There’s an old expression: what you don’t know can’t hurt you. This can be true in certain cases, but it rarely applies to pest control. When it comes to bed bugs, for instance, not knowing how they get into your home, and how harmful an infestation can be, might end up being dangerous in the long run.
Get To Know The Nightcrawlers
One of the most common misconceptions about bed bugs is that they only invade dirty homes. If you wash your sheets and vacuum regularly, you won’t incur a bed bug infestation, right? Unfortunately, bed bugs will infest any piece of furniture in any home. So, how do they get in?
One of the main ways that bed bugs will infiltrate your home is by hitching a ride on luggage as you travel. They’re incredibly small, so they move slowly, but these pests can cling on to almost anything for a long period of time. That’s why going to travel hubs, like airport terminals or bus stations, can easily lead to a bed bug infestation in your own home. You’ll also want to inspect your guests’ luggage before they come into your house. It may seem like improper decorum, but it’ll be worth it to avoid an infestation.
As you travel, make sure to be careful about where you put your bag down for long periods of time. Bed bugs might move slowly, but they’ll migrate from bag to bag if they have enough time. You’ll also want to check your hotel for bed bugs before you place your bag down. As you unpack your suitcase, bed bugs might be able to grab onto your luggage. Even if you spot signs of bed bugs on the mattress later and switch rooms, you might already have unwanted guests in your bag.
Another way you can easily incur a bed bug infestation is by purchasing second-hand furniture. If it feels like a deal that is just too good to be true, it probably is. Remember: bed bugs will inhabit almost any piece of furniture, so even if you’re purchasing it from an office without any beds at all, you’ll still want to inspect it before bringing it into your house. This includes appliances, office chairs, couches, loveseats, mattresses, and many other furniture items.
Bed Bug Management Mishaps
If you don't know how to spot an infestation, you're not alone. Many people have no idea how to identify bed bugs.
Here are a few ways you can recognize bed bug activity in your home, or on potential used furniture purchases:
- Rust-colored rings: these are created by bed bug excrement, and will usually be apparent in severe infestations.
- Bloodstains: as bed bugs feed on your blood through a tube, they’ll leave very tiny bloodstains on the mattress, or cushion.
- Bite marks: after feeding, bed bugs will usually leave itchy red bumps on your skin, which are usually in a straight-lined or zig-zagged pattern.
Another common misconception about bed bugs is that they aren’t harmful to your health. However, allowing an infestation to hang around can often result in skin irritations from incessantly itching the bites, insomnia, and anemia that lasts long after the infestation has been eradicated. That’s why it’s important to avoid using home remedies like vacuums and store-bought sprays to eradicate an infestation. These solutions only serve to get rid of the pests on the surface of the furniture, but there are typically many more bed bugs, along with eggs, buried deep within the cushions.