The key to bed bug prevention lies in learning everything there is about bed bugs, recognizing their signs and safely ridding one’s home of them, in the event they do occur.
Recognizing the signs of bed bugs
As stated above, one of the first steps in bed bug prevention is recognizing bed bugs. The bed bug is a small insect that undergoes various life cycle stages. A newly hatched bug appears as a transparent, tan colored insect, the size of a poppy seed. As it grows older, the bed bug gains a rust colored, flat and oval shaped body that is smaller than an average apple seed.
The main part of bed bug prevention is to recognize the signs of bed bug activity:
- Blood stains, fecal droppings and discarded exoskeletons found in regions such as the mattress, bed sheets, pillow cases and upholstered furniture.
- Sighting of bed bugs and their droppings in cracks and crevices, baseboards or electrical outlets.
Bed bug bites appear as small reddish bumps or large and itchy welts on exposed parts of the skin. The bed bug bites often resemble the bites of mosquitoes and other insects hence bed bugs are often mistaken to be these other pests.
Steps for bed bug prevention
Bed bugs are capable of hitchhiking into our homes. They simply latch onto our furniture, clothes and luggage. They are also capable of entering our homes from connected pipelines and wiring etc. Here are a few ways of bed bug prevention:
- Bed bug prevention when traveling. Inspect your hotel room thoroughly before unpacking, as hotel infestations are the most common method of bringing bed bugs inside your home. Most hotel bed bug infestations are focused near the bed. So, inspect the headboard, mattress and bed covers to ensure there are no signs of bed bug activity. If you do see these, ask the hotel management for another room. Another method of prevention when traveling is to never place suitcase or shoes near the hotel beds, but in open areas away from the bed and walls.
- Bed bug prevention from used furniture. Another common mistake made by many Americans in brining bed bugs into their homes is picking up used furniture from dumpsters, yard sales etc. A surefire way of prevention is to never take any discarded furniture, buy refurbished items or even rent or store anyone’s furniture in your home or garage. Always inspect used books before buying them as a part of bed bug prevention.
- Bed bug prevention after you have had visitors. It is vital to inspect the rooms thoroughly after your visitors have left. Even if your son or daughter is home from her college dormitory for vacation, make sure to inspect his/her room and luggage as a necessary step for preventing bed bugs.
- Bed bug prevention at the local Laundromat. People who have had an infestation generally wash their infested items in public Laundromats. Most commercial dryers are capable of killing these pests using heat treatment. However, some bugs can still escape and particularly the baggage used for bringing in the infested items may be discarded in the dumpsters in these public facilities. If you happen to use public laundry facilities; do ensure inspecting the tables and chairs before placing clean clothes on them. Also avoid placing your laundry baskets near the seating areas or the trash cans in such facilities.
- Bed bug prevention at work places. Bed bugs are quite common in hospitals, daycare facilities, rest homes, assisted living facilities and even offices etc. People working in such places need to be extra cautious about bed bug prevention. Steps like wearing designated clothing and bagging it up and leaving it in the car etc are a few steps one can follow to avoid bringing bugs home. Additionally, one must ensure placing their jackets or outer clothing not on the back of chairs but on hangers provided in the cubicle or office. If you catch site of bed bugs at the workplace, contact the housekeeping department of the facility immediately for a complete inspection and elimination.
These are a few methods of bed bug prevention which can help us modify our behavior in order to avoid bringing these pesky bugs home.