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How to get rid of bedbugs

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Bedbugs can cause itchy bites on people and pets. Unlike most public-health pests, however, bedbugs aren’t known to transmit or spread diseases.

An approach that includes prevention and non-chemical treatment of infestations is the best way to avoid or eliminate a bedbug problem.

Examples of non-chemical methods of bedbug control include:

  • Removing clutter where bedbugs can hide.
  • Using mattress covers designed to contain bedbugs.
  • Sealing cracks and crevices.
  • Vacuuming rugs and upholstered furniture thoroughly and frequently, as well as vacuuming under beds. Take the vacuum bag outside immediately, put in a sealed trash bag, and place it in the garbage can.
  • Washing and drying clothing and bed sheets at high temperatures. Heat can kill bedbugs.Placing clean clothes in sealable plastic bags when possible.
  • Being alert and monitoring for bedbugs so they can be treated before a major infestation occurs.

    Consumers should avoid the use of pesticides to get rid of bedbugs.

    An increase in the number of individuals and companies who offer to control bedbugs with unrealistic promises of effectiveness or low cost is occurring, reports the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

    Because bedbug infestations are difficult to control, pesticides that aren’t intended for indoor residential applications have been improperly used or applied at greater rates than the label allows, according to EPA.

    Consumers should never use or allow anyone else to use a pesticide indoors that is intended for outdoor use, as indicated on the label. Using the wrong pesticide or using it incorrectly to treat for bedbugs can make you, your family, and your pets sick, says EPA, adding it can also make your home unsafe to live in – and may not solve the bedbug problem.

    For more information, see EPA’s Web page on Bedbugs.

    Copyright 2010, Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist

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