In the last few years bed bugs have started to make their way into the news all over the US and beyond due to several outbreaks in major cities. In fact, in some major US cities bed bug infestations have neared epidemic numbers and that has left travelers worried that the same could happen to them. Luckily, for most people, preventing bed bug infestations in the home can be done with a few smart and proactive steps. When it comes to dealing with bed bug bites, the first thing a person should do is remember not to panic.
How To: Preventing Bed Bug Bites
Be on the Lookout
Bed bugs are basically hitchhikers and love finding convenient ways to move from one place to another. This means that it is most important to look for signs of bed bugs when traveling away from the home. Inspect your hotel room upon arrival when traveling by looking over the mattress, box spring, headboard and any other visible edges of the bed frame. Although sighting the bed bugs themselves is very rare, you should definitely be on the lookout for small brown spots that indicate bed bugs have been around. If you see any bed bugs or brown spots immediately alert hotel management.
Know the Signs
In order to determine whether or not your dealing with a simple mosquito bite or bed bug bites there are several signs to look out for. Bed bug bites look very similar to mosquito bites but usually come in clusters of three or more bites. They can usually be found in areas that are exposed while you sleep like your face, arms and neck. They may also show up in a line where the comforter or sheet meets exposed skin. If you notice any of these types of bites after sleeping in your hotel it is important that you alert hotel management immediately.
Avoid Bringing Them Home
If you think you may have encountered bed bugs on your trip, it is important to act quickly in order to prevent them from infesting your home. Unpack your suitcase outside of the home and put all clothing items through a hot wash and dryer cycle. For delicate items, a low dryer cycle will still kill the bed bugs. To keep your suitcase safe for future use, disinfect it with no-pest strips then seal it up in a garbage bag for at least two weeks, preferably outside the home in a garage or shed.
Call In the Professionals
If you still feel like you may be dealing with bed bugs in the home after going through the preventative steps listed above, it is time to seek professional help. A professional exterminator can effectively and safely work to rid your home of any bed bugs without putting you, your family or your pets in any danger of exposure to harsh chemicals.
Prevent Future Infestations
After a visit from the professional bed bug exterminator, they will likely recommend that you follow a few preventative steps to avoid future infestations. While they won’t actually prevent bed bugs from entering your home, purchasing encasements for your mattresses and your box springs can make it easier to eliminate them from your home if they make their way back inside.
Don’t be afraid to keep your old furniture either. In most cases, bed bug infestations are not severe enough to warrant tossing out all the furniture in your home. If you are unsure what should stay and what should go following an infestation, just reach out to your trusted exterminator for advice!