Bed bug infestations are on the rise in many major cities. Few people know how to avoid these pests or how easily they can infiltrate your home. A few nights at a high-end hotel or purchasing a new couch from the wrong showcase can lead to a nightmare infestation.
If you see any early signs of bed bugs, use these tips to keep your home safe and free of an infestation.
1. Always Wash New Clothes
Whether you purchase used clothing at yard sales or thrift stores or only shop at the most exclusive boutiques, bed bugs can catch a ride on any fabrics you bring into your home. You don’t know how your new purchase was transported to the store, what other products it sat next to, or who tried it on before you.
No matter where you buy clothing, you must run it through the dryer as soon as you get home. Bed bug eggs will not die unless they’re heated to at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes or more. The easiest way to nuke the eggs is to run them through a full cycle in the dryer. That gives your machine time to warm up to its highest temperature and ensure every last egg is fried.
2. Follow These Travel Tips
One of the easiest ways to pick up bed bugs is sleeping in a room that is already infested. Whenever you stay in a hotel or bed and breakfast, you should check for bugs. Lift up each corner of the bed’s sheets and look for small, dark stains. You may need to poke around to inspect crevices in the mattress; bed bugs like to hide as much as possible.
Many hotels have started using mattress encasements that prevent you from looking for bed bug staining. They look like a thick mattress cover. These encasements keep bed bugs from getting out of the mattress and biting you, so don’t worry if you see them. They might indicate an infestation or simply a cautious hotel manager.
Whether your room has an encasement or not, you should treat your room as if it does have bed bugs. Protect your luggage. Put it on a metal folding rack rather than storing it on the floor or put it in the bathtub. Bed bugs don’t like smooth surfaces like metal and porcelain. Don’t leave clothes lying around for unwelcome passengers to burrow into; only take out one set of clothing at a time. Keep everything else on the rack or in the tub where it will be safe.
3. Be Careful When Purchasing Furniture
Bed bugs can squirm into tiny crevices in mattresses, couches, and wooden furniture. You need to be on guard when bringing any of these items into your home. Don’t purchase furniture used unless you know the owner and their hygiene habits personally. Ask your furniture store how they avoid bed bugs.
A reputable dealer should be happy to answer your questions without getting defensive. If the store offers delivery, ask if they ever transport used furniture in their truck. If they do, it could potentially have a bed bug infestation and you’ll want to arrange a different option or insist your new items be delivered in plastic wrap.
These tips might sound inconvenient or annoying, but a bed bug infestation in your home would be a hundred times more irritating.
Just by putting in a little extra work – like washing new clothes – you can protect yourself and your family from these unwanted, blood-sucking pests and sleep better at night. You’ll save yourself money, and time, and most importantly protect your mental health.