As Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday season, Americans will be making travel plans to celebrate with relatives and friends, both near and far. With the increased amount of travel occurring during the next couple of months, we like to remind our friends to be on the lookout for signs of bed bugs. Having an awareness of bed bugs while traveling will help you avoid spreading these hitchhiking pests—or, even worse, bringing them home.
According to a 2015 survey from the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and University of Kentucky, bed bugs aren’t going anywhere. Nearly two-thirds (61 percent) of pest control professionals reported that bed bug infestations continue to rise, and three-fourths (74 percent) reported encountering infestations in hotels and motels.
Bed bugs are notoriously difficult to manage. Bed bugs are resourceful bugs that can easily hitch a ride in suitcases, on clothing and in other human belongings, allowing them to spread quickly and infest homes, transportation systems, offices and any other place where people gather.
The NPMA offers the following tips for avoiding bed bugs while traveling:
Pull back hotel bed sheets and inspect the mattress seams for stains, spots or bugs. Also check behind the headboard and in sofas and chairs.
Immediately notify management of any signs of bed bugs and ask for a new room.
Ensure the new room is not adjacent and/or directly above or below the original room. Bed bugs can easily hitchhike via housekeeping carts, luggage and even through walls via electrical sockets.
Place luggage in a plastic trash bag or protective cover during the duration of the trip to keep bed bugs out.
Upon returning home, inspect luggage before bringing it inside and vacuum cases thoroughly before putting them away.
Dry all fabric items (even those that have not been worn) in a hot dryer for at least 30 minutes to ensure any bed bugs that may have made it that far are not placed into your drawers or closet.
If bed bugs do find their way into your home, do not attempt to deal with the infestation on your own. We’ve seen way too many people put themselves in dangerous situations while trying to eliminate a bed bug problem. For peace of mind, it’s best to call a professional for an assessment and treatment.
Bed bugs are a serious pest problem these days. But what are the bed bug signs to let you know that you might have a bedbug problem?
1. You See A Bed Bug: If you see a bed bug then it is likely that there are more than just that one bug. So you will want to take action to contact an experienced bed bug removal pest control company. Bed bugs have a life cycle as do all bugs, so you might notice the smaller bed bug nymphs. You can always test your suspicions by placing some bed bug monitors around your bed.
2. Bites At Night: Bedbugs bites often only cause harm when a person is allergic to them, however, you may still be able to notice some welts. If you notice consistent, pimple sized, bumps on your skin then maybe you have something to be concerned about.
3. Blood Spots on the Sheets: If you are keeping up your house then you wash your bedroom sheets with some regularity. Should you start to see little blood spots on the sheets then there is a probability that you have a bed bug infestation. At that point, you will want to go and check out the mattress to see if it has blood spots and if bed bugs are hiding in the creases.
4. Feces: Bed bugs are like any other creature and leave behind their own trails of fecal matter. It is hard to say that you would not see the blood spots but find fecal matter from the bed bugs, but it is possible. The fecal matter spots are no bigger than the tip of a ballpoint pen. So the can be easily missed. There is a stench that is created when a bed bug infestation gets out of control.
5. Eggs: Again, if you are not seeing the blood spots or fecal matter first then you might not be seeing the eggs and nymphs. The eggs are small, 1mm in size, and a yellowish/clear colored. Bed bugs can lay 1 to 3 eggs per day, so if you are seeing eggs then you need to get help immediately.
Worst case infestations it will become really clear you have a bed bug problem. Bed bugs will start to be visible more than just at night. You might notice them looking for food (your blood) during the daytime. They could start to spill out from their hiding places and show up on the walls, side tables, curtains, etc.
Bed bugs are a resilient bug and not susceptible to over the consumer based chemical treatments. It is in your best interest to contact a professionally trained and experienced pest control company to help get rid of your bed bug problem.
With summer travel season quickly approaching, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) has declared June 7-13 as Bed Bug Awareness Week to remind the public that vigilance is key to quelling a potential bed bug infestation this summer. We are proud to take part in this important public education effort and encourages travelers to brush up on bed bug basics before packing their bags and hitting the road.
Bed bugs are still a pervasive problem, and they can be especially problematic for travelers due to their hitchhiking nature. These biting pests are easily transported from one place to another in belongings, such as suitcases, which means travelers must exercise caution during and after their trips.
At Johnson Pest Control we have a few bits of advice to vacationers to help ensure they don’t bring home bed bugs as an unwanted souvenir.
At hotels, thoroughly inspect the entire room before unpacking, including behind the headboard and in furniture. Pull back the bed sheets and check the mattress seams and box springs for pepper-like stains that may be evidence of bed bug activity.
If you suspect an infestation or problem, notify management and change rooms immediately. Be sure the new room is not adjacent to or directly below or above the possibly infested room.
Keep suitcases in plastic trash bags or protective covers during a hotel stay to prevent bed bugs from nesting there. Do not put them on the beds.
Upon returning home from a trip, inspect all suitcases and other belongings before bringing them into the house.
Wash all clothes – even those that have not been worn – in hot water and dry them using an extra-hot dryer setting
My five year old is learning sight words in kindergarten this year. More than once we have had the conversation about the oddity of words in our English language.
“No son, a C does not replace a K in ‘like’, even though the C in ‘cat’ sounds the same.”
