We all know bed bugs are talented at discovering the most unconventional living places. You can find these pests moving house in the weirdest spots, between your books, walls, or screws. And yes, even cleaning appliances. So, you may wonder, can bed bugs live in a vacuum cleaner?
As convenient as it is to vacuum these tiny pests to get rid of them, you’re not killing them off ultimately. Read on how these bedbugs thrive in your vacuum cleaners and what’s the best way to remove them.
Where Do Bed Bugs Come From?
Bed bugs got their name from their infamous habit of living in beds and feeding on sleeping individuals. They feed on human blood, needing regular “blood” meals to survive and thrive.
As much as they love residing on our beds, bedbugs are infamous for being hitchhikers. That means they travel extended distances well, latching onto anything. From suitcases to clothes — nothing’s safe! It’s no wonder why these tiny pests spread to many places fast.
Virtually bedbugs can come from anywhere. But they often hail from locations where people congregate and spend time the most. Whether in public transport or the library, always keep your eyes peeled for these bugs!
I recommend being especially careful when staying in hotel rooms! After all, different people sleep in the provided beds, and some can come with bedbugs. So, be sure to vacuum your suitcases and check for signs of bedbugs whenever you come home from a trip.
It can be tricky to identify bedbug bites since you can easily confuse them with bites from other bugs. Thus, it can be tough to pinpoint where they came from, making preventive measures more necessary. I suggest washing your clothes on hot cycles after returning from any trip, even those you haven’t worn.
Can Bed Bugs Live in a Vacuum Cleaner?
Vacuuming is one of the best preventive actions for bed bug control. It helps you prevent infestations and reduce the number of visible ones in your space. But remember, as efficient as vacuum cleaners are, they’re not enough to eliminate bed bugs for good.
After all, bedbugs are tiny and tend to hide in well-protected and hard-to-reach places. Whether cracks on the walls or crevices in furniture — all are perfect havens for bedbugs. And even with the suction power cranked up, the device might be unable to suck up all the bedbugs.
So, not only will there be leftover bedbugs and eggs on your surfaces, but they can also survive in the canister.
Moreover, know that bedbug eggs are sticky, adhering to surfaces. Hence, even if you can vacuum bed bugs, you’re only likely getting the adults and nymphs. That means plenty of bedbug eggs will be left on the surface, doing nothing to solve the issue.
Finally, as mentioned earlier, vacuuming won’t kill the bed bugs for good, so you won’t be able to remove them ASAP. You’ll be sucking up the visible bed bugs and trapping them inside the red canister vacuum. And if you don’t take care of them fast, they can live in the bag for six months or more.
The bedbugs residing in your vacuum cleaner can escape and spread. So, take care of the canister or bags as soon as you vacuum the bed bugs. If not, dispose of your vacuum cleaner well to prevent further infestations.
Hence, you must be careful when using rented appliances like a steam cleaner or carpet cleaner. After all, you might get bedbugs from these items!
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs?
🪲 Step 1: Find the Infested Areas
It’s best to search for the infested areas and leave markings for a smoother process. I recommend doing this as soon as you suspect you have bedbugs, as they can reproduce fast! And not to mention treating a small infestation will be more manageable than a huge one.
But tinier bedbug infestations can be more challenging to detect, so you must keep a close eye out! You can do searching yourself to save a couple of bucks or hire a professional for a smoother process. Either way, don’t start if you’re unsure of what’s infested and what’s not.
After all, you may accidentally spread them out more!
Here are common areas bedbugs thrive for a quicker search:
- Nearby mattress tags and box springs.
- Between the bed frame and headboard.
- In the gaps of your couch cushions.
- Furniture joints.
- Under loose wallpapers, paintings, or posters.
- Inside an electrical outlet.
- In the seams where your ceilings and wallpapers meet.
Moreover, there are distinct features of bedbugs to watch out for to help you search for them better. And here are some of those:
- Live bedbugs have reddish to brownish shells, extending up to 1/4 inch.
- Bedbug droppings look like tiny dark spots, similar to a period.
- Crushed bedbugs can leave tiny reddish stains on a mattress.
- Bedbug eggs are small and have a pale yellow hue.
Once you spot a bedbug, place the pest in a sealed jar for confirmation. If unsure, I recommend working with an exterminator for accurate results.
🪲 Step 2: Contain the Bed Bug Infestation
One of the many mistakes people make when dealing with bedbugs is not containing them ASAP. It would be best if you confined these tiny critters so you can remove them for good. And the best way to trap nasty bedbugs is with the best vacuum cleaner for bed bugs. Run the small appliance over possible hiding areas such as:
- Bed (mattress or sheets).
By now, you should know how long can bed bugs live in a vacuum sealed bag and how they can escape its clutches. So, don’t delay further and pack the canister contents into a bag and throw it away. Meanwhile, if you’re vacuuming bed bugs with a bagless vacuum cleaner, clean it ASAP!
As for the infested items, seal them all up in plastic bags until you can have them washed. When it’s time to clean, ensure you’re using hot water to kill off all the hidden critters and their eggs. But if washing the infested things isn’t possible, you can use your dryer instead. Put the infested item for half an hour at the highest heat setting!
If you have items that you can’t treat, leave them in the bag and far from your other things. And if you’ve left them for a couple of months, all the bedbugs should be gone.
Finally, if you have infested furniture that you can’t clean, throw it away!
🪲 Step 3: Prepare for the Treatment
I recommend doing some prep work before treating your space for the best results. Ensure all linens, carpets, clothes, and drapes are clean or thrown away.
Once you’ve had the items sorted out, it’s time to take care of the hiding places:
- Grab books, clothes, or other items lying on your floor or under your bed.
- Throw out all the infested things.
