The well-known catchphrase “don’t let the bed bugs bite” has taken on a quite literal meaning in recent years. Pest control companies have been flooded with residential and commercial properties complaining of bed bug infestations that have reached a whole new level. This is thought to be partly because of increased international travel and a general lack of knowledge about pest control methods, but whatever the reason, these are blood-sucking critters that you definitely don’t want to find sleeping with you. Here are a few tips for spotting a possible bed bug problem, management and prevention.
Clues of an Infestation
Most people never know exactly how bed bugs got into their home, office, hotel room, etc. They are known to be sneaky travelers and can end up on your clothing, luggage, boxes, furniture or anything else they can hide in, so even the cleanest of places can fall victim to a bed bug problem. No establishment is really 100 percent safe from these pests, so it’s important to know what signs to look for so you are able to expose bed bugs early on and seek the services of a professional pest control company.
Bed bugs are one of the most difficult insects to actually see with your own eyes. They generally conceal themselves during the day and come out at night to feed. Therefore, you must usually rely on these other methods of discovery. Bed bugs most often take up residence in mattresses, box springs, baseboards, wallpaper and upholstery, leaving behind red or brown fecal matter, their molted skins and white eggs or egg shells. Sometimes a sweet odor can be
detected in heavier infestations. A lot of people have allergic reactions to bed bug bites, which are often confused in look and feel with a mosquito bite, but this can’t always be depended on as a sign since some people don’t have any kind of reaction from bites.
Successful control of a bed bug infestation counts on early detection and proper treatment. These insects easily move from one location to the next, can reproduce quickly and reside in sensitive areas. Pest control of bed bugs can be tricky for these reasons and almost always requires professional treatment. Popular methods of treatment include heat, freezing, vacuuming, steaming, fumigation, encasement of mattresses and box springs and gentle insecticides. Infested items that cannot be treated are often discarded. Be prepared and aware that it can take several occasions to fully get rid of a bed bug infestation.
Bed bug awareness and prevention is the ideal way to ward off the threat of future infestations and to keep from transporting them from place to place. When you are traveling be sure to check your hostel or hotel rooms for signs of bed bugs before you unpack your belongings. Keep your luggage away from the walls or other furniture that bed bugs may inhabit. If you find signs of them, remove all of your luggage from the room and inform the front desk immediately. Be conscientious of the environment you’re in, inspect and wash clothing as soon as you return home from a trip, vacuum out your suitcase and don’t hesitate to call for a bed bug inspection if you have any doubts or just for peace of mind.
Bed bugs continue to be one of the most difficult insects to get rid of despite the very best pest control efforts, however, it’s not the end of the world if you happen to discover you’ve been invaded. They can definitely be managed when appropriate action is taken.
About the Author
Tiffany Olson worked at an international hostel for 7 ½ years where she was educated extensively on the risks, treatment, and prevention of a bed bug infestation. She unfortunately has also had firsthand experience with bed bugs while traveling in Argentina.