How to prevent bed bugs is one of the most frequent questions we receive. The short answer is that you can’t. Now before you hit the back button on your web page, I wasn’t trying to provide a misleading title. Unless you live and operate inside of a medically sealed bubble, you can get bed bugs. In this article we will discuss ways to prevent bed bug INFESTATIONS!
Bed Bugs can be found anywhere
Bed bugs can be found anywhere where humans are located. Since humans provide the bed bug with its main source of food, they tend to live near where humans are. As there name suggests, bed bugs are commonly found in and around the bed. This is not the only place that I have seen or treated for bed bugs though.
Think about all of the places where people spend a considerable amount of time that isn’t in a bed. Public transportation and movie theaters come to mind. Imagine sitting in a movie theater and inadvertently take home a pregnant female bed bug. That single bed bug could lead to tens, hundreds, and even thousands of bed bugs over time.
Besides the bed, where else are bed bugs?
We gave some examples above of where bed bugs can be found. Once you have inspected the bedroom for bed bugs, begin to inspect other areas. In the home, I always inspect the living room furniture for bed bugs. Start by inspecting the seat that has the best view of the t.v. This is a seat that would be most often occupied by people. Where there are people, there are bed bugs.
Dining room furniture that has upholstered seat coverings also provide bed bug havens. Office furniture in homes and businesses can harbor bed bugs and allow them to feed. Although bed bugs typically are nocturnal, they aren’t always. If their main food source is available during the day, they will feed during the day.
We have a whole article on specific areas where bed bugs can be found. Check it out here.
Bed Bugs in Hotels
I think the most common concern when staying overnight in a hotel are bed bugs. You should always inspect the linen, mattress, and head board for bed bugs and/or bed bug excrement. This inspection should be done BEFORE setting your suitcase down or unpacking. I will place my suitcase in the bathtub, dry of course, and inspect the room PRIOR to placing my suitcase on the floor.
There are some user submitted databases that will list establishments with bed bug issues. You can find one such registry here.
Bed Bugs in Hotels, the reality.
Keep in mind that in the hotel industry, there are literally hundreds and thousands of people that come and go every year in each hotel. Using basic probability, it is inevitable that a hotel will have a bed bug introduced into its facility. The good hotels will identify the bed bug issue and immediately start a treatment process. Other hotels will wait, either on purpose or not, and allow their entire building to become INFESTED.
Proper identification of bed bugs, with a pest control plan in place can prevent hotels from having bed bug infestations. Cooperation and training are provided to the housekeeping staff to ensure that bed bug issues are caught early, and a treatment process can begin immediately.
Bed Bug Infestation Prevention
Since bed bugs can be found anywhere humans are, it can be incredibly difficult to determine where a bed bug infestation originated. I believe that unless you never leave your home and nothing new comes into your home, that you can come into contact with bed bugs. Below I will share some tips on how to prevent bed bug infestations.
Inspect for bed bugs
We discussed checking your hotel room for signs of bed bugs in the section above. Before I sit on any upholstered seat in public, I take a quick glance at the seams. I’m looking for stains, bed bugs, bed bug excrement, and the general cleanliness of the seat. If something doesn’t look right, I don’t sit. Bed bug excrement can be somewhat difficult to see depending on the color and pattern of the seat. Not physically touching something infested with bed bugs is the best way to prevent bed bug infestations.
Bed Bugs in used furniture
I can’t count the number of times I have gotten a phone call for bed bugs where the person states that they started getting bit after picking up some used furniture. This could be a used couch from a friend, or a used mattress on the side of the road. Sometimes “free stuff” can lead to much bigger problems. By that person “saving” money by taking a free couch, they spent hundreds of dollars and many hours on bed bug treatments.
Bed Bugs in new furniture
Most people can understand that used furniture carries a risk of bed bugs. I have seen NEW furniture have bed bugs too! How is that possible you ask? Think about how you get new furniture. The delivery truck pulls up to your house. The delivery folks take your old furniture and put it into the truck. They then take the new furniture and place it inside of your home. Imagine that one of there old furniture removals had bed bugs. That means their truck could have bed bugs and everything inside of it, including your brand new bed!
You think you came in contact with bed bugs, now what?
If you believe you came in contact with bed bugs, you should take the following steps. Let’s assume you woke up in a hotel and have some bites. Takes these steps to help prevent infesting your home with bed bugs.
- When you get home, wash and dry ALL clothing (including what you are wearing) on HIGH HEAT.
- Quarantine your suitcase outside, DO NOT put it away in a closet or bedroom.
- Inspect your car seats and trunk for bed bugs
- Bed Bug monitors can be placed in the bedroom and car to monitor for bed bug activity.
- If you decide to use a pesticide spray, make sure you read and follow the directions on the chemical.
Bed Bug Monitors
Bed bug monitors exist so that bed bug introductions can be found early and not turn into infestations. The monitors can be simple glue boards that will capture the bed bugs on their travels. Other bed bug monitors are sophisticated and utilize pheromones or CO2 to attract bed bugs. The bottom line is that bed bug monitors will give you peace of mind. If you did bring home a bed bug, the monitors will pick it up and you can start to contact a pest control professional for treatment. If the monitors do not capture any bed bugs after a week or so, then you can feel pretty confident that you are bed bug free.
Preventing Bed Bug Infestations
In both commercial and residential situations, bed bug infestations can be prevented through quick and early identification. If the bed bug issue is discovered early and treated immediately, then it will not turn into an infestation. Cooperation between the homeowner and pest control professional is critical in resolving the bed bug issue quickly and effectively.
No one wants bed bugs. Your home and your bed should be a place of relaxation and comfort. Don’t let bed bugs make you uncomfortable in your own home!
Here are some other articles on bed bugs and bed bug control:
Bed Bugs Control Chester County
If you live or work in Chester County and have bed bug questions, Prudential Pest Solutions can help. Our fully licensed and insured technicians can treat your bed bug issue with affordable, professional, effective treatments.
Give us a call or send us a message to get pest free today!