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Treatment Preparation: How to Do-it-Yourself or Assist a Professional

You've read it in your local papers and have seen it on TV stations nationwide -- bedbugs are back and are affecting homes, stores and offices. Some of you may currently be experiencing an infestation in your home or office. If you have identified bedbugs in your home, the preparation before treatment is as important a step as the treatment itself.

The following is a list of pretreatment preparation steps that will ensure you have set yourself up for success. These steps can be followed whether you are self-treating or using a licensed professional pest control company.

1. Move all furniture away from the perimeter of each room that you will be treating. You want to leave enough room so that you can get behind the furniture and apply the treatment properly.

2. Remove linens, pillowcases, pillows, etc. from your bed.

3. Remove the foam underneath your box spring. This will allow you to get inside the box spring where bedbugs hide.

4. Remove all clothing from drawers and closets. All clothing should be washed per the label instructions. After washing your clothing, place them inside of a clean garbage bag. Keep these items inside the sealed bag until the treatment is completed. You will also want to completely clear out closets prior to treatment of the space.

5. Remove all books and belongings from bookcases. Place the items in a bag or container that can be sealed. If bedbugs are hiding within those items, they will suffocate. You will also be able to protect these goods during the treatment process.

6. In the bathroom, launder any towels or rugs. Though bedbugs are not typically found in your bathroom or kitchen, it is best to wash everything in question to ensure a complete treatment.

7. Remove all outlet covers and picture frames from the walls. Remember, it is best to speak with your landlord or electrician prior to working with any electrical outlets. Bedbugs can fit anywhere the tip of a pencil fits. Outlets are a harbor for these pests. So if you are working with a professional, make sure they go into detail regarding where treatment will be applied.

8. Curtains and blinds can be self treated with an over-the-counter spray. Self-treat sprays are becoming more popular. Many come in 10-ounce, five-ounce and three-ounce travel size and are available in most first aid and household aisles. Always follow the label with self-treating, and it is always a good measure to consult with a professional.

9. Discard any newspapers and magazines. The more you can place directly into trash bags and dispose of, the better. Unnecessary clutter can easily host these pests and their eggs, so it's better to discard everything you can to increase your chances of beating the infestation.

Some additional things to remember when treating your own home:

1. Be sure to spray in the cracks and crevices of your closets, dressers, bookcases, and nightstands next to your bed.

2. Treat your mattress and box spring. It is best to stand these upright, away from the frame of your bed. Lean your box spring and mattress on the wall to properly treat with spray. You can treat the frame as well.

3. It is recommended that you keep your clothing in clean bags during the eradication process.

4. Spray the back of all pictures frames and wall hangings.

5. Make sure to get in the corners of your bookcases once you have cleared them. Treat the items from these shelves with spray, heat box method or discard the items.

6. When spraying your sofa, chairs or any furniture, remove cushions and pillows to get in the seams where bedbugs live.

7. You should treat in two week intervals, as per label of an over-the-counter product or when working with a professional.

8. It is very important to ventilate your home while treating. Open windows and doors. After treating, allow all the items to dry. Remember to only use the treatment spray as per the instructions on the label. People and pets should leave the area that has been treated for the length of time indicated on the label.

Treating a bedbug infestation can be done on your own but you must remember to follow all steps. It's important you follow all instructions to guarantee you have covered all of the zones where bedbugs can live and reproduce. Consult with a bedbug k9 inspector or licensed pest control company if you should have any questions or concerns. The goal is to safely eradicate the unwanted visitors while saving money during the process.

Finally, don't forget that even after you have taken preventative measures or eradicated a bedbug infestation in your home, it is still possible to pick up bedbugs outside of your home and bring them back. Make sure to exercise caution when traveling in order to keep your home bedbug free.

As always, remember that education is the key to staying bedbug free. Good luck!

Michael Colongione is a spokesperson for Pronto Plus, manufactured by Insight Pharmaceuticals. The advice and opinions he expresses in this article are his own.