You may not want to think about it, but bringing back bed bugs from your holiday travels could ruin an otherwise festive holiday season. Yes, I know, one more thing to do during this hectic time of year, but bed bugs in your home can be expensive and wear on your mind and body so deal with it now to keep your sanity later.
Plan on staying at a hotel or other commercial lodging? Keep luggage off the floor and if there is not a raised luggage rack, set your suitcase in the bathtub to keep it off carpeted areas. Before going to sleep, do a quick check along the bed seams for any signs of bed bugs themselves or their droppings or shed skin. Consider traveling with the extra large zip-close storage bags for storing your dirty laundry in your luggage. Wash soiled clothing soon after arriving home or if you will not be able to take care of this immediately, leave the luggage in the garage until you can get to it. If you have clothing that was not worn/clean, you can place in the dryer for 15 minutes on high. The heat will take care of any pests that might have hitched a ride home. Carefully inspect all other items your brought back from traveling before putting them away in your home.
Once you are home, here are some tips for discouraging bed bug infestations.
- Declutter your home as much as possible
- Protect your bed mattress and box spring with mattress encasement specific for bed bugs
- Vacuum often
- check all cracks and crevices around the rooms: mattress and box spring seams, baseboards, furniture and any other areas around the room where bugs can hide.
- Wash clothing and linens in hot water and dry on a high setting.
- store clothes, shoes and other items under beds unless enclosed in sealed storage bins
- forget to check your purse and backpack as well after traveling
- bring in second hand items with thoroughly inspecting and cleaning them
- assume bed bugs are only in beds
- assume one treatment will clear up all bed bug issues. Beg bugs may have been in your home a while and it is not uncommon for it to take more than one visit to find all areas they may be hiding and eliminate them.
Bed bugs are active mainly at night. They feed on exposed bare skin while you are sleeping. Most bed bug bites are relatively painless however one way to tell if they are bed bugs, is they will leave a linear trail of bites. This is due to the fact they do not jump or fly but crawl.
With bed bugs, you may or may not wake up with itchy welts on your skin and sometimes no marks at all but you will probably see the rusty or reddish spotting or staining they leave behind after feeding overnight.
Most people don’t know bed bugs can live for several months without a blood meal. Bed bugs can travel from mattresses to furniture to other areas around your home. Bed bugs can hide in furniture for a long time until they are near a human host again. This is why it is important to not just treat the mattress but the room as well. If you are removing and replacing the mattress entirely, be sure to encase the mattress before dragging it through the home to take it outside. This is to avoid bed bugs from scattering and infiltrating other areas of your home along the way.
In your mattress, you may see droppings, shed skin or the bed bugs themselves but remember, bed bugs can infest furniture with small dark crevices as well. If you are unsure of what pest you may have, you can save one of the pests you find using clear packing tape attached to an index card for easier identification by your pest control professional.
Remember, no need to throw everything out. Early identification and professional bed bug treatment can save the added cost of replacing beds or furniture.
If you think you may have a bed bug issue, call or contact Bio-Tech Pest Control at 281-296-6022.