Hopefully, last week’s advice about avoiding bed bugs in hotels prepared you for holiday travel. Now, we’ll discuss how bed bugs could affect your daily life and how you can work to avoid them.

Bed bugs are getting attention now because they are infesting unexpected places like movie theaters, department stores, and warehouses. The media has created a frenzy by saying these pests are unavoidable. Yes, bed bug numbers have drastically increased over the last 5-10 years, but that doesn’t mean that we’re powerless to fight them. Homeowners can help protect themselves by being aware of their surroundings and acting quickly when they suspect a problem.

Remember that some environments are more prone to bed bug problems than others. Some high-risk areas include emergency rooms or hospitals, airports, and movie theaters. That doesn’t mean you should stop visiting those places. It just means that you should pay attention to your surroundings when you do. Many people forget that adult bed bugs are not microscopic; in fact, their size is comparable to an apple seed. So, if you go to a movie theater, check your pant cuffs, jacket pockets, and other hiding places before leaving. You’ll be able to see the bed bugs and notify the facility manager before you take hitchhikers home with you. When you’re in a high-risk environment, keep your purse or bag on your lap instead of putting it on the floor or in the chair next to you. By doing so, you protect a very desirable hiding place from bed bugs.

If you work in a high-risk career (including hospital personnel, school teachers, police officers, or social workers), you may want to consider a program to monitor for bed bugs. At Russell’s, we can attach bed bug monitoring to a regular pest control service so that you are aware as soon as you have a problem. That means the infestation will be easier to treat and, consequently, less expensive.

Otherwise, use common sense to protect yourself from invasions. For instance, if you see a nice piece of furniture sitting out for trash pick up, think twice before taking it home. It was likely thrown out by its original owners for a reason. If you go to garage sales or consignment stores, inspect your purchases for adult bed bugs or droppings before you buy them, and wash and dry them as soon as you get home. We actually confirmed the presence of bed bugs in a home where a woman had clothes in piles because she was setting up a garage sale, and our results didn’t change her mind at all! If you suspect a bed bug issue, call for help immediately. Taking action early will save you a lot of trouble in the long run.

There’s just one more thing to consider. Bed bugs are often found in very clean environments; even the best house keeper could have an infestation (which means there’s nothing to be ashamed of if you do have a problem). However, clutter offers options to bed bugs when they’re looking for secure hiding places, which could make even the most thorough pest control treatment less effective. If you suspect a problem, call for help before you do anything else—don’t remove the mattress or use over-the-counter sprays, which could cause the bed bugs to spread throughout the house. A professional can give you good advice about how to contain your problem so that your treatment is most effective.

As always, you can call or visit our contact page if you have questions about bed bugs or any other pests.

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