If you’ve been reading the recent news stories about bed bug infestations, you might be feeling a little alarmed. This is particularly true for those of you who plan to travel this summer, and will be staying in hotels. You can’t exactly call us to come exterminate your hotel room halfway across the country, but we can definitely share some tips to keep you safe from infestations at home.

Bed bugs are avid stowaways. They can, and do, hitch a ride in your clothing, your backpack, or your suitcase. They’re hard to detect, because they excel at concealing themselves in tiny cracks and crevices. Using mattress covers can prevent them from hiding successfully.

Even worse, bed bugs might be hiding in any used furniture that you purchase and bring into your home. Purchasing used mattresses is generally not recommended, unless you’re getting it from someone you trust completely. Couches and other furniture should be inspected carefully before bringing them into your home.

Bed bugs spread quickly. One female can lay up to 500 eggs in her lifetime. It’s easy to imagine how quickly a small number of bed bugs can quickly multiple out of control. So, you don’t want even one of these critters hitching a ride home with you! Frequent vacuuming can help, but remember that these eggs are tiny.

Bed bugs leave tell-tale signs. Their saliva actually contain “anesthetics”, that prevent you from feeling their bites (at least not until later). This is why they can feed on your in your sleep, without waking you.

But if you do have bed bugs, you’ll notice tiny bite marks in rows. That’s because they tend to latch on, suck a little blood, and then move on to another spot. Bite marks are often arranged in a linear fashion for this reason. If you notice this bite pattern while staying in a hotel, alert staff immediately and use extra precautions when returning home.

Bed bugs are vulnerable to heat. Heat is actually used to kill bed bug populations, because they can’t tolerate it. If you bring dirty laundry home with you, keep it sealed in a plastic bag. Then dump it directly into the washing machine when you arrive home. Some travelers even use portable heating chambers to heat items that might be infested with bed bugs.

If your best efforts at prevention fail, give us a call. We can help you treat a bed bug infestation, so these nasty little critters can’t disturb your life anymore.