The first thing that comes to mind when you mention bedbugs is a bunch of tiny little bugs that you might find at a sleazy “no tell motel” on the seedy side of town.
But you may be surprised to learn that you’re just as likely to run into an infestation of these nasty little creatures at the high-priced ritzy hotels with 4-star ratings as well!
Bed bugs have nothing to do with cleanliness — they merely travel from person (or luggage) to person (or bed).
The worst part… you only have to briefly step foot into a room that had bedbugs in it for you to bring an infestation into your own home. Eeek!
That’s why you should only place your luggage on tile flooring (instead of carpet) and on countertops (instead of on the bed) in hotels.
Here’s what to look for to determine if there are bedbugs in the bed you are sleeping in, how to treat bedbug bites, and how to prevent bedbugs in your home altogether…
What Exactly Are Bedbugs?
Bedbugs are nocturnal insects, coming out at night to look for a nice warm body to supply them with a tasty meal of blood. And yes, they are big enough that you can actually see them. They look like an appleseed.
It stands to reason that beds are a common place to find them, but they also will hang out in sofas, chairs, and even carpeting.
The dinner bell rings for these little guys about an hour before dawn. Bedbugs often climb to the ceiling of the room and scurry about looking for heat and carbon dioxide radiating up from their sleeping prey. Dropping from above, they put the bite on you for about 5 minutes before heading unnoticed back to their hideout. You won’t even know that you’ve been victimized until hours later when the place where you were bitten starts itching.
The tricky part is the fact that you can pick up unwanted hitchhikers to start your own home colony just by walking into a hotel room! Imagine laying out your clothing for the next day and having a nice batch of eggs laid in your pant cuff that night! Or, a hidden crevice in your luggage might become home to a nest full of bedbugs. Either way, a month or so later, you are likely to discover that your entire house is now crawling with bedbugs.
The same is true if you purchase used furniture that happens to have bed bugs in it, if the office where you work has bedbugs, or if your child’s school has bed bugs. (Each of these instances is becoming more and more common as bed bugs invade our spaces.)
How To Rid Your Home Of Bedbugs
Even with a thorough cleaning, it is unlikely that you will be able to eliminate all of the bedbugs and their eggs. All it takes is one pair of bedbugs to survive your scrubbing efforts, and in no time, you’re back where you started — with an infestation of bedbugs!
Home remedies just don’t do the job when it comes to bedbug removal. An exterminator will tell you that bedbugs are definitely no joking matter, and only they can effectively rid your home of bedbugs.
Bedbugs are not known to transmit diseases, although infection can enter the body through welts and sores caused by the tiny insects’ bites. Why they have crept back into prominence is unclear, but experts think bedbugs have developed resistance to some chemicals that typically have been used to treat them. They are hard to eradicate and sometimes require multiple visits from exterminators. Source
It takes hot dry steam (at a temperature of 113 degrees) to kill bedbugs, and it takes special chemicals to draw them out of their hiding places.
To rid a room of bedbugs, you will typically be asked to place all of your furniture in the middle of the room and remove all electrical outlet covers and switch plates — because bedbugs can hide virtually anywhere!
Unfortunately, when it comes to ridding your mattress of bedbugs, often disposal is the only sure cure.
This video mentions a few different types of professional bedbug removal systems:
Think you’ve been bitten by bedbugs? Here’s what to look for and how to treat bedbug bites.
How To Prevent A Bedbug Infestation
- Don’t let your luggage rest on the floor of your hotel room. Instead, use the luggage stand when you open your suitcase.
- Inspect the edges and creases of your bed immediately for signs of bug activity, like the brown stains that bedbugs leave behind.
- When you return home, immediately launder all of your garments (even the clean stuff!).
- As soon as your luggage is emptied, remove it from the house. Storing it in a garage or shed will keep any bedbug hitchhikers from finding a new home.
Sleep tight and… well, I think you know the rest!
More About Bed Bugs
- All About Bedbugs
- How To Minimize Your Risk Of Exposure To Bedbugs
- Bedbugs 101: Everything You Need To Know
- How To Keep Bedbugs From Biting
- Bedbug Slideshow