I’m sure some people might be confused as to whether or not the proper spelling for bed bugs is a separated word or a combined word, ie. bedbugs. Don’t get us started on the hyphenated bed-bugs.
So is the proper spelling ‘bed bugs’ or ‘bedbugs’?
The answer?.. Yes.
Yes, you can use either of the methods for writing out the word bed bug. The more academic sources that have chronicled the history, science, of bedbugs will use the two word term of ‘bed bug’. This is why we are Johnson Pest Control will use the two word term as well as it has become one of our industry standards.
However, we will know exactly what you are talking bout if you write us and tells that you suspect you have ‘bedbugs’ in your home. If you are wanting to look up some of that academic research on bed bugs then you will be best served to write the two word phrasing of ‘bed bugs’.
One of the less common used phrasings for bed bugs is to hyphenate the words, ie. bed-bugs. We are not quite sure why that seems to be used, but it is an acceptable use of naming a bed bug. Again, we will totally know what you are talking about if you write us saying that you suspect that you have bed-bugs in your home.
Don’t bring home bedbugs from your travels this summer. Protect yourself and family with these four bedbug travel tips.
How can you protect yourself & your family from bedbugs while traveling?
1. Know Your Bedbugs: Bedbugs are known as ‘hitchhikers’ which is a common descriptor for them as they can jump on you, your clothes, suitcases, pets, etc. and hitch a ride back to your house. A mature bedbug is reddish-brown color, oval and flat in shape, and about the side of a fruit seed. Bedbugs like to hide away in the daytime in crevices and cracks in a room. For a hotel room this might this include headboards, bed frames, curtains, molding cracks, bedside furniture, mattresses and box springs.
2. Inspect Your Room: Before you travel visit Bedbugregistry.com to see if your hotel has already had reported incidents of bedbugs. A reported incident is not always a reason to not go to the hotel, but it does give good reason to call the hotel and ask about incident/s and if they have ongoing prevention by a pest control company.
When you get to your room, pull the sheets back and peal back the folds of a mattress and box spring as best you can. If you see these little flat reddish dots in the cracks, bedbug poop, and/or spots of blood you can request a new room. Hotels, more and more, are becoming sensitive to these requests as they and public are becoming more informed. Take the headboard off and inspect behind there. Bedbugs won’t be hanging out on the sheets of your bed because those are changed out and wash frequently. The headboard is rarely touched by hotel staff, so if there are bedbugs in the room they are likely to be around/behind the headboard.
In most cases thoroughly inspecting your room and taking appropriate action will give you peace of mind that your room is bedbug free.
NOTE: If you are staying in a place for an extended period of time, you can often hire a bedbug sniffing dog to inspect a room more thoroughly. Certainly it adds to the cost of your trip, but the cost is small compared to treatment of an infestation.
3. Get You Luggage Up High: A good rule of thumb is to get your luggage and clothes off the ground. This will not fully prevent any bedbugs from hitching a ride with your luggage, but it will make it much harder for bedbugs, if they are present in the room. The luggage rack, dresser, or table are good spots to keep bedbugs away. Putting your luggage in the bathroom tub will be an extra level of prevention. Various tub types are hard, to near impossible, for bedbugs to crawl up. You can also cover your suitcases and clothing with plastic bags to help. Bedbugs need blood to feed on so your clothes are not their first choice of places to go. If they found their way onto your luggage and clothes they will hitch that ride home with you.
4. Prevention When Getting Home: Not sure if you came across bedbugs while traveling but you’d like to do something more to make sure they do not make it into your home? Easy. Take your clothes from your trip, clean and dirty, shoes included, and put them into the dryer on high heat for roughly 30 minutes. Heat is the most thorough killer of bedbugs. Do not wash your clothes first as the washer water temperature is not high enough to kill bedbugs. Heat your luggage as best as possible. Seal up luggage cases air tight in a plastic bag until your next use. If you have/had a bedbug incident you will know by the next time you need that luggage and can get new luggage pieces or have that luggage professionally treated. Steaming can be used if you have a professional level steamer. You need to use steam in precise areas and for extended periods of time, but it can work. Make sure your steamer can create temperatures of a minimum 120 degrees.
NOTE: Some pest control companies have portable heating chambers that you can pay to use. These are luggage sized boxes that you can stick your travel items into and it will raise the temperature of your clothes and items sufficient enough to kill off any bedbugs. Not all pest control companies have this, so you might have to call around.
What happens if I have bedbugs at home now?
If you have gone through your best prevention methods and still you find that you have bedbugs then contact a reputable pest control company that treats bedbugs. If you can catch a problem at its smallest then the cost is manageable. Any bedbug treatment can still be expensive, however, infestations that have festered because people ignore them will incur sizable costs to clear up.
Do not be ashamed. Bedbugs can find their way into the nicest of places and it in many cases is no fault of your own that they are now in your home. There is no reason to feel that having bedbugs is a reflection on you as a person, your family or your house. Being ashamed about them and not getting handled quickly and properly will only make the situation worse and more expensive.
If you are not sure if bedbugs have invaded your home, but you suspect it, then call for an inspection. We can do a sight inspection and if indicators warrant more thorough inspections or treatments we will inform you of all your options.