- Never move items from a bedbug-infested room into a clean one, as it can spread the pests.
- Seal all open areas, like gluing down wallpapers or caulking cracks in your baseboard.
- Move your bed six inches from the wall to stop the bedbugs from climbing to the mattress and sheets.
🪲 Step 4: Kill the Bedbugs
As tempting as it is to kill the bedbugs with potent chemicals, try natural methods first! After all, these tiny critters are easy to kill. Most bedbugs die at overexposure to high heat (115 degrees Fahrenheit or 46.1 degrees Celsius) or cold (32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 degrees Celsius).
Below are some ways to get rid of these tiny pests with the methods mentioned:
- Wash your bed sheets and clothes in the heated water for half an hour.
- Put your clothing and bedding in a dryer for half an hour at the highest available temperature.
- Roll a steamer around your mattress, couch, and other places bedbugs might be hiding.
- Pack infested things in trash bags and leave them exposed to the scorching hot. You can also do the same in colder temperatures. Either way, leave the packs outside for at least 2 to 5 months to guarantee all the bedbugs are dead.
- Freeze the infested items in your freezer at zero degrees Fahrenheit, leaving them for four days.
After you’ve killed all the visible bedbugs, make the place inhabitable for the rest. For instance, you can install bedbug-proof bed covers on your mattress or box springs. It can kill trapped bedbugs and stop new ones from getting in.
If even the hottest and coldest temperatures can handle the bedbugs, it’s time to opt for chemicals! Generally, insecticides can help you clear your space of bedbugs. But there are also other chemicals you should consider, such as:
- Pyrethrin and Pyrethroid. These are the most popular and effective chemicals for killing bedbugs. But using them too much can make certain bedbugs immune.
- Desiccant. It’s a substance that can destroy a bedbug’s outer coating or shell, killing them. After all, without this, bedbugs can dry out and die. Common desiccants include CimeXa and Tri-Die, both perfect for bedbugs.
- Neonicotinoid. This chemical can damage a bed bug’s nervous system. It’s perfect for those immune to other pesticides.
- Pyrrole. It can weaken bedbugs by disrupting their blood cells, eventually killing them.
- Foggers. Also known as bug bombs, these can get rid of bedbugs on contact. But they can’t seep into crevices or cracks where these critters hide. And they’re also toxic to people, so use this with caution.
🪲 Step 5: Double-Check the Treated Areas
As mentioned earlier, bedbugs can take a while to get wiped out. So to guarantee your treatment worked, you’ll need proof that they’ve died. I recommend checking the infested areas once every week for any signs of activity.
You can make it easier by placing bedbug interceptors near the infested places. For instance, you can put one under each leg of your bed, trapping bedbugs before climbing to your mattress and sheets.
Check the interceptors for a year to guarantee you’re bedbug-free for good.
🪲 Step 6 (Optional): Hire Pest Control
If you couldn’t wipe out the bedbug infestation yourself, don’t hesitate and hire a pro. Pest control firms can use potent chemicals and other treatment methods limited to the masses. They likely possess insecticides that can eliminate the bedbugs on contact and those trapped within your furniture, cracks, bed, springs, etc.
Moreover, they also have access to full room heat treatments. It’s where they use special equipment that heats rooms to high temperatures, killing bedbugs.
Before they arrive, exterminators often provide instructions for prepping your property. Generally, professional treatments can take 2 to 3 visits to become effective.
You can always rent a room for a couple of nights to ensure your house gets treated for bedbugs for good. Plus, it’ll be more comfortable for you over time.
🪲 Step 7: Keep the Bedbugs Out for Good
Finally, once all the bedbugs are dead, you’d want to ensure they stay like that for good. And here are a few proven preventive measures for keeping bedbugs out:
- Cover the bed mattress and box spring with a specialized bedbug cover, and always have it zipped.
- Always clear up your clutter, whether papers or clothes —never leave them on your floor.
- Seal all cracks around your electrical or light outlets and baseboards to stop bedbugs from sneaking in.
- Regularly vacuum and wash your furniture, curtains, carpets, and bed sheets.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How long can bed bugs survive in a vacuum bag?
A: Bed bugs can survive in a canister vacuum cleaner for six months without food and water. But even if they can thrive for a limited time inside the bag, they won’t settle for living inside your vacuum. So, expect these tiny pests to crawl out from your cleaner to reach a better host for blood meals.
Q: Can vacuuming my sheets and mattress eliminate bed bug eggs?
A: Bed bugs are so microscopic that it can be tough to tell if you can remove them all with a vacuum cleaner. So, there might be a lot that you do not see, especially hidden bed bugs and their eggs.
Q: How frequently should I bed bug vacuum?
A: How often you vacuum your bed for bedbugs depends on your living situation. Generally, vacuuming bed bugs at least once a week should be enough. But if you live in a humid area, you may need to vacuum your beds more often.
Q: Can vacuuming my mattress alone remove bed bugs?
A: Vacuuming alone won’t kill bed bugs for good. It’ll only remove the ones on the surface. And those that the vacuum sucked up will survive in the bag for up to 6 months. So, unless you kill those in the canister, they can live for a long time.
Q: Does baking soda kill bed bugs for good?
A: Among the most popular remedies for killing bedbugs is baking soda, but it’s not the most effective. After all, there’s no scientific evidence backing that the common kitchen ingredient works. It’s better to rely on a professional exterminator to solve your bed bugs issue for good.
Can bed bugs live in a vacuum cleaner? They can survive in the bagged canister vacuum for half a year without food or water. So, it’s best to perform a deep clean if you want to solve your bed bug issue. Whether you do it yourself or hire pest control, be sure you remove the eggs alongside the tiny pests!