Bed Bug Extermination Tips

Bedbugs are small brown insects that are oval in shape and survive on the blood of animals or humans.  They are flat in appearance and around the size of an apple seed but when they have fed, their bodies bloat up and turn a reddish colour with the blood.

Bedbugs don’t fly but can scuttle around the floor, walls and ceiling quickly.  The female insect can lay hundreds of eggs that are no bigger than a speck of dust during her lifetime.  The immature bedbugs are known as nymphs and shed their skin five times before they reach maturity.  Each shedding needs blood to complete so if they have favourable conditions, can mature in around a month and start producing more offspring.

While being horrible, skin crawling little bugs that are very unpleasant, they don’t carry diseases the way some insects do.

How to find their hiding places

When you are trying to discover if you have a bedbug problem, you need to understand where they hide.  They can enter the house through a whole range of means such as luggage, clothing and used furniture such as beds.  They can fit into the thinnest of spaces due to their shape, no more than the width of a credit card and don’t have a nest like bees.  Instead, they hide in places in groups, usually in mattresses, box springs, headboards and bed frames where they can venture out at night and feast.  They can also move around the house and spread further afield given time.

Bedbugs feed on blood so therefore are not a sign of a dirty house – you will find them in the most immaculate homes or fancy hotel rooms if they have been able to gain access.

Signs of infestation

???????????????????????????????Bedbugs come out at night mostly and bite people when they are asleep.  They piece the skin and withdraw the flood, feeing for up to 10 minutes until they are so full with blood they cannot ingest any more.  Most of the time the bites are painless but later turn into itchy welts.  They are different from flea bites because there is no red spot in the centre and are on areas of the skin that are exposed when you are sleeping.

Another way of recognising you may have a problem is when you wake on a morning with an itchy rash that you didn’t have the night before.  Other signs include:

  • Blood stains on sheets or pillows
  • Dark, rusty spots on sheets and mattresses, bed clothes or walls that may be bedbug excrement
  • Shed skins, egg shells or faecal spots where bedbugs are hiding
  • A musty odour that comes from the bugs scent glands

To check if your suspicions are correct about an infestation, remove all the bedding and check for signs of the bugs.  Take the dust cover off the bottom of the box springs and examine it as well as the seams in the wooden frame of the bed.  You may also need to peel back fabric that is stapled to a wooden frame.

As well as checking the bed, check inside books, TV’s, radio and electric outlets for the bugs as well as the edges of carpets.  Check clothing as they can attach to this easily.  If you find signs of bedbugs, then you will need to start taking steps to eradicate them or call in an exterminator.

Exterminating Bedbugs

There are some important steps you can take to exterminate the bedbugs before seeking a professional exterminator.  These include:

  • Clean all bedding, linens, curtains and clothing from the room in hot water and then use the dryer’s hottest setting to dry them.  For any items that can’t go into the washer put them in the dryer on the high temperature for around half an hour.
  • Use a stiff brush to remove bugs and eggs from the mattress
  • Vacuum the bed and area around it frequently and when done, put the bag into a plastic bag straight into the outside garbage bin
  • Get a zippered mattress cover that encases the entire mattress to stop the bedbugs getting out.  They can live up to 12 months like this so don’t remove it until after this period
  • Any spots like cracks in plaster or peeling wallpaper, fix to avoid them being used as hiding spots

If this doesn’t work, you should consider contacting an exterminator who can use proper chemicals safely to eradicate the problem.

How to Make a Headboard

Buying a bed can be an expensive undertaking and sometimes if there isn’t a headboard with the bed, it is just one expense too many.  Or it may be you don’t like the supplied headboard and want something unique and different.  Either way, here are a few ideas about how to make a headboard.

Cloth options

Perhaps the simplest option if you have an old headboard or one you don’t like is to cover it with some material and completely change its look.  A slipcover can be made from inexpensive canvas cloth and kept in place by ribbons then accented as you wish.

If you like to sit and read in bed with your back to the headboard, then an upholstered option may be the better choice.  This can be made with ½-inch plywood, 1-inch foam and some fabric.  Cut the plywood to size then do the same with the foam.  Spray and adhesive to the plywood and add the foam, then leave to dry.  Take the covering material, cut bigger than the headboard to allow room to stretch over to the back and then staple it into place there, out of sight.  You can add finishing touches such as nailhead trims or other decorative ideas to personalise it.

Another simple cloth option is to hang lengths of material behind your bed, perhaps attaching a few different colours or patterns together to match the room’s décor.  This is simple to do and easy to change if you decide it need a wash or a freshen up.

Unusual ideas

Nor does a headboard need to be a basic rectangular shape.  Consider different shapes and materials for a completely unique look.

How to make a headboardYou can take an old headboard or even a piece of wood the right size and alter it to give a vintage look or paint it to match the colour theme of the room.

For the modern, industrial look, consider shining up corrugated tin then cut the top into an ornate shape.  Similarly, metal pipes can be used for a stand out feature and can even be painted if you don’t want too much bare metal around.

Go to local thrift stores or other sources of second hand treasures and see what catches your eye.  An old convenience store sign was one idea, scrubbed up and with the paint touched up to bring it back to new condition.  With the lettering matching the colour theme of the room, it was a real eye-catcher.

Full length

A new design idea is the concept of having the headboard stretch from floor to ceiling.  One such idea for doing this is to take lengths of 1½-inch length of MDF and secure them to the wall then add strips of iron lengthwise to give the impression of a giant blind behind the bed.  Paint the MDF the colour of the wood in the room or other accent colour to stand out.

Similarly, old reclaimed doors and shutters can be used in a similar way to make a full-length headboard.  These can either be painted up new or worked into the weathered look depending on your theme.

While you can buy round the bed shelving which creates a headboard in the gap, you can also assemble these yourself if you are looking to save a little money.  Find tall thin shelves for either side and cubes that can be attached together to go across the top then secure everything to the wall to make sure it says put.


There are a multitude of ideas for what to use as a headboard or how to make a headboard that means you should never be stuck with something you don’t like at the top of your bed.  The only real limit is your room and size and your imagination!