If you have watched the news over the last several months you will see that a problem that was once nearly 100% under control has now become a national epidemic. Bed bugs have infested our homes, movie theaters, shopping malls, airlines, buses, hospitals, waiting rooms and just about any other place that has beds, chairs or any type of cushioned seat. Bed bugs are nasty! They are tiny small insects with no wings that nest and feed on the blood of mammals such as humans and pets leaving us with small red itchy welts all over the skin from their bites. Bed bugs spread infection and disease and are a major health hazard to you, your family and your pets. This article reviews information about bed bugs, how to look for them and what to do if you discover that your home, hotel or workplace is infested with bed bugs.
If you plan on sleeping anyplace but your personal bed you want to make sure that you do not put anything on the temporary bed you're going to sleep on without checking the mattress for bed bugs first. If you are like most people you don't think about bed bugs when you check into a hotel room and you simply place your luggage on top of the bed right away. You'll want to change this habit and stop and check the mattress seams, tags and edges including the pillows and linens for signs that the area is infested before you place yourself for any of your belongings into harms way.
Bedbugs tend to accumulate in small crevices and if you know what to look for they can be actually pretty easy to find. Take a look at the seams and small crevices on the mattress or pillows of the bed you will be sleeping in and look for tiny dark crawling bugs, dead bug carcasses, or (and this is pretty gross) they're brownish reddish fecal matter that actually stains the mattress, linens or pillow. These bugs have been oval shape to them and are very flat which makes them ideal for wedging themselves in tiny spaces, like crevices and seems so you want to be sure that you give everything an extremely thorough once over inspection.
One of the keys to their survival is the fact that they can go months in between feedings so you will want to make sure that you check everything regularly in your home and reduce clutter, trash and clothing that is simply lying around the house. By keeping your house tidy you are reducing hiding places for these bugs. Make sure that you keep your sheets tucked firmly into your bed and try to have them off the floor at all times. Bedbugs can come in on your shoes and luggage and easily find their way from your carpet or floor if your sheets provide them with the handy ramp to walk up.
The obvious way to prevent an infestation is to clean as much as possible. Vacuuming plays a key part in preventing the spread of these insects. Make sure that you vacuum as much as possible and empty the vacuum cleaner into a trashcan that is quickly placed outside of the home. If you live in an apartment or condominium you will want to seal off any potential access the bugs might have from your neighbors units into your home. As you return from trips it a good idea to clean all of your laundry that you brought with you as soon as possible without cross contaminating it in your current dirty linens closet. I personally like to spray my luggage with Lysol the minute I walk in the door from a trip. Once your luggage is emptied make a concerted effort to vacuum out and clean your luggage before placing it in storage.
If you do discover that your home is infested with bed bugs, the first step is not to panic. The infestation is treatable and furniture can be cleaned and does not need to be thrown away if you discover that it contains bedbugs. You will want to hire a professional pest-control service and have them on site as soon as possible. If you have pets you need to be extremely cautious and try to keep the pets away from the infected area until the pest-control professionals have done their job and tell you that the area is safe. Pets play an important role in spreading the colony and to make matters worse for you in no time at all.