Society | Bedbugs: how to get rid of them?

2023-09-27 14:22:29

Far from having disappeared from circulation, bedbugs have been at the heart of the news again in recent days. In question, a passenger on a Marseille-Paris TGV reported this Sunday, September 24 and filmed the presence of insects resembling bedbugs on his seat.

He is not the only one to have pointed out the phenomenon. In the previous days, several Internet users had also shared photos and videos of these insects on their train seats. For now, the SNCF has assured that it will check their presence or not, but if you suspect that you have been in contact with bedbugs on the train, certain measures must be taken.

Precautionary measures in case of suspected contact

If you are planning to travel by train in the near future, it is advisable to leave your luggage closed for the entire journey. And place them on a luggage rack, not on a seat or on the floor.

Then before you sit down, check your seat carefully. To see things more clearly, know that bedbugs are small brown or black insects. When they are engorged with blood, their color can range from red to dark brown. They have an oval shape and are the size of a flattened apple seed, approximately 4 to 7 mm in length. They don’t jump or fly. They leave droppings similar to small black dots, particularly at the seams.

If you have any doubts when you get home, wash the clothes that have been in contact with the train seat or carpet directly in the washing machine, at 60°C. Then vacuum inside and above your suitcase. We also advise you to wash all the clothes inside your suitcase at 60°C always.

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How do you know if you are in contact with bedbugs on a daily basis?

In addition to being visible to the naked eye, the presence of bedbugs can also be seen on the skin. Itching and stinging of the skin may be clues. The bite of bedbugs can cause skin reactions such as redness, swelling and itching. Bedbug bite marks have the particularity of being aligned.

The sooner bedbugs are detected, the better you can get rid of them. There is no other choice than to eradicate them. If contact is confirmed and you see bedbugs in your home, you must take strong action. Vacuum up any bed bugs visible to the naked eye with a vacuum cleaner. You must then use a steam cleaner to burn them since they cannot withstand extreme heat.

Once the bedbugs have been eliminated, it is advisable to spray diatomaceous earth in particularly confined areas and elsewhere! This natural insecticide can be found in DIY stores.

What to do with fabrics, bags and shoes?

To prevent bedbugs from taking refuge in your belongings, you must first pack all clothes, bags and shoes in tightly closed garbage bags while waiting to process them.

Whether it’s clothes or bedding, everything should be machine washed at 60°C. Once the fabrics have been washed, you must place them again in garbage bags and close them tightly while waiting to eradicate all the bedbugs from the other fabrics in your interior.

For more fragile clothes, it is possible to put them in the freezer for 72 hours, since bedbugs cannot tolerate temperature changes. Extreme heat or cold can be drastic.

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Regarding shoes: polyurethane, PVC, cotton, nylon and polyester are generally machine washable like rubber and plastic. So put your shoes in a laundry bag with a mesh to prevent them from getting damaged. Also put clothes or towels to prevent them from banging inside the drum. And set your washing machine to a warm setting, for at least sixty minutes.

However, leather and suede shoes cannot be machine washed. For the latter you will unfortunately have to throw them away, by putting them in a tightly closed garbage bag and specifying on a piece of paper that they are likely to be infected by bedbugs.

The same goes for handbags; it is complex to eradicate bedbugs on leather or suede bags. Their only escape is unfortunately to be thrown away if they become infected.

What to do with your mattress infected with bedbugs?

If the mattress is in good condition, there is no need to throw it away, although this is still recommended to avoid taking any risks. You must vacuum the mattress, the mattress topper, the box spring, the headboard, disinfect the mattress with a steam cleaner. Pay attention to the seams of the mattress, this is where bedbugs get stuck. The same goes for your sofa.

If your mattress is old and you prefer to throw it away, then wrap it in a large plastic cover before transporting it into your home, and leave it outside with a note indicating that it may contain bedbugs. Don’t forget to contact your local decluttering services to have it removed.

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If, despite all this, there are still bed bugs, you should contact a pest control specialist.

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