Bedbugs are small, flightless insects that feed on blood, sometimes leaving small marks that look like mosquito bites. They are so-named because they particularly like to time their meal times for when their host is lying in bed and they often set up shop very close to – or in – the bed itself. They can grow to a maximum length of about 5mm and are relatively flat. You may spot them or their skins which they shed, or you may see bite marks, often in rows, unlike mosquito bites. They can be hard to treat, even with the potent chemicals used by professionals. Baking powder is commonly used as a human-safe substitute.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Vacuum cleaner
- Baking powder
Identify the rooms that need treatment. These will almost certainly be bedrooms, but infestations can occur and spread rapidly, so a house-wide treatment may be necessary. Vacuum very carefully in every crevice and crack in the lower walls and skirting boards that you can find, and consider loosening the joints on your bed frame and hovering in there too, along with vacuuming your other furniture.
Remove your bed sheets and any clothing in the room and wash them on a high temperature before also vacuuming your mattress. Remove any unnecessary items from your rooms and store outside if possible, otherwise, treat them in the same way.
Sprinkle baking powder – you may need a lot – all over your carpets, mattress, bed frame and skirting boards. Use a paintbrush to get in tighter cracks and gaps because being so flat bedbugs can squeeze into the tightest of cracks. Leave the baking powder for a day or more before vacuuming up – the powder dries out the bedbugs, killing them.
Repeat the process if necessary. It is likely you will need more than one go to make this work as there will be some survivors, including eggs that can lay around for a long time. Cover your mattress with a bedbug-proof mattress cover.
Tips and warnings
- Try adding salt to your baking powder to improve performance.
- Try using diatomaceous earth instead of baking powder, which is also chemical-free.
- Call professionals if the problem persists.
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