How to Avoid and Kill BedBugs
I used to travel a lot, and so I worried a great deal about bringing bedbugs home with me. Over the years, I learned some tips for avoiding bedbugs, and thought I would share them with you. In addition, I will provide you with information on how to treat these bugs if you find you have an infestation.
Avoiding BedBugs in Hotels
Hotels are a common source of bed bugs. There are a number of things you can do prior to and during your stay at a hotel to decrease your chances of bringing these bugs to your home.
Prior to Check In
There are two excellent websites that you can use to find out if the hotel you are considering staying in has a history of bed bugs. Check these sites to find out if there is a known problem.
After Check In
Once you arrive, it is important to check your room to make sure there aren’t any bedbugs, before you start unpacking.
- Keep your suitcase away from the bed and any furniture until you have confirmed the safety of your room.
- Do not put your luggage on the luggage rack until you have checked it for bugs or signs of bugs.
- Pull up the sheets and mattress pad by each of the four corners of the bed. Look for any signs of black or red flecks of dirt. These are a telltale sign of bedbugs. Focus especially on any crevices or seams in the mattress.
- Check around and behind the headboard as well.
- If you want to do a more thorough search, look at the furniture around the bed, picture frames, nightstands and so on. Again, focus on any small holes or crevices. A small flashlight can help with this process.
- Check any all furniture in the room very closely, again looking carefully in any seams or crevices.
If you find any bedbugs or signs of bedbugs, immediately call the front desk and ask to be moved. Explain the circumstances. Then, check the next room even more carefully. If the hotel shows you another room with bugs, ask the hotel to arrange for accommodations in another hotel. At its cost.
During Your Stay
It is best to put your dirty clothing in a plastic bag. Bedbugs are attracted to the smells we put off and therefore to our dirty laundry. Bring your own bag or use the plastic laundry bag provided by many hotels. If you can, avoid using the furniture in the room. Keep your clothing in your suitcase or hung up in the closet.
After Your Stay
Wash your clothing immediately upon returning home. Empty out your suitcase, vacuum it, and dispose of the contents of the vacuum. Wipe down your shoes with a cloth which has been dampened with hot water.
Symptoms of Bedbugs
There are a number of symptoms you can watch out for to determine if you have bedbugs.
- You may actually see the bugs. They are brown, roundish and flat. After they drink blood they become dark red and increase in size. Frequently, you won’t see the actual bugs until you have a large population.
- Look to see if your bed or furniture has the telltale signs mentioned above. Flecks of brownish/blackish/reddish dirt, is a sign of these bugs.
- If you suspect bedbugs, but don’t see any flecks of dirt, look on the bottom of your mattress as well as the front near the headboard.
- Look in your clothing and in your dresser.
- Focus on crevices in your dresser and other furniture.
- If you have many bites on your upper body, you may have bedbugs. Random bites are probably a sign of mosquitoes. Bites around your ankles might mean fleas.
- Bedbugs leave a sweet, musty smell. It will be strongest around your mattress, since that is where bedbugs like to hang out most.
You Have Bedbugs?!
Now that you know you have bedbugs, it is time to take steps to get rid of them.
- Hire an exterminator. Make sure it is an exterminator which is familiar with treating bedbugs. Don’t fall for easy tricks, claims about dog sniffing bugs and so on.
- Professionals may use a number of types of tools. Heat and steam, freezing, and chemicals. Often a combination of these techniques are necessary.
- You can use mattress encasements to seal your mattress. However, it takes about a year for these to work. Bedbugs live a long time.
- Try traps that attract the bugs and keep them from getting out. These are like those roach motels for which we used to see commercials. Bedbugs check in but they don’t check out!
- There are growth regulators you can buy to help prevent the growth of new bedbugs. But you still need to kill the old ones.
Don’t Spread Your Bugs!
Be careful that you don’t share your bedbugs with neighbors, friends or family. You will want to be careful not to bring infested clothing or furniture to other people. In addition, you may find that you need to simply destroy your bed and get a new one once you are certain that the bugs are all gone. Also, don’t switch from your current bed to another one. The bugs will just follow you to the new location. You want to confine the bugs to one room as much as possible.
Prevention is Best
Bedbugs are pretty hard to treat, unfortunately. So prevention is best. The best way to prevent bedbugs is to be careful when staying out of your home, and to keep your home protected in the first place. This means keeping your house clean, washing your sheets frequently, keeping potential entry points to your home sealed from rodents and so on. Be very careful about bringing used furniture into your home. If you move, make certain the moving truck is free from bugs. Always keep your mattress covered if it is being moved, and never bring a used mattress into your home unless you are 100% certain it is safe.
Lawsuits and BedBugs
If a hotel where you stay or a landlord from whom you rent knew a building had bedbugs and failed to do anything about them, they can potentially be held liable to you. Generally, the liability is limited to paying for a new residence while the old one is being treated, covering the cost for treatment, and a small amount of money for inconvenience. Frequently, these kinds of cases can be managed in small claims court, without the help of a lawyer.