Just thinking about fleas and bedbugs is enough to make you itch. But, unfortunately, these pests are an all too common nuisance within homes. They invade our space and parasitically feed off our bodies and pets, spreading and causing diseases.
The first sign you’ll have of a flea or bedbug infestation is finding bites or sores on your body or your family members. Some people may even be hypersensitive to their bitings, resulting in swelling and widespread red blisters.
Fortunately, it is possible to maintain a bug-free space following a series of steps that include:
- Locating the hiding spots.
- Containing the infested area and items.
- Using heat to wash and dry bedding, pet toys, and other washable items.
Dealing with fleas and bedbugs infestation doesn’t have to be a challenge. Use these tips to get rid of them and keep them out for good.
5 Steps To Get Rid of Fleas and Bedbugs
A flea and bedbug infestation is no joke because when these bugs invade your space, they breed frequently and rapidly. Therefore, you need to act fast to keep the situation under control.
Below are effective measures to consider:
Step #1: Find the Bugs
Dedicate at least a day to locating the source of these bugs. This can be difficult to do as these bugs are skilled in hiding and can survive away from you or your pest.
Fleas can live away from your pet’s skin and prefer a nice plush carpet to bounce around in. Unfortunately, they are also easy to spot, and will usually crawl along a pet human body, or burrow into furniture to hide, so be on the lookout.
Excessive itching, scratching, and visible flea dirt on your pet’s skin and fur are signs of a problem you must watch out for.
Bed bugs are harder to see, but you can identify them by the black or dark brown spots they leave on bedding and mattresses.
Also, when you wake up with red sores on the upper part of your body, this is a sign of a bed bug infestation. Little spots like the seams on your mattress or in the corners of your bed frame are their favorite hangouts.
They are also happy to hang out in areas well away from your bed, and their other favorite hiding places may include:
- Or on your folded clothes.
Cracks and crevices in your furniture, walls, and skirting, on appliances, or behind picture frames and wall outlets are potential hiding spots. Anywhere dark and protected is a perfect place for bed bugs to hide.
Look for the bugs themselves, their dark droppings, your dried blood, eggs, and gold-colored shells they leave behind after molting.
How Can You Tell Them Apart?
You can tell the difference between a bed bug and a flea by how they look. Bed bugs are oval, flat, and brown or reddish brown. Fleas are thin with long legs and are brown or red in appearance.
Step #2: Contain the Affected Area and Items
Once you have found fleas and bedbugs, close the infested rooms to prevent further infection. Avoid moving toys or furniture from one room to the other, as you risk spreading the bugs further.
Keep your family and pets out to avoid the bugs from jumping and using them as an escape route.
Remove bed linens, all clothing, furniture covers, and other items from the affected area, and place them in an air-tight plastic bag until you can wash them. Use specialized bed bug covers (encasements) on your mattress if bed bugs are present.
Step #3: Declutter To Reduce Hiding Spots
A cluttered home and yard provide more places for fleas and bedbugs to hide, making locating and treating them harder. Before cleaning, reduce the amount of clutter indoors and out.
Warm and dark spaces attract bedbugs and fleas. Throwing out unneeded items such as cardboard, newspapers, and magazines and tidying up any item off the floor helps reduce these bugs’ hiding spots.
Step #4: Use Heat When Washing and Drying
Fleas and bed bugs require a thorough cleaning approach to eradicate them. These bugs cannot handle high temperatures, so heat is an efficient way to eliminate them in large groups.
To get rid of fleas:
- Clean and treat your pet with a flea shampoo or spray from your veterinarian. Giving your pet a thorough wash isn’t enough.
Once you treat your pet, focus your cleaning efforts on the indoor premises. Pay particular attention to areas of the home where the pet sleeps or spends the most time.
Clean the surfaces with a diluted solution of bleach. You can also spray diluted bleach solution on cracks and corners, paying attention to damp or dark areas.
- Launder all the infested beddings, blankets, rugs, clothes, and curtains in the washing machine in boiling water at 140 degrees Fahrenheit, and tumble dry for at least 20 minutes.
Put things you cannot launder, such as pet toys, in the clothes dryer at high heat for approximately 10-20 minutes and then tumble dry them.
- Regular and thorough vacuuming solves a mild flea infestation. Using the highest suction setting, vacuum all carpeted areas, rugs, floors, upholstered furniture, and other surfaces. Use the hose on your vacuum cleaner to reach tight spaces such as carpet seams and room corners.
Ensuring the fleas that leave your homestay are gone is the last step. To avoid escapees, seal and toss every vacuum bag and waste that leaves your home.
- Moderate to heavy infestations, however, will require using a steamer on carpets, baseboards, cracks and crevices, and other areas where fleas may be present. Also, steam bedding, mattresses, curtains, furniture, carpeting, and other areas where fleas may thrive.
To eliminate bed bugs:
- Clean the surfaces of the infected areas with bleach, including the floor, walls, and shelves.
- Put all your infested beddings, clothes, and curtains in the washing machine in boiling water at 140 degrees Fahrenheit and dry for at least 20 minutes. Put things you cannot launder, such as shoes and toys, in the clothes dryer at high heat for approximately 10-20 minutes to kill the bedbugs.
- For fabric items you cannot wash in the machine, like a mattress or sofa, you can try using a steamer. A steamer kills germs and bugs with piping-hot steam.
Steamers are handy as you can blow the hot steam into small nooks and crannies around your bed or sofa. Also, you can steam the hard surfaces where bed bugs like to hide, like on bookcases or around bed legs.
- To get rid of bedbugs, their dander, droppings, and eggs, thoroughly vacuum and steam the area. Vacuum the room’s rugs, floors, upholstered furniture, bed frames, bed undersides, around the bed’s legs, and all other nooks and crannies.
Prevent bed bugs from escaping by replacing the bag after each usage. Put the used bag in a closed plastic bag outside in the trash.
Step #5: Monitor the Situation To Prevent a Recurrence
You can have a re-infestation without proper maintenance. So to kick these bugs out and kick them out for good:
- Inspect hotspots for the next few hours and days to check for bedbugs and fleas eggs.
- Wash and treat your pets regularly with a flea shampoo or spray.
- Please clean your pet’s living enclosure and regularly replace his toys and bedding. The clean his environment is, the less likely it will be to get fleas.
Also, pay particular attention to outdoor areas where your pet likes to hang out. Clear shrubs and cut long grass to minimize flea nesting spots.
- Practice frequent cleaning methods around your home, such as regularly dusting and vacuuming.
Getting rid of fleas and bedbugs is a straightforward process. First, when you notice bites on your skin or your pet scratching, act fast and find the bugs hiding spots.
Next, contain these areas and all other infested items before cleaning. Using heat is your best weapon in the fight against fleas and bedbugs.
Wash and dry the infested items with the highest heat setting possible: vacuum and steam clean rooms and the hard-to-reach corners. The final step is to monitor the items and affected areas and to repeat the above steps to prevent a re-infestation.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Kills Both Fleas and Bedbugs?
The best treatment that kills fleas and bed bugs at all stages of their lifecycle is using heat. Wash your bedding and pets’ bedding and toys using boiling water.
Steaming any material you cannot wash is ideal. You will want to repeat this process for 14 days to eliminate these bugs.
Can You Have Fleas and Bedbugs at the Same Time?
Yes. A flea infestation is a pet care issue among pets that do not receive preventive flea treatment. In addition, bed bugs can invade your luggage, especially when traveling, which is how they find their way inside your home.
They can also come with items you purchase or rent, like used furniture. Bedbugs also move from room to room in multi-unit structures like apartments.