How to get rid of bed bugs

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This is a public guide based on my own experience, on how to get rid of bed bugs in your house.

I am not a business and not advertising a service, and am not associated with any product I mention.
However, the bed bug problem took me 4 years to get on top of, and I made a couple of mistakes, and spent in the region of £1500 which hopefully you can avoid, and get the problem ironed out in a few weeks.

I will also assume the following:
1) You have a clean house (regularly vacuumed)
2) You do not see bed bugs during the day

If either of the above are true, then you need to keep a tidy house, and for (2) probably get professionals in, because you have a serious problem.

How they arrive
Bed bugs are usually introduced into a house, by either 
1) second hand furniture (in the bedroom), or
Second hand mattresses are the number one cause. Never buy a second hand mattress, bedding, beds, or furniture. You are taking a serious risk.
They live in the coils of the mattress, or the seams. They live in the joints of the wood of furniture. I've even seen one in my bedside lamp shade.
2) by other people who also have the problem, but its like a disease - if you have it, you dont broadcast it.
3) Luggage from overseas trips.
Bed bugs have been introduced into the UK more recently by luggage, than anything else, with the surge of international travel. Did you come back from holiday to an exotic place ? They live in planes, and on the underground.

Lesser known facts about bed bugs
1) They can go without food for a long long time. If you know they are in some valuable furniture, but still want it. Be prepared to starve them to death by putting it in the garage or self storage for 3 years. Yes, thats 3 years.
2) They can survive extreme temperatures, (-30 C to 70 C). However, they don't survive thermal shock so well. By that, I mean a swift change in temperature
3) They are lazy.
4) They love the dark, and hate the light, hence tend to be active during the night.
5) They LIVE in CLOTHES. I once had a "professional" tell me they don't live in clothes. He was wrong. They like to be near the host - you, and because they are lazy, clothes are perfect.
If you find yourself scratching during the day, be prepared to identify the clothes and throw them away if not too expensive. Its one less bed bug for sure.
6) They lay eggs every 2 weeks.

My experience of "Professionals"
========================
I had one guy come around, and put down some really sticky pads around my bed legs. Next day he found - nothing. Yep, I had a problem, and it was small, but he could not identify where they were. So he used a chemical spray and said the problem was gone. Two weeks and £300 later, I was still getting bitten.
 
By now, I knew they were in my clothes. I.e in the wardrobe. The cuffs, maybe the arms.
I used some professionals called IGROX. I told them what to use (liquid carbon dioxide spray for the wardrobe), but they knew better, so they sent around 2 people who brought a giant tent and some coat racks.

The idea was simple. The tent was heated from some hot fans (powered from my mains), and my clothes placed on the racks, and moved into the tent. The tent was then sealed for 30 mins. The process repeated for all our clothes.
IGROX sprayed chemicals around our bed etc, and did the same 2 weeks later. £700 and  4 weeks later , I was still bitten. I asked for my money back but IGROX said I had somehow re-introduced the bugs in the interim period, then threatened me with court action. I reluctantly paid - very hard to disprove it, and a lawyer would only complicate the matter.

IGROX however, gave me an idea - they were effectively using an oven.

However, to take advantage of thermal shock, I would put the offending item in the freezer overnight. The next day, I would then heat it up - in the oven.

So I started putting my clothes in an oven for 40 minutes at about 100C and it will do the same job. Be careful not to singe the clothes - use aluminium foil and a flat baking tray.
I also realised I can also MICROWAVE the clothes. To do this, place it on a plate and cover the item with cling wrap. The cling wrap has the effect of trapping the heat and accelerating the process. Microwaves have dead spots in them so the chances of killing a bed bug are not 100%. Sometimes the critters explode, leaving a dark stain in the clothing. A good wash is then required.

Finally, for the actual bed, we did the following.
1) Taped the base of the legs.
2) Bought some stuff from 
http://www.hygienesuppliesdirect.com

I spent about £100 with these guys, and did it myself (some spray and some smoke bombs) and it was more effective than IGROX or anyone else.
I then did it again 2 weeks later, and the bed bug problem diminished. I had to do it again about 3 months later, then finally got rid of them in the bedroom.

Slowly but surely I eliminated them from the clothes, via a combination of  throwing away clothes, and freezing/oven/microwaving.

NOTE: Microwaving can leave BURN MARKS on the clothes if run for more than 2 minutes. I ran for 2 minutes, then waited for 30 seconds, then another 2 minutes. The clothes can often smell as well. It is faster than an over, but more risky.

The oven is better because of an even heat distribution, but be sure to set an alarm to remember to turn it off.

Finally, by way of dissociation, anything you do is entirely at your own risk and this is only documented experience, not professional advice.
I am sure IGROX do a good job for most of their customers, but in my case it was a lot of money to shell out for no result.




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