Prior to the early 1940’s and the use of DDT, Bed Bug Prevention methods varied greatly and many people preserved a certain degree of awareness concerning the common bed bug. And they also modified their behaviors in their daily lives to keep this pest out of their homes. Bed Bug Prevention was practiced a little differently in days gone by and it was common practice for example, to inspect your hotel room before checking in and getting settled for your stay. When going out to the cinema, coats and purses were not kept on empty seats due to fear of bringing any bed bugs home with them. Some of these concepts were covered in How to Prevent Bed Bugs at Home Part 1 and how they relate to elevating your bed bug awareness. Part 1 also presents a few examples in how this egregious hitch-hiker will take advantage of our daily habits to enhance its own transportation needs. In How to Prevent Bed Bugs at Home Part 2, I will discuss a few simple strategies to raise bed bug awareness as well as modifying a few daily behaviors in your own Bed Bug Prevention protocols and ultimately, keeping your home – bed bug free!
Bed Bug Prevention at Home
When moving, use new boxes as bed bugs love cardboard, wall paper and particle/pressed board or wicker types of furniture in which to lay their eggs.
How to Prevent Bed Bugs When Moving
Second-hand bed mattresses, box-springs and headboards are potential hot zones for harboring bed bugs. Any mattress related items, chest of drawers or night tables need to be inspected thoroughly and/or fumigated outside, before bringing into your home. Any soft type furnishings, such as curtains or the valance, will need to be washed and dried at temperatures above 120 degrees Fahrenheit. If possible, you need to maintain these high temperature wash and drying cycles for twenty to thirty minutes to kill and eliminate any eggs and nymphs as well as the adults.
Sound advice and recommendations from the Pest Mall Blog in Bed Bug Prevention Tips and know-how is:
“Avoid Secondhand Items such as: used furniture, upholstery, bed frames, mattresses, box springs, and clothes (if clothes are brought home, then they should immediately be place inside the clothes dyer in hot temperature).”
And, the author also advises the need to “Get Rid Of Clutters: Bed bugs love small spaces, clutters, cracks and crevices. These are ideal places where they will hide. Getting rid of possible hiding spots can help rid of or prevent infestations.”
How to Prevent Bed Bugs When Traveling
When returning from a vacation or business trip, inspect and disinfect all of your luggage before storing away. Bed bugs can live for many months without a blood meal. Often enough, the suitcase stored away in the attic after returning home with little Johnnie from a band trip for example, may be harboring this pest. Using this example and a few months later, little Susie packs her clothes into the same suitcase for a spring break vacation. A few days later she is suffering from bed bug bites or rash like symptoms on her body. This is one common example of how bed bugs will continue to flourish if the bed bug life cycle is not broken.
Choose tile or other hard-type surface to undress on when returning from vacation. Bed bugs do not travel on our bodies like ticks or lice. They can be found traveling in the seams of trousers for example and are much easier to spot and clean up from a hard surface rather than your carpet.
Survey the area for signs of bed bug infestations, such as red or dark brown spots on bed sheets.
Lift the mattress, and other furniture items to look for bed bug hiding places.
Elevate all luggage and personal items. Use racks to keep these items away from carpets and beds.
Examine all luggage and personal items before returning home to prevent bed bug migration.
Professional extermination service are available in the event of a bed bug infestation.
Bed Bug Prevention When doing your Laundry
Before heading home, separate your clothing articles into seal-able plastic bags or water soluble laundry bags. This will keep any unwanted travelers from escaping into your vehicle and throughout your home when you return. Immediately wash and dry your clothing at the highest temperature settings available to kill the adults as well as any possible eggs deposited. Other garments may require dry-cleaning.
If I am traveling outside of my personal vehicle and know that my luggage is going to be stored in close proximity alongside others, I will treat the exterior and zipper areas with a bed bug repellent. After returning home, thoroughly inspect all of your travel bags to include purses and garment carriers. Vacuum-clean your travel bags outside the home, before storing away.
IMPORTANT:DO NOT bring the vacuum cleaner back into your home before properly depositing the bag in an outside container (older make versions), or cleaning and disinfecting the filters, hoseline and the unit itself.
Bed Bug Prevention Awareness & Travel Tips
Bed Bugs & Bed Bug Eggs on Bed Mattress
A particular challenge for the hotel-motel industry is the ease of travel for a bed bug to get from one room to another. A typical hotels maid service for example, vacuums and cleans a room. The vacuum cleaner picks up a lone adult or a few eggs and days to weeks later, newly hatched nymphs escape from the same unit to set up house in an adjacent room. This could be the room that you just unpacked in and are there for the week. Many hotels/motels have implemented a bed bug strategy into their business protocol practices to prevent this example from happening. Unfortunately, their are a number of those that have not. Before traveling, I will often check the Bed Bug Registry to assist me in making a more informed decision on this pests known whereabouts.
Some of your travel items can be disinfected and/or washed with hot soap and water. Other items may require a more detailed approach. I have found that an old toothbrush and mild detergents work wonderfully together in scrubbing the outside pockets, seams and corners of your favorite travel bag. This will help to dislodge any eggs deposited into the crevices and prevent any new hatches at a later date.
She states that “first, be aware of your surroundings. In your own home, clean, clean, clean. Vacuum (using brush attachments) rugs, floors, under beds, around bed legs, bed frames, and cracks and crevices in the room.”
And she goes on to say that “In a hotel or if you are visiting a friend, do not put your luggage or any other item on the bed until you have checked the linens, headboard and mattress for bedbugs. These tiny parasites are capable of penetrating virtually any kind of luggage, including backpacks, suitcases, clothing articles and even electronic appliances. As we noted in previous blog posts, bedbugs can live for a year without feeding but they normally try to feed every five to ten days. In cold weather, bedbugs can live for about a year; at temperatures more conducive to activity and feeding, about 5 months. ”
Discovery Networks/News offers a few more Bed Bug Prevention Tips here:
Bed Bug Prevention will further assist us knowing that bed bugs love their warmth. They will hitch a ride within any of our computer gadgets normally taken with us on our travels. That laptop or net-book left in a hotel room are items that you would want to inspect before bringing back into your home.
If you happen to have any issues with bats or birds occupying parts of your attic or fireplace, then some exclusion work will be needed to keep them out (exclusion erg. wire mesh installed at void and entrance/exit areas for these flying pests; for example, when dealing with bats I would install wire mesh after nightfall when bats have already exited an attic to feed). Bats and birds generally rank second, only to people, as a bed bugs preferred meal of choice. Bed Bug Prevention really begins with bed bug awareness and action in keeping your home bed bug free!
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