Preventing Holiday Bed Bug Infestations for Greater-DC Homes
One of the best ways to pick up bed bugs is to travel. This is because bed bugs spread passively. They don't crawl up your exterior walls and slip in through a tear in your window screens or squeeze under doors that don't have good weather stripping. These bugs ride into homes inside belongings that have been infested with bed bugs or their eggs. And the easiest way for these pests to find a way onto our belongings is when we spend the night in a place that has been unknowingly infested with bed bugs. While the best way to avoid a bed bug infestation would be to stay home for the holidays, who really wants to do that? Thankfully, there are some prevention tips that can be utilized to limit the potential of infestation.
When Are Bed Bugs Most Active?
If you're not aware, bed bugs are mostly nocturnal in nature. They prefer to come out when it is dark. They also prefer to come out when they sense the carbon dioxide levels in a room rising. A rise in CO2 levels is a good indication to those bugs that there is a sleeping human in the room. That means it is mealtime.
While we can pick up bed bugs any time of the day and in many locations, it is much more likely when we spend the night somewhere. That is why hotels, motels, and other businesses that offer sleeping accommodations have such an issue with these bugs, and why we have a good chance of picking bed bugs up in these locations.
The way it works is actually quite simple. When you go to sleep, those bugs come out of hiding. They crawl around in cracks and creases, which makes your bags and luggage enticing. They're searching for a blood meal, so any item that smells like a human will lure them in. This will have them crawling on laundry items hung on a chair or lying on the floor. When they get into clothes or luggage, they can lay their eggs or find a place to hide. Either way, it is bad news for you. A single female bug and a single batch of eggs can be the beginning of an infestation in your home.
Simple Bed Bug Prevention Ideas
Since bed bugs are drawn to items that have been worn, one good way to prevent bringing an infestation home with you is to keep your laundry in a sealed plastic bag. A trash bag sealed with a rubber band does the job. When you get back from your holiday trip, be sure to wash all your laundry on the hottest temperature. Hot water kills bed bugs in all stages of development.
You can protect your bags with plastic bags as well. When you're not getting into your luggage to grab something to wear, keep them sealed and protected. It is also a good idea to use a luggage stand, if one is provided, so you don't give bed bugs easy access from a carpet or a bed.
Along with these simple protective measures, it is a good idea to inspect your room for signs of bed bugs. Do an inspection of your mattress edges and corners, stitching on upholstered furniture, outlet covers, and the surface of baseboards near the bed. Search for black streaks, black patches, tiny black droppings, shed insect skins, brown blood stains, white eggs, or tiny pale to brown insects crawling around.
Keep in mind that hotels and motels aren't the only places you can pick up bed bugs. You can get them from staying at someone's home. It can take time for a family to realize they have bed bugs. When you stay the night, they may not even know they are exposing you to bed bugs. Be sure to do a quick bed bug inspection in every place you spend the night.
What To Do When Bed Bugs Come Home With You
If you accidentally pick bed bugs up during the holidays and bring them back to your DC home, let American Pest help you rid your home of those bugs. Bed bugs are extremely difficult to get rid of without training and experience. They have been living almost exclusively with humans for centuries. They know how to avoid our attempts to exterminate them. They even have the ability to develop an immunity to pesticides. That is why many pest professionals rely on heat remediation as one of the best ways to get rid of those bugs. Unfortunately, a heat treatment isn't something a homeowner is able to do safely. It requires temperature-controlled, industrial-strength heaters and temperature sensors to raise the temperature of a home to a level high enough to kill bed bugs without causing harm to belongings or the structure itself.
For assistance with bed bug remediation in DC, start by requesting a free estimate.
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