Happy New Year! New beginnings. Fresh Starts. Cleaning and organizing are common activities for getting a fresh start. As a pest control company that is more successful with a tidier home, we are HUGE fans of decluttering! While clutter does not mean someone will get bed bugs, we have found that it is much more difficult to eliminate bed bugs if you have a lot of “stuff” laying around. You won’t be able to spot bed bugs if you have too many items in your home as there are more places for the bed bugs to hide. For tips on decluttering, click HERE.
The Problem with Clutter
When you have piles of books, dirty clothes, and boxes under your bed, this creates many hiding spots for bed bugs. So, should you happen to have a bed bug introduced to your home, it may take much longer for you to realize that you have an infestation. And this can happen simply from traveling, public transportation, having guests in your home, to a myriad of other methods. The clutter does not produce the bed bugs, but it provides a safe harbor for them and makes treatment challenging. And conversely, a clean home does not prevent bed bug infestations, but a tidy space is much easier to effectively treat for bed bugs.
Once you realize you have a problem with bed bugs, the clutter makes them challenging to exterminate. Heat needs to be able to get to all areas of your room to eliminate the bed bugs. The bugs need to encounter temperatures of 120⁰ F. If hiding spots are available, the bed bugs may be able to avoid the heat and survive. Hiding spots can often be small items on the floor, the baseboards, or even a book lying near the bed.
Along with the above-mentioned article, we recommend getting rid of unused items. If it can be thrown away, get rid of it. If you have not used it in a long time, consider donating it. We recommend storing seasonal items in a plastic tub elsewhere in the house. Bed bugs will most likely be found where you sleep or sit for hours at a time, so you will want to keep these areas free from clutter.
Clutter hides bed bugs. This is such a BIG problem with bed bug treatments. If there is too much “stuff” in the way, it will be challenging to get all areas of the room hot enough to kill the bugs and completely eliminate bed bugs. And it can take less time to heat up an entire room when there are fewer items to absorb the hot air.
All Blood Tastes the Same to Bed Bugs
It is a major misconception that only dirty people have bed bug infestations. This is simply not true. We have treated homes where “cleanliness is next to godliness” was definitely NOT the standard. And, we have also treated sparkling clean 7000-square-foot homes. Bed bugs don’t favor dirty people over clean people, all blood tastes the same to them. They are just looking for a human host. That is what attracts bed bugs – blood! But it is never a good idea to let junk build up in your home, even if you don’t have bed bugs!
Dirty Homes vs. Clean Homes
However, we have learned that messy homes can be much harder to treat with heat. If a room has so much clutter that the floor can hardly be seen, it will be extremely difficult to have a successful heat treatment and eliminate bed bugs. When we treat a home, we have to be able to move everything around to ensure that heat permeates the entire treatment area.
We even take furniture apart, separating the mattress and box springs to ensure proper airflow. You can see why the amount of “stuff” in the room can affect the effectiveness of the heat treatment. And it is important to remember that the clutter does not necessarilty attract bed bugs, but it certainly makes it more challenging to eliminate a bed bug infestation.
We recently treated a home that had many loose items under the bed: socks, clothing, paper, etc. When we moved these items during the treatment, the bugs were still living under these items. Fortunately, we had the rooms up to the lethal temperature of 120 F, so the bugs died very quickly once exposed to the heat.
Unfortunately, there have been times when the room or closets have been so jammed packed that it is impossible to expose everything to the heat, and oftentimes, the heat treatment is not successful. The bed bugs were able to hide and avoid the heat. In situations like these, receommend that the customer discards anything they are not using or do not need. Then, a second heat treatment may be effective if they have properly prepared the room.
Just keep in mind, that if items are removed from the treatment area prior to the heat treatment, they should never be brought back into the room without a thorough inspection. The last thing you want to do is inadvertantly reinfest the home! So we recommend that you discard whatever you can – wherever you can!
So while bed bugs are not necessarily attracted to a messy or cluttered home, it is easier for them to survive in a home where they can hide…and stay hidden.
The solution to clutter of course is to clean and declutter. Click HERE to read a great article on decluttering your bedroom. If you don’t know where to start, there are plenty of home organizers and junk removal companies that can help you declutter your home. CLICK HERE and HERE
Here are some other helpful hints that we have found while providing heat treatments in cluttered areas in order to eliminate bed bugs.
We recommend only keeping one season of clothing in the room. Too many clothes hinder the heat treatment. And really, most people don’t wear half of the clothes that they own!
Avoid storing items underneath your bed. These make great hiding places for bed bugs. If you do have to store items under your bed, it is best if they are stored in plastic tubs with air-tight lids.
Do not accumulate piles of books and papers around your bed. Bed bugs love paper and wiggling into the spines of books. Bed bugs will harbor in the cardboard of boxed sets.
Clear all trash from the room frequently. Even small trash items can harbor unwanted fugitives in your room. And really, who wants to have a lot of trash lying around their home?
Avoid piling things in boxes and storing them in your bedroom. Again, this just leaves more hiding places for bed bugs. Items not in use would be better stored in a basement or garage, away from where human hosts reside.
Don’t keep dirty clothes or dirty laundry lying around as the residual carbon dioxide lingering in the worn clothing items attracts bed bugs. These can be washed and dried on high heat to ensure that no bed bugs or bed bug eggs are habitating in them.
Avoid bringing home stuff that does not have any use in your home such as used furniture that is not needed. You may unknowingly bring bed bugs in your home. Even cardboard boxes can harbor bed bugs. Remember, the less stuff you have, the fewer hiding places there are for the bed bugs.
Heat Treatment to Kill Bed Bugs
We believe with a bit of decluttering you can have a successful heat treatment and eliminate bed bugs and the bed bug infestation. Remember, clutter hides bed bugs; decluttering will expose them. Then you will need a reliable pest control company to deal with the pest problem. You can call us to either provide a full-service heat treatment to eradicate bed bugs. Or you can rent the heating equipment and treat the bed bugs for about half of the cost. We would love to see you debug your bed.
Debug Your Bed
While it is impossible to totally prevent bed bugs, we want to help you eliminate bed bugs if you have them in your home. This may include decluttering. So, you can be free of unwanted pests and be free from stuff, giving your home a fresh, inviting look! We recommend heat treatments as the optimal way to combat bed bugs. Heat kills bed bugs in all stages of their life cycle, including the eggs. READ MORE You can be bedbug-free within 24 hours. Heat treatments do not usually require additional treatments, unlike chemical treatments which have to be repeated often because the chemicals don’t kill the bed bug eggs.
When you give us a call, you will know right away that you are talking to a pest company that specializes in bed bug extermination. That is the only bug we kill – so we are able to offer knowelege and expeience to help you deal with your unique bed bug situation. We don’t want you to suffer from bed bug bites any longer than you need to! We offer a free phone consultation to determine the best course of action for your particular situation. We want you to get your life back to normal and live bed bug free! Just give us a call. We are here to help!