Bed bugs are back. Learning how to prevent bed bugs while traveling or from infesting our home in the best defense against these relentless bloodsucking pests.
We managed to get rid of this unpleasant blood sucking parasite in the 20th century with the advent of powerful insecticides in most of modern world. But, with the increases in international travel and the restrictions of certain pesticides, like DDT, that were once used to treat these bloodsucking critters – bed bugs are back and spreading with a vengeance. With the resurgence, bed bugs can now be found everywhere, from fancy five-stars hotels, luxury high-rise condos, student dorms, apartment buildings, theaters to even clothing stores.
How Do Bed Bugs Get Into Our Homes?
Many people wonder where do bed bugs come from and how do they spread into homes. For a long time the prevalent myth was that bed bugs reside in poor tenements of questionable hygiene. We now know that they are equal opportunity pests and are perfectly happy in clean homes as in the dirty ones, as long as there is nice, warm human blood to feed on. They thrive in warm dark places and their preferred habitat is our bed and its surroundings.
Finding an entrenched bed bug infestation in your perfectly clean, new home is a scary experience. Many people are tempted to get rid of all their possessions and even to move. But, bed bugs could have hitchhike to your home with your kid who just returned from the summer camp, or with your daughter who came from university for a summer break, or even with that lovely antique furniture your paid a fortune for.
Our penchant, and means, for travel, domestic and foreign, is also probably another cause for one of the biggest reasons for the sudden recurrence of bed bugs in our lives. Bed bugs are insidious survivors who travel well and are perfectly capable of hitching rides from someone else suitcase or clothing to your own. You could also have picked them up during one of your travels, without realizing it until bite marks start showing up on your body.
In addition, we live very close to each other and the majority of people today live in large cities. The closer we live to each other, the easier it is for bed bugs to spread from one person to another, and from one apartment to another.
How To Prevent Bed Bugs?
While we cannot hide from the rest of the world and neither are we going to stop traveling because of bed bugs, there are preventive ways that we can do to make it more difficult for these tiny bloodsuckers move in with us. The following are some experts recommendations on how to prevent bed bugs while traveling as well as to prevent them from spreading and infesting your home or apartment.
How To Prevent Bed Bugs When Traveling
- Before you travel, check out Bed Bug Registry for any reported incidences of bed bugs at the hotels you intend to stay in.
- Upon checking in, inspect the mattress of your hotel room, looking carefully along the seams, folds, edges and labels for any telltale signs of bed bugs like dark spots or any brown exoskeleton skins that the critters shed as they grow – before unpacking your bags. If you see anything that may lead you to suspect bed bugs, request for a change of room.
- After returning from a trip, unload all your clothes into the washer or dryer, and wash them using the hottest setting allowed. At the same time, inspect your suitcases and bags for any unwanted hitchhikers. Look in the seams, buckles, zippers, nooks and crannies. Keep all luggages away from your bedroom.
How To Prevent Bed Bugs From Spreading At Home
- Bed bugs are experts at hiding so regularly up-keeping of your bedroom or apartment free of clutter will help to reduce the places where bed bugs can hide as well as making it easier to spot any signs of bed bugs early. Remember to vacuum regularly and check under the carpeting.
- Caulk up all the cracks in the wall and floor of your room as well as patch up any loose wallpaper since bed bugs can also hide under peeling paint or wallpaper. Apply bed bug pesticides like diatomaceous earth dust to protect and defend your perimeters.
- Wash all linen frequently at high temperatures and inspect it for traces of bed bugs infestation. If you are concerned, consider using climb-up interceptors and enclosing your mattress with special bed bug resistant mattress cover to prevent bed bugs from infesting your bed as well as their bites.
- If you acquire any second-hand or used furniture, have it thoroughly inspected especially inside drawers, cracks or screw holes before bringing it home.
While bed bugs are a horrible epidemic, it is very important to know that neither they nor their bites are dangerous to our health, since they do not transmit any diseases. The only nuisance are the bites of bed bugs that can be itchy and may develop into an allergic response like skin rashes for individuals who are highly allergic or have sensitive skin.
Therefore knowing how to prevent bed bugs from infesting your home is your best defense against these persistent and relentless pests in the first place. As Benjamin Franklin himself once said:
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”