Bed bugs. Ugh. As soon as you think they’re gone, you find them somewhere else. It’s like the creepy little monsters are following you around. You finally managed to kill all of them in the bedroom, but you are still getting bitten. They migrated to your couch. Now what? Your furniture is a lot bigger and heavier than your mattress. Will you have to replace it? Will you ever get rid of the pests? Keep reading. We’ll teach you how to get rid of bed bugs in furniture.
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How Do I Get Rid of Bed Bugs in Furniture?
Bedbugs live by sucking blood from people. They will suck blood from your pets if they’re desperate, but that’s the limit. That means you can’t kill them with bait because they won’t eat it. It also means that almost all sprays or poisons kill only if they are applied directly on the bug. If you’re getting bitten at night, this article explains how to get rid of bed bugs in a mattress.
Bedbugs go where you go. If there are bedbugs anywhere in your home, they can travel to every other room. Despite their name, they are not restricted to your bed. There’s information here on using a bed bug sleeping bag for protection when away from home. Bedbugs can inhabit your furniture even after you’ve eliminated them in your bedroom. Getting rid of them in your furniture is a challenge.
Your Vacuum Is Your Friend
Start with vacuuming thoroughly. Use a narrow attachment, so that you can get into all the cracks and crevices. Bedbugs have flat bodies and can hide in very tiny places. Give extra attention to any seams and corners. Your vacuum can suck up eggs, juveniles, and adult bed bugs. If you don’t have a major infestation, frequent vacuuming may eliminate the problem.
Bedbugs can go for months without eating. They can live in your vacuum cleaner bag and infest the next place you vacuum. When you’re vacuuming the bugs, immediately remove the bag, seal it in a plastic bag and dispose of it outdoors.
How Do I Kill Them
If persistent vacuuming doesn’t eliminate bed bugs in your furniture, the next non-toxic step to try is steam. Heat kills bed bugs, but it must be at least 160 degrees F to be effective. If you can use steam that hot without damaging your furniture, then you will destroy the eggs as well as the juvenile and adult bugs.
Steam that is 140 degrees F will kill the bugs but not the eggs. For steam to be effective, you’ll need to treat your furniture more than one time.
You can try sprays if the bugs outlive the steam treatment. Most sprays or chemicals that are strong enough to kill bedbugs are also toxic to humans and animals. You may have to move your furniture to an area that’s off-limits to your children and pets.
Consumers recommend two products for killing bed bugs in furniture:
- Bedlam Plus – an aerosol that contains imidacloprid, a chemical insecticide. The formulation kills all stages of bedbugs, including eggs, on contact. It must be used very carefully as it should not come into contact with your skin.
- Proof Bed Bug Spray – it’s formulated from neem oil, which is generally non-toxic. It kills all stages of bedbugs on contact.
Both these products are available online and in retail stores.
You can also purchase many other products manufactured to kill pests. It’s important to read the labels carefully, to make sure they’re safe to use on furniture. You’re well advised to do a test patch first with any product even if it claims to be safe to use on wood or fabric.
How Do I Treat Furniture
In addition to the necessity of spraying poisons directly on bedbugs to kill them, the bugs have become resistant to many poisons. Rather than using stronger and stronger insecticides, you have another method to try that is very effective. Food grade DE kills bed bugs.
Desiccants Dry Them Out
DE is a dust made from the fossilized remains of diatoms. Diatoms are members of the algae family and have a cell structure that contains silica. Silica is a well-known desiccant. The anatomy of bed bugs makes them vulnerable to desiccants. DE absorbs the bed bug’s body fluids, and it dies from dehydration.
As a powdery dust, DE is easy for you to shake or blow into crevices and seams where the bed bugs are hiding. It also has a long-lasting residual effect, so any bugs that hatch after you apply it will die. DE is safe to use on most furniture. Avoid breathing the dust, and follow all package instructions carefully.
CimeXa Insecticide Dust is a relatively new product that is made from “engineered silica.” According to the manufacturer, it can be applied as a dust, or it can be mixed with water and sprayed. It’s safe for use on furniture, but like any silica product, it’s harmful if inhaled.
