You should sleep somewhere where there aren’t any bed bugs because bed bugs are gross, right?
Were it so easy.
Unfortunately, the answer to the question of where to sleep when you have bed bugs is a bit counterintuitive.
With many pests, the best thing you can do is quickly get away from them, right? If a wasp or hornet keeps buzzing by you, then you move. If you find yourself standing on an anthill, you jump off as quickly as your legs will allow you.
Not so with bedbugs. With bedbugs, the best thing that you can do is; believe it or not, keep sleeping with the little pests. Why? Well, we’ll get into that as well as offer some tips on how to make the best out of the situation until a more permanent solution can be implemented.
So grab your calamine lotion and let’s jump in.
Really? Keep sleeping with the bed bugs? How do you sleep knowing you have bed bugs?
Excellent question. We’re not saying it will be easy, but soldiering on will actually make it easier to address the infestation.
First some reassurances.
We’d like to remind you that, while bed bugs are annoying and their bites will itch, bed bugs do not spread disease. It doesn’t matter how many times they bite you, you are not going to contract any diseases as a result. This may be of cold comfort when you’re itching like mad, but it’s one less thing to worry about.
Bed bugs are more of a quality of life issue than a health issue (allergies are an exception, so seek medical care immediately if you have an allergic reaction to bed bug bites). Even if they are annoying, you can safely sleep with them. So hopefully that reminder will help you to rest a bit easier.
Why bed bugs will be gone sooner if you keep sleeping with them
To put it simply, the reason that you keep sleeping with bed bugs if you have an infestation is because it keeps the bugs more or less contained.
We’ve mentioned in previous blog posts that bed bugs are very well traveled little creatures. They stow away in our luggage or nestled somewhere in our clothes and when we get home, they settle in and start building a life in their new home.
The less you move around, the fewer opportunities the bed bugs will have to do so as well. If you’re lucky, your bed bug infestation will be limited to a single room. If that is the case, continuing to sleep in your infested bed will help prevent the bugs from infesting other rooms.
In addition to being less gross, this will make treating the infestation much easier and less expensive (if you missed it, see our previous blog that talks about the costs of treating bed bugs).
Also, if you have the luxury of another residence you can stay in and think you can starve the little pests out, think again. Bed bugs can survive for a very long time without food. So it’s best to just stay put and live with them while preparing to treat them.
How to sleep with bed bugs: the how-to guide you never thought you’d need
Between discovering you have a bed bug infestation and implementing a solution, there will probably be a few nights that you’ll have to keep sleeping in your bed but there are some steps you can take to make it easier.
During those nights, there are a few things you can do to minimize the number of times that you get bitten by your unwelcome insect roommates. So how do you keep bed bugs off you while sleeping? We have a few ideas.
Please note that these solutions are very temporary and will not be 100% effective. As long as you have bed bugs, they’ll keep coming after you but if you do one or any combination of these things, you may be able to minimize the number of bugs that are on you.
This is pretty straight forward. Vacuum the infested room and all of the furniture. Move furniture to reach spaces that are sometimes neglected. If you have rugs, lift them up and vacuum underneath.
If you have a vacuum cleaner with interchangeable heads, then use the head that has the most stiff bristles as this will be more effective at moving fibers in carpets, mattresses and rugs and will more readily dislodge a bed bug from its hiding place.
It may help if you go over surfaces with a brush first and then vacuum.
Once you’ve vacuumed, dispose of the bag immediately. If you have a no-bag vacuum, then empty the chamber (outside) and thoroughly clean it.
Vacuuming will not get all of the bugs. But it can reduce their population a bit and anything that disrupts their nesting is good for you.
Use a steam cleaner
Bed bugs are sensitive to extreme temperatures. Especially the heat.
Steam cleaners can emit jets of steam that can get well over 200 degrees Fahrenheit, significantly higher than any temperature that a bed bug can survive. Indeed, this is the reason that heat treatment is so widely used in treating bed bug infestations.
Steam cleaning an entire room might be too time consuming and tedious so if you go with this solution, focus on your bed. Completely strip your bed and launder your bedding. While the washing machine is doing its thing, steam clean your mattress, your bed frame, your box spring, everything. Don’t miss an inch!
Take special care to steam crevices and seams on the angles of your mattress, box spring and bed frame. Bed bugs love to hide out in these places so make sure they get a good blast of hot steam.
Get a mattress cover
One way to prevent bed bugs from getting to you is putting a barrier between you and them. This can be partially achieved with a mattress cover.
Note that this won’t kill the bugs and since they can live for some time without eating, they’ll just wait for you to remove the cover and it will provide very limited (in any) protection from bed bugs nesting in other locations in your room.
Wear long clothing
Bed bugs actually need to be on your skin to bite you. If you wear long clothing, especially if it’s made from a thicker fabric, it will be much harder for bed bugs to get to you. Supplement your long pajamas with some socks to protect your feet.
Suspect everything, trust nothing
As we mentioned above, unfortunately, these solutions will help you to cope with sleeping with bed bugs, but they will not eliminate the problem. Until you’ve thoroughly treated an infestation, suspect that there are bed bugs or bed bug eggs hiding in every nook and cranny of an infested room and act accordingly.
To that end, we are here to help!
We have an array of DIY solutions to a bed bug infestation that can help you to eliminate the problem. If you prefer to have a more practiced hand to deal with the little monsters, our pest control experts have the knowledge and experience to identify and quantify the extent of an infestation and, most importantly, they know how to eliminate them.
If you’re lamenting that the best answer to your query about where to sleep if you have bed bugs is with the bed bugs, we can help you to reduce the amount of time you have to keep doing so and we’ll work until the infestation is gone.
Get in touch. We can help.