Preventing Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are tough, difficult to get rid of and hide stealthily during the day. At night they are attracted to the warmth and exhalation of a sleeping person, leave their hidden crevasses and cracks and attack. The sleeper may not even be aware of them until they see the signs of bed bug bites the next day. Although they are a definite nuisance, they are not believed to transmit disease, so are not considered a public health risk. Even though this may be true, no one wants bed bugs in their home, so learning the best ways of preventing bed bugs will spare people the difficulties and discomfort a bed bug infestation brings.

Over the past decade there has been a startling rise in bed bug infestations. A highly mobile population is partly to blame. Some pest control professionals cite the changes in allowable pesticides as another reason for this insect’s recent spread. They are found not only in hotels and homes, but in a wide variety of public places. Schools have reported outbreaks, movie theaters have temporarily closed and even libraries are subject to bed bug infestations. Anywhere you find frequent human visitors, you also have the possibility of finding bedbugs. Businesses, shopping malls and even hospitals have found bed bugs to be a problem. Preventing bed bugs is more important now than ever before as their numbers continue to rise.

Every traveler needs to know how to avoid bed bugs in hotels and motels. Check online travel reviews before you book a room. Anyone who has experienced bed bugs in a hotel is quite likely to share this information online. Never place your luggage on the floor, unless it is in a tiled bathroom. Keep luggage and clothing on rods in the closet, on top of tables or left in the bathroom. Many travelers seal their luggage in plastic bags as a method of preventing bed bugs from hitching a ride to their cars and homes. These insects are only about a quarter of an inch long, and as dawn breaks they seek shelter in any dark, protected spot, including your luggage.

Second-hand goods can carry bed bugs, so people who frequent used clothing and furniture stores are at risk of bringing bed bugs home along with their purchases. Inspect all purchases well before leaving the store. Look in every seam and crevasse to see if there are signs of bed bugs. If you spot tiny dark specks that could be bed bug feces or traces of blood, pass the item by.  Although all second-hand materials are supposed to be fumigated, bed bugs are resistant to many of the chemicals used. Preventing bed bugs from invading the home will save hundred or even thousands of dollars in later pest control. One thing that effectively kills bed bugs at all stages in their life cycle is heat. If you frequent second-hand shops, immediately put all clothing, bedding or cloth decorative items through a hot washer and dryer cycle to kill any bed bugs hitching a ride. With infestations now occurring in retail stores, this practice may be necessary no matter where you shop.

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