The very mention of bed bugs sends chills down the spines of homeowners.
If you have traveled at all during the holidays, you need to be especially mindful and vigilant regarding bed bugs. This article will help you understand and identify bed bugs, prevent their spread, and exterminate them from your home.
Defining Bed Bugs
We have defined bed bugs in a previous post as tiny, oval-shaped insects, about the size of an average apple seed. To live, they feed on the blood of animals and people. You can identify them by their flat bodies and reddish-brown coloring.
Bed Bugs Are Hitchhikers
Bed bugs, believe it or not, were nearly eradicated back in the 1950s, but they have sadly resurfaced. The rise in the prevalence of world travel is one of the factors for their successful reappearance. They like to hitch a ride in your luggage or clothing and make themselves at home wherever you go.
You and your belongings can be exposed to bed bugs whenever you stay in a hotel or vacation rental.
The holidays are among the busiest travel seasons of the year, which means bed bugs are living their best lives. They wait for you to put your luggage on bedding or furniture, and when you’re not looking, they jump in your bags or clothes and wait till you bring them home.
Did You Bring Bed Bugs Home During Holiday Travel?
Even though bed bugs are little, they are not undetectable. More importantly, there are a variety of indicators that bed bugs are present. The following are some of the warning signs you have brought these annoying pests back with you during your holiday travels:
- The exoskeleton of bed bugs is shed after they molt. If you see this, you have bed bugs.
- You might find their little red-brown bodies in the folds of blankets and sheets.
- Even if you don't see the pests, rust-colored specks on your sheets, mattresses, and furniture may indicate the presence of their blood and feces.
- You may never see them, but you may smell their icky sweet, musty odor in your bedrooms.
- Bite marks on you or your family members are the clearest evidence of the presence of bed bugs. While you are sleeping, bed bugs frequently bite a person's face, hands, arms, or neck. These bites will very probably be itchy, causing rashes and potentially even allergic responses.
The days and weeks following travel are key to controlling and preventing the spread of bed bugs in your home.
How to Control Bed Bugs from Spreading
When you return from vacation, wash your clothing in hot water and clean your luggage. However, even if you do everything right, bed bugs may still spread. As soon as you see the first sign:
- Remove any clutter from the rooms that have signs of bed bugs.
- All contaminated linens and pillows should be washed (sheets, pillowcases, bed skirts, etc.).
- After you suspect an infestation, vacuum carpets, molding, windowsills, and other surfaces every day.
- Using a hard brush, scrub the mattresses and mattress seams.
Once bed bugs have infested your home, they can quickly reproduce. A decent rule of thumb is that if you see one, there are usually hundreds more nearby.
For homeowners in the Carolinas and Virginia, there is good news. Rid-A-Bug has been helping homeowners stop the spread of bed bugs for over thirty years. We are here to help.
Contact us right away if you notice the signs that bed bugs have caught a ride with you while traveling and intend to make their home with you. We typically respond within 24 hours of your call and can eliminate bed bugs completely from your home.