Christmas is a time of year when many of you look forward to seeing family members that you may not get to visit with often. You daydream about the holiday feast, giving and receiving the best gifts, and making new memories with those you love most. Traveling back to the place where you grew up is sometimes a part of the holiday season, and you wax nostalgic about times past.
It's a safe bet to say that no one dreams of ending the holidays with a bed bug infestation, but that is exactly what some of you will end up with before all the traveling is over. Now you may be wondering, how bed bugs get into homes during the holidays anyway?
How Bed Bugs Get into Your Home
Bed bugs are notorious little hitchhikers. Their favorite way to travel is in or on your luggage, tote bags, purses, coats, and backpacks. As you travel over the holidays you often stay in hotels, fly across the country, wait in public places - and all of these are places where bed bugs can be found. People unknowingly bring bed bugs with them from their homes, hotels, or other public places, and then share the wealth so-to-speak with the rest of humanity.
It's simple for bed bugs to crawl right into your bag when you set it down at the airline ticket counter, or to climb into a pocket when you leave your coat lying on a hotel floor. Once in your belongings, they simply travel along with you wherever you go. They may decide to offload at any point along the way, beginning a new life in someone else's home, or possibly even in yours.
Identifying Bed Bugs
It’s important to be able to identify bed bugs in the event that you ever encounter them. Whether you're in a hotel, a family member or friend's home, or even in your own home, knowing the signs of bed bugs will allow you to stop a full-blown infestation in its tracks. At a minimum, this knowledge will help you to avoid taking these annoying pests home with you.
Here are a few things to look for:
- Pink or red bite marks on your skin that may itch.
- Pets scratching themselves more than usual.
- Seeing an actual bed bug in your home - in your bedding, on furniture, on your pets, buried in carpets and rugs, etc.).
- The shed skins of bed bug nymphs.
- Blood stains on your sheets, pillowcases, or blankets
- Bed bug eggs anywhere on your bed, in nooks and crannies of furniture, or in the carpet.
- Bed bug excrement - dark spots or streaks - on your sheets or blankets.
How to Prevent Bed Bugs
Though you cannot be certain to always keep bed bugs out with your prevention methods, there are a few things you can do to try and help prevent their access to you and your home:
Whenever you stay overnight anywhere besides your own home, be sure to check the room where you will be sleeping for signs of bed bugs. It's a good idea to inspect the furniture, carpeting, and the bed. If you see any evidence that bed bugs are present, ask to be placed in a different room (and conduct a re-check there) or move on to a new place to stay.
You should do periodic checks of your own bed at home to ensure you stay safe from these irritating pests.
When you travel, never set your baggage, purse, or jacket on the bed or the floor in your room. Instead, place all of your travel items on top of a dresser or chair to prevent bed bugs from hitching a ride.
As you return to your home, wash all clothing on a high heat setting before putting them away. You may also wish to wash your bags in the same way. If you are unable to ash them, be sure to wipe them down and inspect them carefully for signs of bed bugs before storing them anywhere in your home.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs
If you think you have a bed bug problem, your best bet is to contact a professional. If bed bugs are left untreated, their numbers will grow to a large population in a short amount of time. The professionals at Russell's Pest Control can get rid of your bed bug infestation quickly. You may be unsure of the kind of pest you're dealing with. There is no need to worry - we can inspect your home to determine which pests have infiltrated your home.