Bed bugs are one of the most resilient and difficult pests to get rid of. They are small, nocturnal, and tend to spend their down time hidden in cracks and crevices in your home. They are hard to treat due to their knack for hiding in hard to reach places, and they can very quickly go from a few to hundreds in the span of a month. If not treated properly, they will persist indefinitely!
Suffice to say, they are bad news for homeowners and renters and keeping them out of your home is the best defense!
There are a few ways that bed bugs can enter into your home, the most common are direct carrier transmission (someone, or you, brings them into your home on your clothing or personal items) and adjoined unit transmission (they come into your home from an adjacent unit through wiring, vents, hallways, etc). It is difficult to control for adjacent units, but being equipped with the right know-how and tips might help save you from carrier transmission.
Bed bugs are picked up in places where infestations already exist. Shared accommodations can be hot spots for such infestations and you should always be aware of the signs to search for when staying at such places. One example might be a hotel or hostel. It is possible to pick up bed bugs in just about any place where people come together, but the most likely sites for transmission are where bed bugs will tend to habit, which are the places their dinner sleeps!
You can be ready to investigate your accommodations with a simple acronym – when you arrive at your room, always remember to S.L.E.E.P
Survey your room for any indication bed bugs. There are no specific “cleanliness” criteria for bed bugs, they can inhabit any room regardless of how it appears. If you notice a sweetish or dusty aroma, and if you see brown/black spots on the bed liner or sheets, there is a clear indication of bed bug presence. Bed bugs are not known to spread disease, but can leave very itchy and irritating welts similar to a mosquito bite. Bed bugs tend to bite in 3’s – three bits in a row often joked as Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.
Lift and Look
Lift and look. Bed bugs are notorious for their ability to hide and remain out of sight, especially during daylight or active hours. Make it a habit to lift and look under and around all bedding linens and structures. This includes the mattress, the bed liner, the box spring, pillows, mattress are behind the pillows, under the bed, and behind the bed spring. You want to look for activity or presence of bed bugs.
Even if you have not seen any signs of bed bugs in the previous steps, it is always a good idea to elevate your luggage and keep it up and away from other furniture/walls. Use the luggage rack, after you have inspected it. If no luggage rack is available, try hanging your luggage or keeping it on a table away from the wall. This will help to ensure your luggage remains free of hitchhiking bed bugs.
When you are getting ready to leave, pay careful attention to your luggage and clothing as you are packing up. Bed bugs are well-known for their ability to catch a ride and may have found a way into any unknowingly stored items you had out. If you suspect there may have been any bed bug activity, Pestward suggests you unpack your luggage directly into the laundry or in an area away from your living quarters. This could be a garage or utility room.
Following the previous step. It is always good advice (and not just for bed bugs) to wash your clothes after returning from your trip. If your clothes are clean, considering tossing them in the dryer for 15-20 minutes to ensure that any potential latent eggs are destroyed.
Bed bug infestations are extremely difficult to remove and require the use of a Pest Control company with specific experience and equipment to resolve the issue. Following the SLEEP acronym is your best protection against unknowingly bringing bed bugs into your home. In the event that you have, Pestward is only a call away to help.