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Say goodbye to bed bugs with these easy pest control tips

Densely populated cities are facing an exponential increase in bed bug infestations as a result of blazing summer temperatures. The problem is compounded by social stigma which often results in a reluctance to seek professional advice on the eradication and prevention methods.

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Photo by Gaelle Marcel from Unsplash.com

Bed bugs are insects (ectoparasites) that feed on human blood. Even though they do not transmit diseases, just the thought of them makes one itchy. Their bites can result in a number of health impacts including skin rashes, psychological effects, allergic symptoms and can cause skin changes ranging from minor red patches to prominent blisters. They are usually picked up on planes, trains, hotels and spread into homes.

Densely populated cities are facing an exponential increase in bed bug infestations as a result of blazing summer temperatures. The problem is compounded by social stigma which often results in a reluctance to seek professional advice on the eradication and prevention methods. This is mainly because a significant proportion of the population have no physical reaction to bed bug bites and are seldom aware of an infestation. The problem is a global one and there is literally no country on the face of the planet that has not witnessed a bed bug problem.

Where do bed bugs originate?

Scientific research on fossilized bed bugs indicates that they have been around for thousands of years. It is believed that they originated in the Middle East, in caves that were used by both humans and bats. They are found all over the world, but perhaps surprisingly, the worst infestation problems tend to occur in developed countries where people use bed frames and soft beddings.

Between 1930 and 1980, bed bugs were almost eliminated because chemicals like DDT (Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) were used to tackle infestations. Since the banning of DDT, there has been a huge increase in infestations. Most bed bugs are now immune to conventional pesticide treatments. With increased levels of international travel, the spread of infestations is unquestionably on the rise.

What is the perfect condition for growth?

Bed bugs tend to feed on humans, dogs, cats and other pests using blood for growth and reproduction. These tiny and nocturnal critters rely on human blood for nourishment and usually hide in and around bed corners and cracks.

Bed bugs need to feed at least once before each molt (shedding of their outer exoskeleton), although they could feed as often as once a day. Under favorable conditions, adult bed bugs can live for about 2 to 4 months.

In order to properly treat bed bugs, a full site inspection by a licensed and insured pest control company is of utmost importance. Bed Bugs can live in headboards, floor cracks, crevices, electrical boxes and even sockets. They are so elusive and can adapt to their surroundings so well that we have now started to use canines to ‘sniff out’ the insects.

How to get rid of an existing bed bug infestation?

Step 1: Reposition and Protect Your Furniture
The first step is to move or displace all of your furniture or materials out of the affected area. However, because you do not know if these pieces of furniture also have bugs in them, make sure that you are careful about where you take them. If possible, bring them into the yard where the bed bugs would not be able to infest more rooms in your property.

Wrap a tape around the legs of your furniture about an inch from the ground. That way, any bed bugs that try to get up from the ground and into the furniture will get stuck and eventually die. Whether or not you find them on the tape, replace it every few days.

Step 2: Wash your bags, carpets and rugs
If you have any removable carpets, rugs and bags, go ahead and deal with those first, because if these can be lifted off the ground, it becomes easier to see and tackle the bugs.

If your bags and rugs are small and machine washable, the best thing to do is throw them in the washing machine. However, note that for the optimum results, dry these items on the highest setting because heat is among the best ways to kill bed bugs and their eggs.

Step 3: Steam Carpets, Curtains and Soft Furnishings
As earlier mentioned, bed bugs do not react well to high temperatures. You can either buy or rent a steamer that can achieve high temperatures of up to 118 degrees Celsius or more which be more than adequate to exterminate bed bugs.

Move your steamer inch by inch over the carpet while ensuring that you spend at least a few minutes steaming individual sections, as the steam will not kill bed bugs upon contact. For best results, regulate the steamer to its highest possible temperature while ensuring that your fabric will not be affected.

Step 4: Add Borax Powder or Diatomaceous Earth
After steaming your furniture and other materials, it is time to get scientific. Borax and diatomaceous earth are both products that can break down a bed bug’s exoskeleton leading to dehydration. Sprinkling one of these products on your carpeting can help kill off some more of those persistent critters.

When using either of these products, make sure that you read the instructions and the warning label. Both are irritants and should not come into contact with your skin, eyes or in your nose or mouth. Prior to application, ensure that pets and children are kept off the premise. Once the borax and diatomaceous earth is sprinkled on the surfaces, leave it for at least 3 to 4 hours.

