Category Archives: Bed Bugs

How to protect yourself from bed bugs while traveling

Summer vacation season may be winding down, but fall weekend getaways and holiday travel are right around the corner. While most people consider a vacation a relaxing, refreshing break, a trip can turn into a nightmare if you return home to discover you've brought bed bugs back with you. It's easy to pick up these unwanted souvenirs, and they are notoriously difficult to get rid of without help from professional exterminators. Remember that it is important to take precautionary steps to ensure your next trip doesn't leave you with bed bug bites or an infested house!

Check your room
If you're staying at a hotel, it's imperative to check your room for any signs of bed bugs as soon as you arrive. The pests have many different hiding places, but as their name suggests, they are often found around beds. Pull back the sheets and inspect the mattress, and don't forget to examine the corners and seams, where it's easy for bed bugs to hide.

Don't stop after checking just the mattress – there are plenty of other places bed bugs like to lurk. Look over the box spring, headboard and even the nightstand. Don't forget to check the sofa bed if your room has one. The bugs can also live in carpeting, so scan the floor for bugs as well. Did you bring a flashlight? Use it to help you inspect the room. If you don't have one, you can use a flashlight app on a family member's smartphone.

What are you looking for?
You can examine the entire hotel room closely, but that won't really help you if you aren't sure of exactly what you're looking for. When checking the room, look for the pests themselves, which are flat and brown. Young bed bugs may be harder to spot, since they are nearly colorless and blend into white sheets and mattresses.

Search for more than just living bugs. You'll also want to examine the hotel room for other evidence of the insects. Look for cast skins, which the young bugs shed as they grow. Do you notice any small stains on the mattress or near the bed? It may be blood from bites or bed bug fecal matter. If you find any live bugs or evidence of an infestation, it's important to request a room change or find a new hotel before a pest finds its way into your luggage!

Keeping your luggage pest free
While it's crucial to inspect a room for signs of bed bugs, it isn't always a guaranteed way to ensure there are no pests present in the room. These insects are adept at hiding, and they can be easy to miss.

It may be tempting to drop your luggage on the floor or bed after a long plane ride or exhausting car trip, but avoid putting suitcases and bags in those two spots at all costs. Pests can easily crawl into your luggage if it's placed on the bed or carpeting. Instead, put your bags on luggage racks, on a table or even in the bathroom, where bed bugs rarely hide. Some experts even advise covering luggage with a trash bag so no pests are able to crawl inside.

Bed bugs can hide in clothes, and spread throughout your bags, so travelers are advised to keep clothing they have worn inside the hotel in sealed plastic bags before stowing it in their suitcases. Because they come into direct contact with the bed, vacationers should be especially careful about ensuring their pajamas are sealed before being packed up.

Avoid bringing home bugs
Even if you've taken every precaution to avoid bed bugs, sometimes they can still sneak into your luggage or clothing unnoticed. Keep your house pest free by unpacking your luggage in the garage when you return home – this will ensure the critters have nothing to grab and prevent them from spreading.

Closely examine each piece of clothing and your suitcase for any bugs that may have hitchhiked back to your home. Even if everything looks pest free, it's a good idea to wash and dry all items you brought with you. This will kill any bugs that you may have missed. When you've finished unpacking, don't store that suitcase in your closet. Leave it in the garage just in case any pests are still hiding in the seams. Missing just a bug or two could result in the pests spreading throughout your home.

Taking precautionary measures is the first step in preventing a bed bug infestation. Unfortunately, it is still possible to wind up with a pest problem after returning home from a trip. In this instance, a pest control professional can recommend the best treatment to rid your home of bed bugs.

Professional pest control companies the best at handling bed bugs

The Federal Trade Commission recently charged several companies with deceptive advertising. These companies marketed products that supposedly prevent and clear up bed bug infestations with natural ingredients, like cedar oil, lemongrass and cinnamon. The pest-killing claims were not supported with any evidence.

The FTC sued the companies in federal court, and one of them has agreed to cease marketing their product as a way to prevent bed bug infestations.

Bed bugs affect areas throughout the country and can be extremely difficult to eradicate. They can access the tiniest of spaces, where they are often not spotted until an infestation becomes severe. Mattress seams, behind headboards and behind wallpaper are common places for the pests to hide. Although their tiny size makes them hard to eliminate, their ability to live up to a year without eating also contributes to their resilience.

Homeowners facing bed bug problems are often embarrassed about the issue and try to treat the problem themselves instead of turning to insect control professionals. However, a bed bug infestation is nothing to be embarrassed about, as it has little to do with cleanliness. They can be picked up while traveling, visiting friends or even by bringing used clothing or furniture into your house. It's easy for these unwelcome creatures to sneak into your home undetected.

To prevent inadvertently bringing home the bugs, it's important to take caution when traveling. Check beds in hotels for signs of an infestation, and set suitcases on a luggage rack rather than letting them sit on the bed or carpet. Upon returning home, inspect all clothing and luggage, and wash everything, even items that weren't worn during your trip. Traveling isn't the only time you may encounter bed bugs – buying used clothing and furniture can also contribute to an unexpected infestation. Examine all purchases to ensure there aren't any bugs hiding in the items, and wash used clothing before stowing it in your closet.

Because these pests are difficult to get rid of, professional assistance is usually necessary. Don't risk using products that won't eliminate an infestation. If you've discovered signs of these insects, it's important to act quickly before the problem worsens. Calling a pest control company immediately is the first step to take in your battle against bed bugs. Professionals can confirm that the insects really are bed bugs, and they can recommend the best form of treatment based on your situation.

Do you have a bed bug infestation?

