Bedbugs are a common pest, and they are notoriously difficult to remove. You might think that if your home is in a nice area or if you have clean habits that you won’t have trouble with bedbugs, but the reality is that no household is immune from a bedbug infestation.
The best way to solve a bedbug problem is to keep it from becoming a problem to begin with. Many infestations begin because people are not aware of what causes bedbug infestations. Practice these basic prevention tips to keep your home free from infestation.
Inspect Used Furniture Before Bringing It Inside
Buying furniture from a thrift store or secondhand from online sale sites can be a great way to save money, especially if you’re on a strict budget. You should not be afraid of buying used furniture, but make sure you have the furniture inspected before you bring it into your home.
Remember that bedbugs can come from any type of home, including homes that appear clean. You might even rent a steam cleaner to carefully remove dirt and eggs from the cushions and seams of couches and chairs. The heat from the steam kills bedbugs.
Even if you bring home a couch that’s been sitting in a thrift store or garage for a few months, you should still be cautious. Bedbugs can live up to six months without feeding, so they can still be alive even if the furniture hasn’t been used in a while.
Be careful of items which may look in good shape that find themselves in the dumpster or in the alley, many times they are there because they have bed bugs.
Be Wary of Bringing Home Bugs From Hotels and Resorts
Hotels are a great gathering place for bedbugs. Most quality hospitality establishments have protocols in place to help prevent bedbugs, including professional pest inspections on a regular basis. However, people can bring bedbugs to the hotel with them on luggage and clothing, and the bedbugs can then move from those items to the wardrobe, carpeting, and bedding.
Then, when you stay in the same room, you can pick up a few bugs and bring them home with you, where they eventually multiply into a problematic infestation.
When staying at a hotel or when using similar accommodations, use the following tips to protect yourself:
- Do some research before making the reservation at the hotel. Has the hotel had a history of bed bug issues? If so how have they handled them?
- Store your luggage on the luggage rack but away from the walls or in the bathroom. There are luggage encasements that you can purchase and use on your trip.
- Keep clothing in your suitcase. Don’t leave clothes on the floor or on the bed. Keep dirty clothes in plastic bags.
- Wash and dry everything you took with you on your trip. Wash everything as soon as you get home. Don’t forget about drying luggage and backpacks as well.
- Use your car. Once you return home you can leave the luggage on the back seat of the car, if you travel during the summer and park the car in the sun for the day (temps outside should be at least 80 degrees and the day must be sunny). The building heat in the car can eliminate the live bed bugs you may have brought home in the luggage.
If you notice signs of bedbugs, such as bites after you sleep or blood spots on the sheets, inform hotel staff right away. Ask for plastic bags to store your things in to prevent escape. The hotel should be able to help you process items like your clothing.
Use Caution at the Laundromat
You can also pick up bedbugs at laundromats. To keep yourself from bringing home unwanted hitchhikers, be sure to:
- Wipe out plastic laundry bins. Use a spray bottle with soap and water to clean laundry baskets after each trip to the laundromat.
- Wash cloth laundry bags with your clothing. Don’t leave them open to the public while your clothes are laundered. Do not use shared laundry bins, especially if those bins are made of canvas or another type of cloth.
- Use high heat cycles. Bedbugs cannot stand heat.
- Fold your laundry at home. Bedbugs can rest on community counters and tables.
- Avoid sitting on chairs without first checking for bedbugs. You stay in the laundromat to wait for your clothes to finish, and you don’t want bugs to hitch a ride home on the clothes you’re wearing.
Finally, make sure you supervise your clothing. You don’t want anyone else handling your clothing or putting it into a strange basket.
Wash Thrifted Items Promptly
You can also get bedbugs from used clothing and toys. If you buy your clothes from thrift stores or consignment sales, always wash them before you wear them, even if the garment appears clean. Stuffed animals, purses, and accessories can also carry bedbugs. At a minimum all items from a thrift store should be brought home in sealed plastic bags and processed before being put into use.
Use Caution If You Live in a Condo or Apartment
You’re more likely to get bedbugs if a neighbor in your building has a bedbug problem, especially if you live in a complex that uses indoor access. Bedbugs can move across carpeting, which means that they can get under your doorframe from the apartment across the hall. Inspect resting areas (beds, couches, recliners, etc.) frequently to identify bed bug issues as soon as possible.
Bedbugs spread through shared places, items, and spaces, but your home doesn’t have to be the next site of infestation. Contact us at A-Alert Exterminating Service, Inc., for more tips on preventing and treating bedbugs.