How to Keep Bed Bugs From Hitchhiking Home

The Lowcountry is no stranger to bed bugs. Once these biting insects infiltrate your home, it may take weeks to mitigate the infestation fully. Juvenile bed bugs can be so small that they are nearly impossible to see. Once these insects mature into adults they measure about the size of an apple seed. They are flat, oval-shaped, and reddish-brown in color. Bed bugs feed on human blood and can live up to an entire year without a meal! They are nocturnal and are hard to track since they usually hide during the day near where people sleep and then come out at night to feed. Contrary to popular belief, bed bugs do not live on our bodies, they just feed on them – Yuck!

If all of those bed bug facts are not enough to make you cringe, here is one more. These pests love to travel. COVID-19 cannot keep these bloodsucking creatures self-quarantined! Now that our area is once again opening up for travel, the number of bed bug cases will again begin to rise. Hotels are notorious for bed bug infestations, so lucky for you we are here to help! Check out our Pro tips and tricks for how to keep bed bugs from hitchhiking home with you!

There are a number of precautions you can take to keep these vampire pests away from your home. Whether you prefer to shop second-hand or love to travel, both put you and your family at high risk of bringing bed bugs into your home. Check out our tips on how to prevent bed bugs on the day-to-day and when traveling. If you happen to still find yourself with a pest problem, we have also included tips on treatment (hint: call the professionals at Old South Exterminators!).

How to Prevent Bed Bugs From Entering Your Home on the Day-To-Day

  1. Do not bring mattresses, box springs, bed frames, or other furniture found on the street into your home. Make sure to check all used or rented furniture for bed bugs before bringing it into your home. Only purchase/pick-up used or rented furniture from a place with a bed bug prevention policy.
  2. When buying a new bed, ask for a morning delivery. If the truck also picks up used mattresses or furniture, your new mattress could spend the day alongside an infested mattress or two. In that case, your brand new bed will arrive already infested!
  3. Bring out the tape! Seal cracks and crevices around known entry points, plumbing, and wiring. If you live in an apartment, condominium, or townhouse you are at a higher risk for contracting bed bugs because your home is connected to someone else’s. Although tape is not a permanent solution, it is a quick, cheap, and easy fix to keep these pests out for a limited period of time. Do not expect bed bugs to stick to the tape as flies do with flypaper. These insects are smarter than flies! When they encounter a sticky, uneven, or impassable surface, bed bugs will quickly realize their path is not clear and will turn around. All you have to do is place an unbroken line of tape on the floor next to the door and around any crack/crevice where they could enter from a neighboring property – this includes securing plumbing and wiring!

How to Prevent Bed Bugs From Entering Your Home After Traveling

  1. Do not place your backpack, luggage, or purse on hotel beds or couches – avoid any area where you rest or sleep. These are common areas where bed bugs will hitch a ride home!
  2. Check your hotel room for bed bugs. Check the bedding, furniture, and luggage valet. Pay close attention to areas where you rest or sleep. Thoroughly inspect the room, but do not completely tear it apart. When inspecting the mattress, pull back the sheets and look closely at the surface, sides, and seams of the mattress near the headboard.
  3. Never unpack your bags in a bedroom or living room. Take your luggage – with everything still in them – into your garage. If you do not have a garage, take it into the kitchen or an outside parking area. Take all of the clothing you packed, including the clothes you traveled home in, and place them all inside a plastic bag. Take the bag directly to the washer and wash all clothes, even if they were unused. If the clothing traveled – wash it! Use the highest temperature water and drier settings that you can without ruining your clothing.
  4. Thoroughly clean all luggage (backpacks and purses included!) that traveled with you. Empty all luggage, backpacks, and purses that traveled with you. Vacuum them both inside and out to remove any possible bed bugs. Dispose of the vacuum bag in an outside trashcan – do not dispose of the bag inside, ever. If your vacuum is bag less, dump the contents in an outside trashcan. For extra precautions, soak a cotton ball with alcohol and rub it on narrow crevices and creases of your luggage. This will clean all areas that you vacuum maybe could not go in between.

Tip From the Pros

For anything, you cannot wash (i.e. shoes), place them in a bag and leave the bag in your garage or out in the sun. Do this for a minimum of one day to kill any bed bugs that may have traveled home with you. High temperatures kill bed bugs. On some occasions, even when utmost care and precaution is taken to prevent these bugs from entering your home they still make their way in. In this instance, prevention shifts to mitigation – and that’s where we come in.

Bed bugs are typically found just where you would guess – in your bed/bedroom. The easiest way to rid your bed of bed bugs is to discard the mattress. Discarding infested furniture or mattresses is the preferred solution but is not usually practical. Even if you are able to discard infected items, you still need to perform an intense investigation to ensure you are not leaving bed bugs in other areas of your home. If they are still present, they will simply re-infest new furniture and the process starts all over again.

Dealing with bedbugs? Call Old South Exterminators for help today! Our experienced team is ready to help you.

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