You can try any of the methods discussed above for eradicating bed bugs in upholstered furniture. Depending on the kind of fabric used and the type of upholstery, you may have success. The biggest difficulty will be getting to the bugs hiding in the tufts and seams.
If the upholstery is thick, you aren’t going to be able to get sprays or even steam to penetrate deeply enough, even if you soak the fabric. You might be able to get DE or CimeXa deep enough, but you’ll probably need more than one treatment.
You may have to resort to a pesticide known as DDVP. DDVP is a manufactured product officially known as 2,2-dichlorovinyl dimethyl phosphate or dichlorvos. DDVP is highly toxic. It’s also highly effective.
DDVP is available in a variety of products. For furniture, the DDVP-impregnated strips are recommended by pest control experts.
Brands of strips include:
- Hot Shot No-Pest Strips.
- Nuvan ProStrips.
- Ortho Home Defense MAX No-Pest Insecticide Strip.
You must follow the instructions very carefully when using the strips and not let them touch your skin or breathe the fumes.
As well as the strips, you will need plastic furniture bags that are large enough to completely encase each piece of furniture.
Place a strip inside each bag and tightly seal. Leave the furniture sealed in the plastic bag with the strip for at least a week. The furniture must be aired away from humans and pets after you remove it from the plastic bag.
Bedbugs can move from one piece of furniture to another, but only by crawling. Their top speed is about four feet per minute if there are no obstacles. They don’t have usable wings and cannot fly. Nor can bed bugs jump.
Bed bugs can’t climb up smooth surfaces. That’s why bed bug interceptors can keep them from traveling from your carpet or other parts of the room to your furniture. By hiding in your clothes or possessions, bed bugs rely on you to move them from one area to another.
Regardless of how you eradicate bedbugs in your furniture, you need to take one more step to prevent re-infestation. Place bedbug interceptors, or traps, under the legs of each piece of furniture. They’ll keep bedbugs from climbing up the legs and infesting furniture. You can learn here how a bed bug mattress protector will keep them out of your bed.
Interceptor brands include:
- Blackout Bed Bug Detector,
- Bug Slayer Bed Bug Trap,
- Climbup Insect Interceptors,
- Hot Shot Bed Bug Detector,
- Lights Out Bed Bug Trap,
- Raid Bed Bug Detector.
These are readily available online and at many retail outlets.
It can be easier to kill bedbugs infesting non-upholstered furniture than upholstered furniture. Vacuuming thoroughly will eliminate most of the problem. If at all possible, take the furniture apart, so that you can reach all the crevices. For example, you can unscrew chair legs to get at the bugs hiding between the top of the leg and the bottom of the seat.
You can put DE in all the joints of the furniture. If the bugs have infested drawers, you can sprinkle DE in the drawers. You can continue to use the drawers by sealing items in plastic bags, but if it’s possible, avoid using them until the bugs are gone, and you can remove the DE dust.
The Best Way to Treat Large Furniture
Killing bedbugs in large furniture can be a challenge, especially if it’s upholstered. Start with vacuuming as you would with smaller pieces. You can also try steaming if the upholstery isn’t too thick.
Depending on how severe the infestation is, heat may be your best choice for eliminating bed bugs. Heat kills bedbug eggs, juveniles, and adults, often with just one treatment. Heat is also non-toxic. Using heat to kill bugs means you don’t have to be concerned that you’ve treated every little hiding place, as the heat completely penetrates the furniture.
You can hire professional pest control companies to heat treat furniture or your whole home. Another option is to purchase portable heat treatment equipment. You can purchase equipment in sizes that will enclose even the largest pieces of furniture.
If you decide to use heat treatment to eliminate bedbugs in furniture, ZappBug Room™ equipment is available to consumers for personal use.
It measures 111″ x 80″ x 57.5″, so you can fit your largest pieces of furniture in it, including:
It’s safe for wood and fabrics.
You can also fill it with smaller items that are infested, including:
ZappBug Room™ uses residential 120V 1500W electrical power.
Eradicating bedbugs in furniture can be challenging. If you spot one bug, you can be sure there’s more. Fortunately, you don’t have to throw away furniture, bedding, or other possessions. You have more than one way to kill bed bugs. Not all remedies are toxic. It is possible to safely make your home bed-bug free.
You can find further details of Bed Bugs Control here.