Just the thought of a bed bug in the home is enough to make most people very uncomfortable. Chances are, however, that anyone who has arrived at this page seeking information about these disgusting insects has already seen some sign of a bed bug infestation in their own home or heard about one in their immediate neighborhood. If you are in this predicament, keep reading to find the answers to all those questions you hoped you would never need to ask.
How do bed bugs find their way into homes?
The first question most people have after finding evidence of bed bugs in their home is how the insects got there. Unfortunately, bed bug infestations are increasingly common in many places that you or your family members may already frequent.
Hotels, spas, school or gym locker rooms, theaters, taxicabs, subway cars, buses, and other places and modes of transportation can create an opportunity for bed bugs to attach themselves to clothing, luggage, or personal possessions and hitch a ride into your home. Bed bug infestations can also spread easily from home to home through normal visiting among neighborhood children, friends, or relatives.
Another common way of acquiring a bed bug infestation is to purchase used clothing, upholstered furnishings, luggage, or stuffed toys from thrift stores, auctions, used merchandise stores, and garage sales. Bed bugs can hide in the seams and fabric on these surfaces for long periods of time and then reproduce quickly when introduced into the home.
What can be done to help prevent bringing bed bugs into the home?
Simply being aware of the possibility that your clothing, luggage, or personal possessions may come into contact in a public setting will be helpful in preventing a home bed bug infestation. Additional tips include:
- removing any clothing that may have been in contact with bed bugs as soon as you arrive home, then running the clothing through both the washer and the dryer on hot settings
- steam cleaning any used furnishings, plush toys, or other soft goods before allowing them into your home
- inspecting the seams of luggage and purses for bed bugs after returning from a hotel stay or using public transportation
When traveling, it is also helpful to refrain from putting luggage on hotel beds or on the floor of hotels or passenger planes. Instead, always place your luggage and bags on luggage racks or tables where the risk of infestation will be less.
What can homeowners with a small bed bug infestation due to keep it from expanding?
If caught quickly, homeowners can often prevent a small bed bug infestation from becoming a large one through a frequent, rigorous cleaning routine. If the insects were seen in a bedroom, or if a family member exhibits bites that resemble those known to be caused by bed bugs, it is important to quickly strip and launder bedding and washable soft goods, like rugs, pillows, and clothing. Mattresses and all other surfaces in the room should be vacuumed thoroughly and steam cleaned with a high output, handheld steamer.
After surfaces dry, it is wise to inspect them carefully for signs that adult bed bugs, young nymphs, or eggs are still present. If any signs of bed bug activity remain in the room, the cleaning and laundering process will need to be repeated until all signs are gone.
When should homeowners consider calling for professional help?
Bed bugs infestations are much more difficult to deal with when they become large and well-established. If you believe your home may have become infested with these insects, contacting a reputable bed bug extermination service such as Exterminating Unlimited Inc will help you limit the size of your problem and ensure that your family will be safe from the discomfort and health issues associated with bed bugs.