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Bed bugs are a growing problem worldwide, seeing exponential growth in the past 10 years.
Adults are visible with the naked eye – about the size, shape and color of an apple seed.
They do not jump or fly. The way they get around is to crawl or hitchhike on moveable objects.
They ONLY feed on blood – sanitation is not an issue.
Bed bugs are usually transported from place to place as people travel.
Bed bug infestations usually occur around or near the areas where people sleep. These areas include apartments, shelters, rooming houses, hotels, cruise ships, buses, trains, and dorm rooms. They hide during the day in places such as seams of mattresses, box springs, bed frames, headboards, dresser tables, inside cracks or crevices, behind wallpaper, or any other clutter or objects around a bed.
They are most active at night but only because that’s when most of us sleep. If we sleep during the day they will be active then as well.
They do not transmit diseases from animal to human nor from person to person.
Anyone can get bed bugs.
What do bed bug bites look like?
Bed bug bites affect everyone differently. Some people may have no reaction and will not develop bite marks or any other visible signs of being bitten. Other people may be allergic to the bed bugs and can react adversely to the bites.
The bite marks are similar to that of a mosquito or a flea bite. The bitten area can become swollen and red.
The bites may be itchy and irritating.
The bite marks may be random or appear in a straight line.
How to prevent beg bugs from hitchhiking into your home:
Never take any furniture from a dumpster or street curbs no matter how good it looks. The better it looks the more likely it is to be infested with bed bugs.
Do not purchase refurbished mattresses or couches.
Do not purchase furniture at a garage sale or antique store without carefully inspecting it first.
Never rent furniture or store anyone’s furniture in your home.
If you purchase a new mattress (or any piece of furniture), do not have it delivered to your home. Often the same trucks that deliver new mattresses, also take the old (potentially infested) mattresses away. So your new mattress might pick up bed bugs on the truck.
Do not purchase used books without first inspecting them.
Use caution when using the laundromat.
Do not transport laundry in cloth bags unless you plan to wash and dry them. Instead use white, plastic baskets that are easy to inspect when they are empty.
Do not set your laundry basket on the floor or on top of the washer but put it back in your car when it is not in use. If you do not have a car, place the basket on top of the washer and inspect it thoroughly before putting clean laundry back into it.
Do not set your laundry basket anywhere near the seating areas or trash cans.
Inspect any chairs in the seating area of the laundromat before sitting on them.
Inspect the table used for folding laundry before placing your clean clothes on it. Better still, fold your clean laundry at home.
If you are helping a friend move, or transporting other people’s belonging for any reason, be sure to inspect your vehicle once the belongings have been removed. While bed bugs do not typically survive the heat of a car during the warmer months, the car is an excellent bed bug habitat during the cooler weather.
When traveling, inspecting your hotel room for bed bugs is very important for protecting yourself against bed bug bites as well as preventing bed bugs from infesting your bag.
Pull back the sheets and inspect the mattress seams and box springs, particularly at the corners, for stains, spots or shed bed bug skins.
Check the underside of the mattress tag.
Do not place luggage on upholstered surfaces or on the bed. Instead keep them on a shelf or tile floor.
If possible remove the head board from the wall and inspect the back of it, particularly the holes for set-in screws and the plate that allows the head board to hang from the wall.
Keep dirty clothing in a plastic bag.
If you notice bed bugs in your room, notify management and request to change rooms.
When you return home, inspect your suitcases before bringing them into the house.
Vacuum your suitcase thoroughly before bringing indoors and storing.
Wash all of your clothes in hot water to remove any bed bugs or eggs that may have traveled home with you.
Be conscious of the visitors entering your home. While we do not want to avoid having visitors, we simply need to be conscious of who they are and what they might bring with them in their bags and travel accessories.
When your child arrives home from college, camps and stays away from home inspect for bed bugs.
Don't let your child bring his belongings in the house and unpack. Take time to inspect and clean everything first. If you have a garage or outdoor shed, that's a great place to unpack and inspect his things before they are allowed in the house.
Any and all items that can be laundered, whether they need it or not, should go right into the washing machine. Wash everything on the highest temperature allowable for the fabric. Then be sure to dry everything on the highest heat possible for at least 30 minutes.
Books and other items that can't be easily laundered or cleaned can be placed in a freezer to kill any hidden bed bugs. Leave them sealed in plastic bags when you put them in the freezer. You don’t want bed bugs wandering around in your fridge! This is only practical if the items can stay in the freezer for at least 5 days, however. Any bed bugs eggs can remain viable for several days.
Bed bugs can hide inside laptops and other electronics. Inspect these carefully before bringing them inside the house. On most laptops, you can remove the keyboard to check underneath.
Check the lining and seams of any backpacks or bags. Bed bugs like to hide in the folds, seams, and pockets, and can get under the lining if there's a tear. If you have a steam cleaner, you can treat backpacks and other similar items with steam.
Any hard items can be wiped down, and should be inspected for bed bugs as you clean them.
What should you do if you find bed bugs in your home?
Bed bug infestations are commonly treated by insecticide spraying.
Contact your landlord or local pest control agency for treatments options.
Notify your child's school nurse so measures can be taken to avoid transfer of bed beds to the school environment.
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