Why Are Bed Bugs Difficult to Treat?
The stuff of nightmares for many people, bed bugs gain their infamy in large part because of how hard they are to get rid of. Though rarely larger than a pinhead, the tiny bugs are incredibly resilient and notoriously hard to eradicate. Once they develop a foothold in your house, you can count on a long battle before they’re finally eliminated.What makes them so tough? A variety of characteristics that they’ve developed and perfected over millions of years:
SizeBed bugs’ tiny size makes it easy for predators to overlook them. It also lets the bugs easily hide in the tiniest cracks, crevices, and folds. This means that they can literally come crawling out of the woodwork, even after you’ve cleaned your home and applied pesticides. A small body requires little food, and bed bugs survive for a year or more without feeding on a warm-blooded host.
ExoskeletonsEver swatted a roach with a shoe, only for it to keep going afterwards? Bed bugs share a similar tough shell that protects them from most impacts. Crushing bed bugs one by one is incredibly inefficient.
Environmental ToughnessBed bugs can easily survive in almost any environment; hot and cold, wet and dry. This is why they’re so difficult to kill in the laundry, and why they thrive during any time of the year.
Breeding RateIf a good food source is handy, bed bugs will reproduce at a tremendous rate. One female can produce hundreds of eggs in a single breeding cycle, and can lay several times per year. A handful of the critters can breed into a full-blown infestation in a matter of weeks.
So How Do You Get Rid of Them?Bed bugs are tough, but they’re not invincible. Use these tips to get rid of them:
- Go on the attack at the first sign of bed bugs. Don’t wait and hope they go away. Immediately clean everything in the vicinity of where you spotted them.
- Wash and dry infested clothes and laundry at the hottest possible settings, using plenty of bleach or laundry detergent. If necessary, take them to a dry cleaner, but be sure to tell the cleaner about the bed bugs!
- Seal up and/or lay pesticides in any possible cracks and holes in the floor, walls, and ceiling of the infested rooms. This includes fractured floorboards and electrical outlets.
- Call in an exterminator if it looks like things are getting out of hand. They’ll be able to handle the bed bugs quickly with minimal damage to your belongings.