How To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs In A Couch
By their name alone, bed bugs have a well-earned reputation for preferring to make a home out of your mattress. There are a lot of good reasons why this is true, too. After all, bed bugs rely on people for food, preferring to snack on our blood every seven days or so. It therefore makes a lot of sense for them to live near where humans spend several hours per day.
Furthermore, something like a bed provides a lot of hiding places for bed bugs. Bed bugs like to hide away between meals in a place that is safe and warm. Your home and more specifically, your bed, provides just the environment for a bed bug to live in and lay its eggs.
But wait a minute...doesn't all of this also describe other furniture, such as couches? If bed bugs are fond of mattresses, wouldn't they also be more than happy to set up shop in your couch? And if so, how do you get rid of them for good? In this article, we will discuss all of this and much more.
Do Bed Bugs Live In Couches?
The short answer to this question is a resounding “yes.” Bed bugs like to be in a climate-controlled environment, which your home surely provides. They also like to be near a source of food that allows them to feed at regular intervals, and most humans are obviously found on their couches for a fair amount of time each and every day.
What's more, couches provide a lot of cracks, crevices, and the cushions themselves, all of which provide ample hiding spots for tiny bed bugs and their eggs. When you add it all up, it makes total sense that bed bugs would decide to make their home within your couch.
Signs That Bed Bugs May Be In Your Couch
So, we have established that yes, bed bugs do like living in couches when they find the opportunity to infest them. However, it can be much more difficult to ascertain whether bed bugs are living in your couch or your bed when you start noticing skin irritation or bites. Finding bed bugs during the day can be a little tricky, but not impossible if you know exactly what to look for.
Let's take a look at some telltale signs that your couch has a bed bug problem.
First of all, be ready to look closely, because bed bugs, their eggs, and the evidence that they leave behind are very small and require good lighting and a very close look. Make sure that you have a flashlight and a magnifying glass for close inspection. You can also grab an hold credit card to check difficult to access areas and a pair of nitrile gloves for good measure.
When you look, you'll be trying to find a few things in particular. The first would be black spots or small red spots. While black spots are signs of bed bug waste, tiny red spots are proof that they have been feeding.
Also, keep an eye out for tiny, milky white cylinders about half the size of a rice grain, which are bed bug eggs. Bed bugs themselves are flat ovals that grow to be dark and red, only taking up half the space of an apple seed at maturity. Finally, the discarded skins of growing bed bugs are paler in color and look like pale shells, which is essentially what they are.
During the time that you look, use your old credit card to trace seams, edges, zippers, and other small spaces. Remove any dust covers, take cushions out, and even flip your couch over to check from the bottom. Being thorough here is key to the detection process. A thorough examination can also let you determine how serious the infestation is and accordingly, what your next move must be.
Finally, bed bugs will bite dogs and cats if human blood is in scarce supply, so if your pet bedding is close to the sofa, check this area also.
Ways To Get Rid Of Bed Bugs From Your Couch
It simply is not possible to continue to use a couch infested with bed bugs as if there's no problem at all. Bed bugs have to be dealt with quickly and effectively. Fortunately, there are a number of proven ways to get bed bugs out of your couch for once and for all. Your options include vacuuming, steam cleaning, and of course, calling an experienced professional exterminator. Let's take a look at each option and what they entail.
In many ways, vacuuming is the first step that you should take once you have done your thorough inspection and determined that your couch has become home to bed bugs and their eggs.
Vacuuming is also a good first step because it is a quick and mostly easy way to reduce the population of bed bugs. You want to lower their numbers with each new effort, so vacuuming up as many as you can to get started makes a lot of sense.
If at all possible, use a HEPA filtered vacuum for this step, as it allows you to keep bed bugs from escaping the vacuum's canister and getting into other areas of your home. Carefully vacuum the couch, including the cushions on all sides, underneath, in all the little crevices, and so forth. Afterward, it's strongly advised that you move on to steam heating the couch for bed bug and egg removal.
A common misconception about bed bugs is that the best way to get rid of them is through toxic pesticides, bleach, or other items that are not necessarily safe for use around humans or pets. Not so, however. You can also use the power of intense heat to rid your couch of bed bugs.
Bed bugs, like many living creatures and insects, only can survive in specific temperature ranges. For bed bugs, that range ends at about 117 degrees Fahrenheit. Therefore, one of the proven ways of getting rid of bed bugs is to heat up their environment past that point. Steam heating is a great way to get that done and kill bed bugs as well as their eggs.
Steam heating requires special steamers that have nozzles allowing the steam heat to be applied to specific areas. For your couch, you will simply need to steam clean all areas, including underneath the couch and of course, in all of the little nooks, cracks, and crevices that bed bugs like to hang out and lay their eggs in. Once again, thoroughness is of the utmost importance here.
While steam cleaning, you may notice that the steamer has an adjustment dial. If this is the case, try turning down the pressure when doing flat surfaces and turning the dial up when getting inside of crevices and hiding spots.
Call An Exterminator
For many people, calling an exterminator may be the last resort. After all, retaining the services of an exterminator is likely to be somewhat costly. However, if you've tried doing it yourself and it's just not working, an exterminator can be a great option to have. If this happens, do your research, read reviews and compare prices to make an informed decision.
Pest control experts can also give great advice with regard to bed bug prevention methods to help stop your home becoming re-infested once cleared of all bugs and eggs.
What To Do If Your Couch Is Heavily Infested?
Under certain circumstances, it actually may be best to just discard your couch. Obviously, this is a very individual decision and has to take into account the age of the furniture, your budget, and perhaps other factors, as well.
If your couch is older, you are interested in replacing it anyway, or you just want to be done with the infestation no matter the cost, discarding it is a viable option. It should be noted that this process must be done a certain way, however.
First of all, be careful when moving your infested couch outside. Bed bugs are opportunistic and could hop out and find a new home elsewhere along the way, so move the couch quickly when the time comes.
Also, you don't want any unsuspecting individuals to think that your couch is a good alternative for someone looking for free furniture. Clearly mark the couch as infested with bed bugs so that anybody who sees it won't be tempted to take it home and make it their own.
In some cases, you may be best off seeking out good local removal options. These options could include pickup by qualified professionals, a designated place to discard the couch, and more. Finally, a removal company can be hired to deal with it all for you, if you prefer. Obviously, this will come with a much higher cost than doing it yourself.
Bed bugs are not to be taken lightly and they will not simply go away on their own or if ignored. A proactive approach is necessary to get rid of bed bugs whether they are in your bedroom or in your living room couch. Bed bugs can go several days or even longer without feeding, so waiting for them to leave and starving them out is not an option.
Fortunately, the strategies outlined in this article have been proven time and time again to be effective strategies for bed bug and egg removal. Hopefully, these tips have helped you get the answers you need to fight off the bed bugs in your home.
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