So, you have bed bugs, or you think you have bed bugs. Before you throw out everything you own, you need to come up with a plan to combat them successfully. Bed bugs may have the ability to hide well, but hey, they're bugs; you can outsmart them. Here are a few ideas to help you get the upper hand.
It's always possible that you're mistaking something else for bed bugs. To confirm your suspicions try to find one, dead or alive. If you find one, take it in to a county extension office or professional exterminator for proper identification.
If your specimen has been identified as a bona fide bed bug, it's time for a thorough cleaning. This means cleaning up any clutter around the infested room, scrubbing surfaces with a brush to remove any hidden eggs, and taking the drawers out of your furniture and scrubbing them down, too. Be careful not to use a wire brush or anything that is strong enough to scratch the surface of your furniture. While the drawers are out, look inside the furniture for signs of bed bugs -- even if you don't see any bugs, you might still see black spots or discarded skins. If you have a powerful vacuum-cleaner, use it along the baseboard cracks, cracks in the floorboards, ceiling molding, and behind picture frames. After vacuuming seal the vacuum bag in a plastic bag and discard it in the trash. Take apart your bed frame and clean it thoroughly. After a thorough cleaning, treat all the surfaces, according to label directions, with Ortho® Home Defense® Dual-Action Bed Bug Killer.
Most rooms have small cracks where wires and pipes come in. These are bed bug highways. Seal them up with caulk. While you're at it, seal up the cracks behind your baseboards and molding after you've vacuumed them. Bed bugs can also hide in electrical outlets. Outlets are tricky, so you will want to leave them to the professionals. Never use any kind of aerosol or other liquid on any electrical source. If the outlet is not in use you could duct tape over it to keep the bugs from coming through.
You can take several steps to make your bed less inviting to bed bugs. Pull the bed away from the wall, and make sure that your bedspread and blankets don't touch the floor. Seal your mattress and box springs in plastic bags, which are commercially available. Check carefully to make sure there are no holes in them (if there are, use duct tape to tape over them). This will keep any bed bugs from finding a home in your bedding, and kill any bed bugs that are trapped inside.
Now that you've cleaned, sealed, and straightened up, it's time to call in the professionals. After all, you want to be sure the bugs are gone, and doing all the things covered above will make it easier for an exterminator to help you. Just be sure your exterminator has experience with bed bugs.