Public Enemy #IV – BED BUG
How many of us remember our parents and grandparents sending us off to sleep with these words: ” Goodnight, sleep tight. Don’t let the bed bugs bite!” Who knew that those words would turn out to be an actual night time warning. Until fairly recent most people had never seen a bed bug. Bed bug infestations were a common occurrence in the United Stated prior to World War II. Improved hygiene and the widespread use of pesticides (DDT) during the 1940s and 1950s virtually eliminated the bed bug in the United States. However, bed bugs were still a global challenge, especially in parts of Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe. Now, with international travel a part of everyday life, bed bugs have made a dramatic return to the U.S.. They are appearing in record numbers in hotels, apartments, health care facilities, dorms, schools, and homes. In fact, you can turn on the news on any given day and find something about bed bugs.
Bed bugs are small flat, parasitic insects that feed on the blood of humans and animals exclusively. What’s worse, they feed while you sleep! Bed bugs are reddish brown, are wingless, and can range in size from 1mm to 7 mm. To put that in perspective, they range from the size of a pinhead to the size of a pen cap. For this reason they are very difficult to see. A bed bug can live for several months after only one feeding. Bed bug infestations commonly occur in and around areas where you sleep. They are night feeders, so they hide during the day in places like mattress seams, box springs, bed frames, headboards, dressers, inside cracks and crevices in floor moldings, wallpaper seams, picture frames, in clutter around the bed, and the list goes on and on. Bed bugs usually live within approximately 8 feet of where you sleep, however, they have been known to travel upwards of 100 feet in a night to find a food source. A common misconception about bed bugs is that they jump from place to place. Bed bugs do not jump. They travel on legs or they hitchhike to get from place to place.
Once Bed bugs enter a building they can crawl from room to room or floor to floor. Unlike cockroaches and flies that feed on waste and dirt, bed bugs have no relation to cleanliness. Even the most pristine home can become bed bug infested. Bed bugs are transported on luggage, backpacks, clothing, furniture, bedding, briefcases, and shoes among many other object. Bed bugs are extremely difficult to eliminate because they hide in so many areas which can go undetected. An experienced pest control professional knows where to look for bed bugs and has the necessary tools to search and find bed bugs where they hide. The most effective treatment for Bed Bugs is heat and the preparation to eliminate the infestation is rigorous and best dictated by a pest control professional. If not handled correctly a bed bug infestation can go on and on.
Here are some helpful travel tips to limit your exposure to bed bugs while trying to enjoy your vacation or concentrate on your business meeting and not what’s biting you at night!
– Travel with clothes that can be washed in hot water and be dried for at least 30 minutes on high heat. If you travel with clothing that requires dry cleaning, place the items in a plastic bag after wearing and keep securely closed until you return home.
– Use hard smooth luggage when you travel. Hard luggage has fewer places for bed bug to hide.
– Pack plenty of plastic bags to place shoes or any other items in that may have come in contact with bed bugs.
– Once at your destination, keep luggage off floor and beds. Place on luggage racks that do not have fabric straps; do not unpack clothing; keep luggage closed when not in use; hang business suits and dresses on the shower rail in the bathroom. The safest place for your suitcase is in the bathtub or on the hard surface of the desk or dresser in the hotel room.
– Inspect the mattress and bedding for reddish brown spotting. Check all mattress seams and surrounding furniture seams for bugs. Keeping in mind that even 5 star resorts and hotels have had bed bug infestations.
– When you arrive home, unpack luggage outside of the home; take clothes in plastic bags immediately to the washer and wash in hot water and dry on high heat. Dispose of plastic bags immediately out side of the home. Take dry cleaning in immediately and do not remove from the plastic bags.
Following these few tips can help limit your exposure to bed bug infestation. As with all pest control issues, your best solution is to contact a pest control professional. For more information or if you think you may have a bed bug infestation contact the Professionals at BugOut. 800-983-7648. BugOut is your Pest Control Concierge – 1 Click. 1 Call. 1 Company Does It All! It’s that Simple.