Bed bugs: two words no one wants to hear in any sentence associated with their home, furniture they’ve used, or a bed they’ve slept in. Bed bugs are tiny pests that live on the blood of animals or humans, and although they are not thought to transmit diseases, they are a nuisance that are tough to get rid of and can leave you covered in bites leaving you with itchy welts. They crawl rather than fly, but are able to move quickly and may enter your home undetected catching a ride on luggage, clothing, used beds and couches, and other items. Treating a bed bug infestation is complex and can take weeks or even months. So what can you do to prevent getting them, or if you suspect you already have them?
Unfortunately, there is no guaranteed way to prevent the possibility of ever getting bed bugs due to how they travel, but you can take steps to reduce the chances of bringing them into and allowing an infestation of your home. Some of these steps include:
- Bed bugs are not like roaches that are drawn to and thrive in a “dirty” environment. Reducing clutter however can help reduce the number of hiding spots.
- Use a protective cover that encases mattresses and box springs to eliminate many hiding spots.
- Vacuum frequently to remove any successful hitchhikers.
- Be vigilant when using shared laundry facilities. Transport items to be washed in plastic bags (if you have an active infestation, use a new bag for the journey home). Remove from the dryer directly into the bag and fold your laundry at home. A dryer on high heat can kill bed bugs.
- Do your research before staying in places like hotels. Sites like Bedbug Reports and TripAdvisor allow guests to share warnings to fellow travelers of any potential bed bug sightings, letting you steer clear of the problem areas.
- Keep your belongings stored separately from those of other people. If there is a known problem with bed bugs in the office or school, consider storing your belongings in a plastic bin.
- If you find bed bugs, do not move from your bed to the couch or stay in someone else’s home. Do not move your furniture from room to room; you’ll only allow the bed bugs more opportunities and places to spread.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) preparing for control is very important whether you are considering hiring a professional or planning to do it yourself. The EPA’s website includes important information such as identifying bed bugs, treatment, prevention, and general information. Controlling bed bugs using integrated pest management means using a variety of methods, including both chemical and non-chemical techniques. If you would like to use a do-it-yourself approach, be sure to come up with a plan to execute to ensure eradication and safety. All do-it-yourself products, especially foggers, should be researched and employed properly. In addition, you should be careful to only use legal control methods, as others may cause serious harm. Local companies like ABC Home & Commercial and Fox Pest Control can assist in treating your home for bed bugs.
It is not recommended to immediately throw infested items away. As items are carried through the home to be discarded, bed bugs can fall off of the item and be spread throughout the home to uninfested areas. In the event the furniture is in poor condition or highly infested and discarding the item is the best option, it is best left to a professional so that the item can be discarded properly without spreading the problem. Mattresses and furniture should not simply be discarded on the curb or in a dumpster as they may be picked up by an unsuspecting party, spreading the problem to a new location. It’s important to realize that some people reuse items from transfer stations, dumpsters or city curbs. Before you discard bedding, use a sharp implement to destroy the fabric. Write “bed bugs” and “infested” on it with a marker or spray paint. Seal the item in plastic shrink wrap and/or bags. These steps help protect everyone from this tenacious pest.
BoxDrop Corpus Christi offers protective covers as well as some of the most affordable mattresses in Corpus Christi in the event you find yourself needing a new mattress. Call us at (361) 876-4445 to set up a consultation with our supportive staff or visit us during regular business hours in-store located at 1251 Nile Drive, Corpus Christi, Texas.