Bed bugs have become increasingly common over the last few years, and it seems that no one is immune to an infestation. While the pests were fairly common in the past, they were nearly eradicated after World War II. Unfortunately, some colonies survived and have spread all over the world.

The pests have been found in hotels, public buildings and college dorm rooms. If they haven't found their way into your home yet, it may just be a matter of time before the bed bugs start biting. It is important for a homeowner to know what to look for when a bed bug infestation is suspected, so pest control experts can take the appropriate actions immediately.

Examine your skin
One of the first bed bugs signs some people notice is red, itchy welts on their bodies. Bed bugs feed on human blood and their saliva often causes an allergic reaction in humans. This causes the bitten area to swell and itch. The pests are usually active at night, and the welts may not be noticeable for a day or more. If anyone in your home has such symptoms, it is important to quickly determine if the cause of the bumps is bed bugs.

Even though their bites leave irritating welts, bed bug bites cannot transmit disease. However, their presence may cause emotional distress for a homeowner dealing with an infestation.

Check your furniture
Bed bugs are often found in mattresses. If an infestation is suspected, a homeowner should first examine mattresses and box springs. Signs of bed bugs often include dark spots on a mattress, molted skin or even the insects themselves. Since the bugs tend to hide during the day, it is important to check in cracks and seams when looking for signs of the pests. Bed bug eggs are tiny and light-colored, making them hard to spot, but they may be visible on darker surfaces.

Mattresses are not the only places bed bugs like to call home. They also can infest headboards, bed frames and other pieces of furniture. Closely examine all furniture, especially pieces with creases, folds and seams since the pests tend to hide in these areas.

Call in a professional
It is impossible for a homeowner to successfully eliminate a bed bug issue on their own. The pests are notoriously difficult to get rid of, but professional exterminators can rid a structure of the blood-sucking bugs.

How to prevent a bed bug infestation this fall

If you're preparing for a last-minute summer vacation, the back-to-school season or a new job, you should be aware of a notoriously pesky insect: the bed bug. These pests are difficult to get rid of and can be picked up anywhere. It is important to know what precautions to take to avoid bed bugs whether you're staying at a hotel or moving into a college dormitory. Knowledge and preventative pest control measures are the most important thing you can do to prevent a bed bug infestation.

Colleges
Young people on a budget will often purchase second-hand pieces to furnish their college dorms or apartments. It is critical to inspect used furniture to ensure it is not infested with bed bugs, as they can spread. Checking small cracks and creases thoroughly for insects, eggs and stains is key to preventing an infestation from used furniture. College students living in school dormitories should be instructed by their parents to inspect mattresses and headboards to ensure the room is not crawling with the pests.

Elementary and high schools
College dorms, apartments and fraternity houses aren't the only place a student can pick up bed bugs. More and more elementary and high schools are reporting problems with the pests, and it is entirely possible for younger kids to pick them up unknowingly and bring them home. Teaching children to keep an eye out for pests and inspecting their belongings regularly is key to preventing an infestation, especially if your child's school stores students' belongings in close quarters.

Hotels and meeting rooms
It is equally important to check beds at a hotel when traveling. Bed bug infestations are not exclusive to unclean hotels, and luxury accommodations are just as likely to have an infestation as a budget room. These pests are hitchhikers and can crawl into luggage and clothing, making it possible to bring the infestation home when your vacation is over. Prevent a stowaway by making sure you place your suitcase on the luggage rack in your room, rather than on a bed or on the carpet. Upon arriving home, it is important to wash everything in your suitcase to kill any bed bugs that may have gotten in.

Seek assistance
If bed bugs, eggs or other suspicious signs of the pests are found, it is important to call a professional exterminator as soon as possible to handle the problem. Waiting may cause the infestation to worsen, and bed bugs are notoriously difficult for homeowners to treat on their own. An insect control company can recommend the best form of treatment for the pests.

Arizona family suffered with bed bugs for entire year

An infestation of bed bugs caused some major headaches for an Arizona household.

According to Phoenix-area independent news station KTVK, when an Arizona woman and her husband first discovered the bed bugs in their home, they did not know how to properly handle the problem. They tried getting rid of the pests on their own, but the infestation only grew, spreading to every room in their house. The couple began sleeping on chairs in the living room to avoid getting bites from the bugs in their beds.

Because the couple were embarrassed to ask for assistance to eliminate their pest problem, they learned to live with the bed bugs for more than a year.

Finally, the woman's daughter decided it was time to seek treatment for the insects that continued to plague the household. She arranged for insect control professionals to take care of the problem.

Severe bed bug infestations are a challenge to get rid of and often require professional assistance.

A local pest control expert told the source that the pests are notoriously hard to treat because even leaving one tiny egg behind means the bed bug population will continue to grow.

Exterminators spent hours in the home, utilizing treatments known to be effective against bed bugs. After the treatments were finished, the crew stuck bed bug-attracting traps on the walls. The traps determine if there are still bed bugs in a residence after it is treated.

Several weeks after the bed bug treatment, the couple did not find any bed bugs in the traps, meaning their home may finally be completely free of the pests.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that while the presence of bed bugs is irritating, an infestation has nothing to do with the cleanliness of a home. The cleanest of residences can succumb to a pest invasion, which is usually noticed when itchy bites occur while sleeping. Even though these bites cannot spread disease, scratching the welts excessively has the potential to increase the chance that a secondary skin infection will develop around the area.

Bed bug control is a difficult task for homeowners to undertake on their own, and those experiencing an infestation should contact an pest control professional for advice and effective treatment before the problem spreads to other areas of the house.