Hopefully, soldier, you have read the briefing on our enemy. With the knowledge you’ve obtained from the Know Your Enemy briefing, you now know what we’re up against. Now we can get into how you can kill bed bugs yourself without professional help, or at the very least, incur huge casualties in the enemy forces. In addition, we want to be precise, clean, and efficient in our strikes to maximize damage to the enemy while eliminating collateral damage to ourselves, loved ones, or property.
In that interest, use of chemical pesticides in general are strongly discouraged: not only are they largely ineffective on bed bugs today, they also pose a very real threat to your health and that of your loved ones if used improperly. It’s best not to take those kinds of chances against an enemy that is a extreme nuisance at best. Use of isopropyl alcohol is also discouraged: prolonged inhalation of the fumes is hazardous to human health, it is highly flammable, and it has NO effect on the enemy’s eggs. There are a few exceptions to the general rule, however. More information on these exceptions can be read below.
Here you will learn about the combat applications of our greatest tools and weapons: heat, prevention, and physical barriers/ methods. One tool alone would be ineffective: only by using all of these things together will you stand a ghost of a chance of eradicating our bloodsucking adversaries. Bed bug eradication in most cases is a gradual process: the tactics discussed below need to be consistently applied regularly in order to see results.
Physical Barriers/ Defenses
- Mattress Covers– As the name implies, this item completely covers your mattress and box spring and is sealed shut via a zipper. Keep in mind that each cover can only fit one mattress at a time, so to gain maximum protection, you may want to acquire two mattress covers: one for the mattress itself and the other for your box spring. You would benefit most from mattress covers that are bed bug proof: these are specially designed so they cannot bite you through the material. It is recommended to treat your mattress and box springs prior to fitting them with a mattress cover due to their ability to survive for extended periods without a blood meal. Even if you choose to install the mattress covers without treating your mattress and box spring, at least the enemy won’t be able to get to you once they are trapped inside. Additionally, a covered box spring and mattress leaves any bed bugs outside the cover no safe areas to hide, making future treatments that much easier.
- Interceptor Traps– these traps as shown in the image are placed underneath the legs or wheels of your bed or chair. The way this barrier works is that the bugs can climb in from the outside or from the center well from the bed or chair, but when they climb into the outer pitfall section, they are unable to climb out due to the smooth, slippery surface, leaving them in a vulnerable and prime position to be disposed of by means of heat, freezing, or simply throwing away the entire trap. It is, however, advisable to terminate the enemy with extreme prejudice not only to prevent them from invading others, but also so that you can re-use the interceptor to capture additional bugs. Depending on the size of your bed, you’ll need anywhere from four to six individual traps. Fortunately, multiple units come in a package. Be sure to inspect your bed to see how many legs it has so that you can plan and buy accordingly. With these traps set, you are the bait: any enemy located outside the bed will be drawn to you, but will never make it, while any bugs remaining in the bed may try to leave the bed to hide only to get caught in the traps.
- ZappBug Heat Treatment Bags/Chambers: As the name implies, these units are chambers into which you can place most kinds of items for treatment and range in size from a medium suitcase to the size of a small room. The chamber can then be heated to above 120 degrees Fahrenheit, which will kill all life stages of your target. This useful equipment is also equipped with a timer (6 to 8 hours is a highly recommended setting). This is a very useful device to include in your arsenal, and is an effective means of prevention, especially if you have been staying at a hotel or other location where the bed bug status is unknown, suspected, or confirmed. Upon arrival at home base, simply place your luggage into the treatment chamber and set the timer to 6 to 8 hours. Be advised, however, that active units should not be left unattended in the interest of safety and proper functioning. Also be advised that some items such as electronics may be sensitive to heat and treatment of these items are not recommended. Fortunately, it is rare for bed bugs to hide in your electronics, preferring to hide in areas closer to their hosts with easy access to them.
- Steam Cleaners: As with the US Armed Forces’ M16s, steam cleaners will be your weapon of choice against the bed bug scourge. They come in a variety of models and prices suiting all manner of budgets, low or high. The best ones will come with additional attachments such as nozzles, hose extensions, etc. The steam emitted from these cleaners can reach up to 250 degrees Fahrenheit, resulting in instant death to any bugs in direct contact with the steam. Not only can the steam cleaner instantly kill any bed bugs you see, it can be used to treat most objects, carpets, and can be applied to small nooks and crannies. Be sure to go over your entire mattress, box spring, and frame with the steam, taking care to treat any crevices, holes, or gaps to annihilate any enemy units or their eggs where they may be hiding. For maximum lethal effect, the nozzle should be 1 to 2 inches from the treated surface and moved at a pace of 1 to 2 inches per second over the surface. Following these guidelines are extremely important in killing the enemy on contact in their possible harborage areas.
- Vacuums: Vacuum cleaners are a great weapon to use to remove enemy units of the nymph and adult life stages from any surface, although eggs may resist suction due to their sticky nature, nor does this process directly kill any of the targets. Although any vacuum cleaner can be used to remove enemy units from your bed, furniture, etc, it is highly recommended that you employ the use of a vacuum unit that not only makes use of a HEPA filter to prevent any escapees, but is also compatible with disposable bags to enable quick and easy disposal of any captured enemy units. It is recommended that you take the bag to an outside dumpster or trash can to eliminate any chance of the enemy escaping and repopulating your home. Using a bagless vacuum is possible, but take special care to empty the contents into a plastic bag, tie it securely, tie that bag inside another bag for added security, and deposit the bag into an outdoor garbage can or dumpster. Lethal force with a steamer inside the vacuum’s containment chamber is highly advised to eliminate any enemy units or eggs that may still be inside, just to be safe.
- Pesticides: If one is to resort to chemical warfare, you’ll want to use chemical agents that have been registered with and approved by the EPA. In addition, you’ll want to avoid applying any pesticides that would come into direct contact with your skin such as your bed, sofa, or chair. These would be best applied to cracks and crevices. To maximize effectiveness, you will need to apply three kinds of pesticides: contact killers which will kill the bugs on contact, but will usually evaporate within a day; residuals that kill enemy units more slowly, but remains active for a longer period of time; and diatomaceous earth powders that can be used along cracks, crevices, and inside the walls. For proper use and safety, it is crucial that you ALWAYS read and follow the instructions on the labels of all pesticides.
Congratualations, soldier, you have just learned about the weapons and gear you will need to combat the bed bug hordes. Now that we know what to use and how to use it, it’s time that we formulate and execute an effective battle plan to wipe the enemy off the face of the earth for good. Report to the next page here.