep the dust contained so that it doesn't make its way into the air humans breathe.
Example of a tool used to inject diatomaceous earth into tight spaces and difficult-to-reach areas.
Cultivate Lingering Protection with Pest Controlling Sachets
Bedbugs hate cedar fumes and menthol fumes! To drive bugs away from intimate spaces, you may stuff organza bags filled with menthol or cedar into couch crevices, drawers, closets, cabinets and more. It's a great way to keep your couch protected after it has been treated with liquid pesticides. It's also a great way to protect your drawers, wash hampers and laundry baskets.
Organza bags can be found at craft stores, but it's usually cheaper to order bundle packs online.
Menthol crystals are expensive. A pound will cost around $45, but the fresh scent is priceless.
A 20 pound bag of cedar granules costs $45. Use them to make sachets or spread them in your yard to kill fleas and ticks!
Don't Forget to Protect Bed and Furniture Legs!
After treating couches and beds, use interceptors to prevent new bed bugs from crawling up furniture legs. Bedbugs can't jump or fly. In order to re-infest your couch or mattress, they must crawl up bed legs and bed posts. With a little creativity, you can cut them off at the source.
A typical bedbug interceptor looks like this. You may fill the outer channel with pesticides.
Some interceptors are wider for differently sized furniture legs. You may wish to include both types in your arsenal.
The Best Type of Vacuum Cleaner for Bed Bug Control
If you feel a little confused about the best vacuum for bed bug issues, note that the most important feature is powerful suction to remove sticky eggs that cling to floors, carpets, mattresses and bed frames. The Kenmore Elite 31150 combines three motors to give you 20% more air power than a conventional upright vacuum while never loosing suction. This ultra powerful vacuum was rated number one by Consumer Reports Magazine, a publication that does not accept advertising dollars. The vacuum also earned Amazon's prestigious Editor's Choice award for 2019. Additional features include triple HEPA filtration to reduce allergens and a bagged design, which is essential for trapping bugs. Tip: Sprinkle diatomaceous earth into your vacuum bag to kill trapped bugs.
The Best Type of Mattress Encasement for Bed Bug Control
Bedbugs don't just hang out on the surface of your bed. They can invade box springs, where they'll hide until they need a blood meal. Don't just encase your mattress to trap bedbugs. Encase your box springs as well. Since it can be expensive to double encase every bed in the house, you might consider choosing budget encasements. If there's only one bed requiring protection, you may wish to go with a premium encasement that's extensively lab tested, noiseless and certified. The premium encasement offers a generous ten-year warranty because it's built to be more durable over time. The budget encasement will also do the trick.
Example of a premium encasement that's lab tested, noiseless and certified.
Example of a budget encasement that's good enough to do the trick! Great for homes with multiple beds!
The Best Type of Bed for Bed Bug Control
It's not necessary to discard your old bed if you've employed proper encasement measures, but some folks just want a fresh slate. The psychological discomfort of knowing that live bugs could be living within the encasement leads many people to start over. Platform beds are a great transitional option for folks who don't want to invest in traditional beds until they're certain that the bedbug crisis is behind them. Such beds are easy to manage, and many are tall enough to run a vacuum underneath. Beyond that, a good foam mattress is more difficult for bugs to infest, but you'll still need an encasement to keep bugs from lingering on top of the mattress.
This inexpensive platform frame is tough enough to support heavy people and tall enough to run a vacuum underneath.
This super inexpensive foam mattress scored more than 20,000 favorable reviews!
Below you will find the sleep system I bought for my elderly mother when her home became infested with bedbugs. I made the decision to buy a new bed because her 25-year-old queen mattress was difficult for her to flip and evaluate during routine inspections. The entire system ended up costing me around $350, and it felt so good to know that I'd given her a fresh start. As a person weighing close to 300 pounds, she had initially worried that the mattress wouldn't be supportive. She now considers it to be the most comfortable bed she's ever owned!
The Best Way to Keep Bedbugs from Biting Your Pets
Bedbugs generally prefer to bite humans because it’s difficult for them to extract fluid through fur. Nonetheless, you may find them clinging to your dog's belly or hiding around his bed. Any warm blooded animal living in your home can act as a magnet to lure bedbugs out of hiding and disperse them throughout the home. Make it a priority to spray your dog's bed and fur with a good organic repellent that's approved for use with animals. You might also consider buying a pet bed that's elevated from the floor. Insert the legs into bedbug interceptors.
Example of an elevated dog bed.
Use bed leg interceptors to protect your elevated dog bed.
Use clear, super adhesive glue to fuse interceptors to the dog's bed legs.
Here's a great way to ensure that your dog doesn't move the bed and disrupt the placement of interceptors.
The Best Way to Kill Bed Bugs in The Laundry
If you're tired of drying--and shrinking- clothes on high heat to be sure bedbugs don't survive, here's some good news. Borax is a universally recognized product used to kill bacteria, fungus, fleas, mites and bedbugs in the laundry. Boric acid is the "secret ingredient" found in many powders sold to kill bugs, but it's harmless to humans. Just add 1 cup of Borax to every wash load. Be sure to dissolve your Borax in warm water before adding your clothes, as it will just form clumps if you dump the granules on top of a full wash load. Borax will not stain, fade or otherwise ruin casual clothing.
The Best Way to Store Dirty Laundry
Bedbugs clinging to clothing can easily get through cracks in wicker wash hampers and re-infest the home. Bins designed for outdoor pet food storage are genuinely air tight, and many have wheels that will enable you to transport laundry more easily. You should keep one plastic tub to store dirty laundry and one plastic tub to store the clean clothing you wear most.
Example of an air tight plastic bin with wheels.