Step 5: Vacuuming
Vacuum your soft furnishings thoroughly by going over carpets, beddings and mattresses multiple times. Use any hose attachments to vacuum the tight spots including the baseboards. Once you feel certain that you have gone over every inch of materials multiple times, it is now time to dispose of the vacuuming waste bag. Take the vacuum machine outside and remove it before placing it into a garbage bag. Finally, tie the garbage bag so that it is completely sealed, so as to prevent the escape of any bugs. All disposable materials used to remove bed bugs from your home must be taken out to a sealed trash dumpster.

How to prevent bed bug infestations?

It is not just the bites that make you feel uncomfortable if you have an infestation of bed bugs. The simple fact is that it can be very easy to wind up with bed bugs in your home or workplace without having an idea about it. It is very important to note that an Infestation does not reflect on your standards of cleanliness in any way.

At Home

• Wash and dry clothes at the highest possible temperatures.
• Eliminate clutter in your home or office to give bed bugs fewer places to hide.
• Avoid spreading bed bugs to your friends and family by not taking any clothes, suitcases or furniture to their homes.
• Tidy all areas of your bedroom, especially the floor around/underneath your bed and bed-side cabinets.
• Vacuuming can greatly reduce the size of the bed bug population, but only when they are clearly visible. It cannot guarantee total elimination. Empty and clean vacuum pumps to avoid transferring eggs to other rooms.
• Use Dubai Municipality approved products, to help eliminating some bed bugs – it is a good start but should not b be relied on to get rid of the problem completely. You need a licensed pest control Dubai based company to completely get rid of infestations.

When Travelling

• Check hotel bed linen and mattresses for live bed bugs, small dark bloodspots and a distinctive sweet and sickly smell.
• Avoid putting your suitcase on the bed.
• Hang clothes in a wardrobe rather than using drawers.
• Store suitcases in the garage between trips.

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Home Care

Top 3 ways to check for hidden leaks

Uncommon and hidden leaks are the ones that tend to sneak up on homeowners and wreak a lot of havoc.

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Photo by Dan Smedley from Unsplash.com

Four Seasons Plumbing, a family-owned and -operated plumbing company serving the Asheville and Hendersonville areas, understands the toll that slow leaks and difficult-to-spot plumbing issues can take on a home. This summer, the company is offering homeowners tips to identify leaks early and take action before they result in costly damage.

“Uncommon and hidden leaks are the ones that tend to sneak up on homeowners and wreak a lot of havoc,” said Max Rose, owner of Four Seasons Plumbing. “It often takes noticing a water bill that’s higher than usual or finding a visible puddle on the floor to begin asking questions, and there could already be a lot of damage by that point.”

Max and the team at Four Seasons offer these tricks to help identify potential water leaks:

  • Check your water meter: Start by turning off all appliances in the house dependent on water, such as faucets, dishwashers, washing machines, etc. After waiting for an hour, monitor any changes to the meter. If the meter continues to change, you may have a leak in your system that could require the attention of a licensed, insured professional.
  • Add food coloring to your toilet tank: Toilets account for a considerable amount of water usage in the home. By adding food coloring to your toilet tank, you can monitor the bowl to see if there is any seepage from the tank in-between flushes. A leaking toilet can run unnoticed, and it can significantly impact a water bill with time.
  • Look for discoloration on ceilings and walls: By keeping an eye out for any browning or discoloration on ceilings and walls, you can be proactive in identifying leaks before they become detrimental.

By intentionally setting aside some time to practice these few simple steps, homeowners can save themselves thousands of dollars in repairs in the long run. Leaks can go unnoticed for weeks, months, or even years, resulting in costly damage to a home’s structure.

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Home Care

Add storage and seating to your patio

According to landscape designer, Doug Scott, storage is something a lot of people forget about when designing an outdoor living space.

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Photo by Sonnie Hiles from Unsplash.com

Whether you’re grilling, gardening or simply lounging in the backyard, it’s important to have the tools, supplies and equipment you need close at hand. Unfortunately, finding a convenient place to store everything is a challenge many homeowners face.

According to landscape designer, Doug Scott, storage is something a lot of people forget about when designing an outdoor living space.

“Whether it’s gardening tools and supplies, outdoor furniture cushions, or a random collection of toys, almost everything we do outdoors comes with stuff,” Scott said. “And it’s not always convenient to go back inside and get those things.”

Scott has partnered with Exmark on a new Done-In-A-Weekend Projects video that shows homeowners how to build a dual-purpose outdoor storage bench that offers convenient on-patio storage. It also provides comfortable outdoor seating for family and guests.

“It’s really the best for both form and function,” Scott said.

While it’s possible to build the exterior of the outdoor storage bench from several wood options, Scott said untreated cedar is a good choice, for several reasons. It’s attractive and is naturally rot-resistant, so staining or painting the storage bench is an option, not a requirement.

