Bed Bugs Prevention at Home: Part-1

Bed Bugs can and will hide anywhere near a warm blooded meal that they can return to many times on which to feed. They reproduce at exponential speed and in very large numbers. Therefore, attempting to eradicate an infestation within your home, apartment complex or business (hotel-motel owners & property managers for example) without professional assistance, can prove to be a daunting task. Even with the assistance of a professional pest exterminator, it can prove to be very costly and time consuming.

Bed Bug Prevention in your home can be next accomplished by appreciating the diversity of its travel methods. Below are just a few of them:

They will enter with kids back-packs and gym-bags or your luggage after returning from a vacation/business trip.They can hitch a ride with you while utilizing public transportation or a two hour stay at the local movie cinema.Second hand furniture and even computers picked up from garage sales are notorious for harboring bed bugs.When moving from one household to another they can hitch a ride from within the moving van or any boxes left from previous movers.And unfortunately for some, they can already be present in your new home waiting on you to arrive!
There is a correlation between the manner in which a bed bug travels and our daily habits. For instance, when we visit the cinema, many of us will store our jackets or purses in an empty adjacent seat. For those of us that travel to a laundromat or use one in our building complex, we tend to keep the baskets and laundry bags on the floor. When utilizing public transit, computer bags end up on floors or empty seats. When we make purchases of any type of bedding or furniture type items from second hand stores or garage sales. Luggage items used for business and vacation purposes are stored in a variety of storage compartments during travel. And later, will typically end up on the closet floor or underneath the bed.

These types of behaviors allow this pest to move about quite easily. Too easily! This can permit any homeowner to becoming susceptible to a home infestation. And while you may not be able to control the environment from which the luggage has traveled, you can however, inspect your travel bags before bringing them into the home. Fortunately, many of these behaviors can be easily modified to everyone’s benefit by elevating your bed bug awareness. In my next post, we will continue to explore some of these behaviors and what specific steps can be taken to best handicap a bed bugs travel efforts. This will certainly assist you and your efforts at home bed bug prevention!

Bed Bugs Prevention at Home: Part-2

Prior to the early 1940′s and the use of DDT, many people preserved a certain degree of awareness concerning the common bed bug. And they also modified their behaviors in their daily lives to keep this pest out of their homes.  It was common practice for example, to inspect your hotel room before checking in and getting settled for your stay.  When going out to the cinema, coats and purses were not kept on empty seats due to fear of bringing any bed bugs home with them.  Some of these concepts were covered in At Home Bed Bug Prevention Part 1 and how they relate to elevating your bed bug awareness.  Part 1 also presents a few examples in how this egregious hitch-hiker will take advantage of our daily habits to enhance its own transportation needs.  In At Home Bed Bug Prevention Part 2, I will discuss a few simple strategies to raise that awareness as well as modifying a few daily behaviors in keeping your home, bed bug free!

What you can do:

When moving, use new boxes as bed bugs love cardboard, wall paper and particle/pressed board or wicker types of furniture in which to lay their eggs.

Be especially cautious when adding any used furnishings or clothing materials to your home.

Second-hand bed mattresses, box-springs and headboards are potential hot zones for harboring bed bugs. Any mattress related items, chest of drawers or night tables need to be inspected thoroughly and/or fumigated outside, before bringing into your home. Any soft type furnishings, such as curtains or the valance, will need to be washed and dried at temperatures above 120 degrees Fahrenheit. If possible, you need to maintain these high temperature wash and drying cycles for twenty to thirty minutes to kill and eliminate any eggs and nymphs as well as the adults.

When returning from a vacation or business trip.

When returning from a vacation or business trip, inspect and disinfect all of your luggage before storing away. Bed bugs can live for many months without a blood meal. Often enough, the suitcase stored away in the attic after returning home with little Johnnie from a band trip for example, may be harboring this pest. Using this example and a few months later, little Susie packs her clothes into the same suitcase for a spring break vacation. A few days later she is suffering from bed bug bites or rash like symptoms on her body. This is one common example of how bed bugs will continue to flourish if its life-cycle is not broken.

Choose tile or other hard-type surface to undress on when returning from vacation. Bed bugs do not travel on our bodies like ticks or lice. They can be found traveling in the seams of trousers for example and are much easier to spot and clean up from a hard surface rather than your carpet.

Before heading home, separate your clothing.

Before heading home, separate your clothing articles into seal-able plastic bags or water soluble laundry bags. This will keep any unwanted travelers from escaping into your vehicle and throughout your home when you return. Immediately wash and dry your clothing at the highest temperature settings available to kill the adults as well as any possible eggs deposited. Other garments may require dry-cleaning.

If I am traveling outside of my personal vehicle and know that my luggage is going to be stored in close proximity alongside others, I will treat the exterior and zipper areas with a bed bug repellent.  After returning home, thoroughly inspect all of your travel bags to include purses and garment carriers. Vacuum-clean your travel bags outside the home, before storing away.