Bed Bugs Removal in Montreal : several options
Bed bugs removal : a three step approach
The experts agree: there is no miracle solution for getting rid of bed bugs. They are tough, formidable insects, able to resist insecticide and survive a year without eating. Without proper precautions, the smallest of infestations can spiral out of control. This is why proper care is important when dealing bed bugs.
Scientific sources as well as government websites (source) agree that proper bed bug extermination requires a 3-step approach:
- Physical approach, using a steam cleaner
- Chemical approach, with an exterminator
- Preventive approach, by stopping the infestation before it starts
Here is what you need to know about the physical and the chemical approach.
Physical approach : Bed bugs emoval with steam
Heat is the mortal enemy of beg bugs. On everything you can't put in your clothes dryer, you should use a high quality steam cleaner. Not to be confused carpet cleaning machines, these can't clean hard to reach spots, and lack the temperature required to exterminate bed bugs. Steam cleaning machines have the advantage of being able to clean every nook and cranny, from cracks in your mattress, your baseboards, to your carpet and clothes. Above all else, steam is a 100% natural, and green way of exterminating bed bugs.
Did you know?
Commercial quality steam cleaners are the only machines able to eliminate bed bugs at every stage of their developpement, including eggs. (source)
When chosing a steam machine it is important to pick the correct type of machine. The machine must get hot enough to kill the bugs, and have enough performance to keep it's pressure and temperature up long enough. Here's what you need to know:
1. Pick a dry steam machine
When picking a steam machine, you want a dry steam machine. Dry steam is water turned entirely to a gas state, it is much hotter than humid steam. In fact, humid steam can actually be counterproductive as it can help the development of mold.
2. Steam must be superior to 300 degrees Farenheit
The hotter the better. Hot steam must come into direct contact with the bed bug in order to kill it. As with most insects, bed bugs cannot survive temperatures over 120 degrees. However, as the bugs can burrow into fabrics, a machine able to produce steam over 300 degrees will maximise your chances of a succesful extermination.
2. Pick a cleaner with the right accessory tools
Make sure you're using the correct tool for the job, when fighting bed bugs :
Triangle tool with a microfibre cloth, use this tool for sofas, mattresses, carpets and more.
Rectacle tool, also used with a microfibre cloth. The bigger brush surface is perfect for carpets.
The Lance tool is perfect for hard to reach nooks, crannies, cracks, and hard to reach areas.
You can clean with a steam cleaner:
- Almost everything in your home, including mattresses, sofas, chairs, car seats, luggage, baths, shows, ceramic tile, windows, ventilation ducts and more.
You can't clean with a steam cleaner:
- Power outlets
Chemical Approach - Bed bugs removal by chemicals
A word of caution about insecticide if you're thinking about using them yourself: these chemicals are dangerous and can cause death. The worst part? These powerful poisons are usually unable to kill bedbug eggs. On top of all this, adult bed bugs are becoming more and more resistant to these chemicals.
Insecticide, when used carefully, can yield good results as part of a bed bug extermination plan, but as discussed previously, it is not enough on it's own. It is essential to use a steam cleaning machine after, to kill the eggs, as well as any remaining survivors.
Keep in mind the following :
- Only do business with a certified exterminator from your government. In Quebec, the ministère du Développement durable, de l'Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (MDDELCC).
- You must wait a minimum of 6 hours before going into a room with a chemical treatment. This waiting time can be more depending on your health. Err on the side of caution, and always listen to the instruction given by your exterminator.
- On your return, properly ventilate all rooms and avoid walking barefoot for a few days.
- Two exterminator visits are often necessary as the chemicals used are not enough to kill bed bug eggs.
Should you buy or rent a steam cleaner? The answer depends on your specific needs.
First, know that you need to use a commercial-strength steam cleaner to kill bed bugs. Cheaper machines simply cannot produce steam of a high enough temperature to kill bed bugs.
- A commercial steam cleaner can be expensive if you only plan to use it seldomly (expect to pay more than 1000$ for a good machine). If this is your case, renting a machine is your best option.
- Buying a machine can ben an intersting option if you live in a high-risk environnment, if you travel often or if you can share the cost with family members or friends.
- Steam cleanrs are not all the same. To kill bed bugs, you absolutely must use a commercial steam cleaner, capable of producing high temperature dry steam.
Did you know?
JM Vapeur rents commercial steam cleaners in the Greater Montreal are. For more information, click here.
Are you interested in purchasing a steam cleaner? Contact us for more information.
Steam cleaning tips
1. Empty your bedroom
You don't want to miss any area when cleaning. As explained before, begin by washing all your clothes, bedding and drapes at the highest possible temperature. These should then be kept outside of your bedroom until you are done cleaning. You should then vacuum the whole room.
2. Begin with your bed
The bed is where bed bugs usually live. A deep, thorough cleaning is therefore essential. Start with your mattress. Keep in mind that bed bugs, larvaes and eggs must be exposed to the steam directly for at least a few seconds before they die.
This is why you need to take your time, and shoot steam on inch square inch of your mattress for a few seconds. Spend more time on seams, handles and labels on the mattress. Bed bugs are more liekly to be hidden in these areas. Repeat the operation under the mattress as well as on the sides. Also steam clean your bedframe.
Don't forget that bed bugs can live up to a year without feeding, and that only a few of them can rebuild a whole colony. It is therefore a good idea to steam clean your bed room after a few weeks.
Once you are adone cleaning, let the mattress dry for a few hours. The great thing about steam cleaners is that they leave only little humidty in fabric.
3. Clean your clothes
Bed bugs love fabric, and can therefore live in your clothes. Infestations often begin by bed bugs hiding in clothes when traveling.
The good news is that steam is an effective and safe way to kill bed bugs in clothes. You can save time by stacking multiple items of clothing and steam cleaning the pile. Just remember to let the fabric reach a high enough temperature.
If you have traveled recently, repeat the same steps with your luggage.
4. Continue by steam cleaning your bedroom furniture
Inspect your whole bedroom, making sure to move every piece of furniture to check behind. Steam clean every surface, crack, hole, and any other potential bed bug hiding spot.
5. Finish by steam cleaning sofas and carpets
Even though bed bugs usually live near beds, they can sometimes travel elsewhere in your home. Take every precaution, and steam clean every sofa and carpet in your house.
6. Inspect every surface
Once you are done cleaning, inspect your whole house again.
6. Work efficiently
When steam cleaning, keep in mind these few important tips:
- Make sure that the steam comes in direct contact with the surface you are cleaning. Indirect steam will not suffice when killing bed bugs.
- Try to use a continuous steam cleaner (with both a boiler and a separate water tank). This will save you any downtime when working.
- Keep the hose nozzle at a slight angle to avoid pushing bed bugs forward as you clean.
7. Be patient
It is essential that you take your time when using a steam cleaner to kill bed bugs. Each square inch must be exposed to steam for a sufficient amount of time in order for the surface you are cleaning to reach a high enough temperature. Obviously, the better the steam cleaner, the hotter the steam, and the faster bed bugs will die. (source).