The interior of the storage box is built from a combination of plywood, pine boards and decking board, secured with a combination of wood screws, wood glue and exterior construction adhesive.

Scott said the outdoor storage bench is a project that most folks can complete in one to two days, but he recommends enlisting the help of a friend or family member, which can cut the project time in half.

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Home Care

Modern kitchen and bath upgrades

Modernizing your spaces isn’t just about the aesthetic, although that is a major advantage, especially when it comes to resale value. Updating your kitchen and bath is also an opportunity to introduce new technology and enhancements that improve the function of these high-traffic rooms.

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Upgrades happen for all kinds of reasons, but one of the most common purposes of a home renovation is to make essential spaces like kitchens and bathrooms more modern.

Modernizing your spaces isn’t just about the aesthetic, although that is a major advantage, especially when it comes to resale value. Updating your kitchen and bath is also an opportunity to introduce new technology and enhancements that improve the function of these high-traffic rooms.

Modern styles simplify everyday living and can make contemporary entertaining more enjoyable. The sleek lines of modern design lend themselves to a clean look, which is supported by hidden features that make organization easier.

Smart Technology

Although the idea of a connected home isn’t new, technology is steadily improving. This means smart features are now often more affordable, easily integrated into the rest of your home and available to help manage a wider range of household items.

In the kitchen, you can add smart technology in numerous ways, from appliances and climate control to lighting and window treatments. For example, touch-to-open and push-to-open doors and drawers create a sleek, modern design while opening and closing with either a push or touch of a button for convenience.

Similar diversity is available in the bathroom, where you can incorporate connected health and fitness monitors, touchless toilets, mirrors that double as information centers, towel warmers and even showers that automatically adjust to your preferred temperature.

Paint

Changing the colors in a space is one of the most effective ways to transform the decor, but the walls aren’t the only place where paint can make a big impact, especially in rooms like the kitchen or bathroom, where the cabinetry can make a bold statement.

Black is a hallmark of modern design and installing cabinetry with a black finish can instantly upgrade a room. To create visual interest, consider incorporating accent cabinets in a coordinating finish. For example, you could pair Wellborn Cabinet’s Midtown wall cabinets finished in Matte Ebony with upper center cabinets finished in Putty Oak. An island in Bel-Air can incorporate both dark and light tones for a cohesive look.

Decorative Range Hoods

An exposed range hood is a trendy look that can add sophistication to your kitchen. Treating this functional element as a statement piece gives you another place to showcase your style and create a sleek and modern look. If your hood is covered, consider making the cabinet door a focal point with a material such as back-painted glass.

Multi-Purpose Sinks

While your sink has some obvious functions, you can upgrade the space for even more practical use. Some of the latest sink design innovations include built-in features such as cutting boards, colanders, bowls, drying racks and compost areas. In addition, motion activated wastebaskets with separate compost or recycling containers provide hands-free access to reduce unwanted messes.

Touchless Faucets

Public restrooms aren’t the only places you can benefit from a touchless faucet. At home, the feature may come in handy when your hands are full or filthy. An automatic water flow is convenient and can help keep germs and grime under control. For the most on-trend, modern look, coordinate your faucets with other bathroom elements finished in gold hues, such as a laminate veneer vanity in a high-gloss gold finish.

Cabinetry

Collectively, cabinets are the biggest component of most kitchens. Since kitchens tend to be the hub of the home, it’s important to maintain a homey feel while adding the luxury of modern features. Using warm colors, gold-toned hardware and sleek door styles can deliver a glamorous yet welcoming design.

For example, Wellborn Cabinet’s Aspire Full Access Frameless line features flat moulding and flush lines to create a thoughtfully integrated flow throughout the kitchen. A Morristown door in the Smokey Walnut finish and Serenity metal doors in Sand Gloss Glass marry heirloom quality and contemporary finishes for a beautiful and functional space.

Free-Standing Tubs

A luxurious soaking tub is a top demand for many homeowners, and trends are moving toward free-standing options that create a focal point in an oasis-like bathroom. You may be envisioning an old-fashioned claw-foot style, but there are numerous modern takes on the traditional version that can fit seamlessly into your modern design scheme.

Wood-Look Flooring

Natural wood floors were once the gold standard, but thanks to improvements in the quality and appearance of laminate and vinyl products, you can find alternative flooring in even high-end homes. Laminate and vinyl planks give the same look as wood (or stone, if you prefer) to complement a modern aesthetic, usually at a lower price point and with greater durability over time.

Find more ideas to modernize your living space at wellborn.com.

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