Unless you have been living in a cave, you have undoubtedly heard about the increased number of bed bug infestations in Europe, Australia and the United States that has exponentially exploded since the 1990s. Several theories are launched as to the reason behind this leap in bed bug numbers, the two that seem to have the most credibility are the discontinued use of DDT as a pesticide and increased global travel and mobility. There are several steps that you can take to protect your home and family from a bed bug infestation.
When travelling, you can Google the name of your hotel or motel with the phrase “bed bugs” or “bed bug reports” to find out if where you are staying has been reported by fellow travelers as being a place affected by bed bugs. Of course, if you find bed bugs in a room, ask to be moved to a different room, and report the infestation to help other travelers on one of the man sites chronicling bed bugs in hotels and motels. The incidence of bed bugs is not limited to the cheap motels, high end hotels have also been found to have bed bugs as well. Also, before you leave home, you can pack your clothing in extra large zipper shut bags and keep them sealed inside your suitcase. By doing this, the chances of bringing home a hungry souvenir hitchhiker are decreased.
You can purchase special liners to go into your suitcase to keep bed bugs out as well. There are special sprays that you can use to spray inside your suitcase and on the zipper to prevent bed bugs from entering your suitcase. Upon checking into your room, you can scan the room for evidence of bed bugs. Place your belongings into the bathtub – dry of course, since bed bugs do not usually go into the tub. Inspect for signs of bed bugs, such as small blood stains on bedding, look for their molted skins which are about the size of an apple seed and reddish brown. Eggs would also be proof of an infestation. These are white in color and about the size of a sesame seed. Bed bugs like to hide, and often the seams of mattresses are favorite places. Once you return home, especially if you travel frequently, you will want to protect your home from the accidental infestation. The above methods with sealing your clothing are good options; another one is to keep your home mattress encased in a special bed bug mattress cover.
Make sure to use a specialized bed bug mattress cover. These bed bug mattress covers are unique and specially designed to keep the critters out of the bed, and in the case of an active infestation, a bed bug mattress cover will seal the bed bugs into the mattress, eventually starving them to death. Using a bed bug mattress cover can also help while your home is in treatment for a bed bug infestation. These bed bug mattress covers have zipper enclosures that do not allow the bed bugs to escape as a regular mattress enclosure would.
When fighting a bed bug infestation, although the impulse is to discard the mattress immediately, consult with a pest control specialist. You may want to use a bed bug mattress enclosure on the old mattress until the infestation is cleared, and then discard the mattress – still in the enclosure, and with proper and permanent markings, labeling the mattress as being bed bug infested. Proper education and prevention is the key to beginning to fight the epidemic numbers of bed bugs. With knowledge, you can protect your home and family.