Controlling a Bed Bug Infestation
Until recently most of us had only heard of bed bugs in the saying, “Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite”–words that our parents and we as parents may have repeated when putting our children to bed. Now the subject of bed bugs has exploded in the media. There have been reports of these pests being found in hotels (even well-known luxury hotels), motels, multi-unit housing and other homes. Additionally, there has been news of them being found in well-known clothing stores, cultural landmarks, theaters, etc.
Such news has shocked many people and naturally caused great concern. In the pest control community, the consensus is that bed bugs are the most difficult pests to control. The problem in our area is getting very serious in hotels, motels, and multi-unit housing. If you travel (even infrequently) you should be vigilant about taking precautions.
Bed Bugs Travel With You!
Bed bugs do not live outdoors in our climate, so they will not invade a structure from outdoors. They must be brought into your residence in some way. One way is from bringing in bedding or clothing from an infested location (such as a hotel/motel). Another possible way is by them hitching a ride on your body or on the clothes you are wearing. Bed bugs usually live in bedding or in mattresses and feed on sleeping victims at night.
When traveling, before settling into your hotel/motel room:
- Place your luggage well away from the bed and off the floor
- Do not put clothes into the drawers
Pull all of the sheets back from the head of the bed, and look for evidence of bugs on the mattress.
Also, look for evidence of small blood spots. Keep in mind: this does not take the place of a professional inspection. Here’s what to look for—Mature bed bugs average about 3/16″ long. Their body is oval and flattened and they are tan in color. Immature bed bugs may be much smaller and will be mixed in with mature ones.
If you spend the night away from home you want to be careful with your luggage and clothing when you return home. Don’t bring luggage into the house until it has been aired out or sanitized.
Dry clean or wash clothes immediately in hot water and dry on the highest heat setting.
Bed bugs usually bite you at night when you are asleep. They often bite you where your body is in contact with the bed or where clothing fits tight– like around your waist. Individual reactions vary, but bites may become large red welts that can itch, last for weeks and be very uncomfortable. Bites around the ankles are more typical of fleas, but bites on your body between your shoulders and behind your knees could be bed bugs. Persons with bed bugs in their bed usually find small spots of blood on their sheets. Strip your bed and look at the mattress and box spring, paying close attention to seams. If you see blood spots or bugs you have a problem. Ideally, you should try to collect a bug to have it identified (we will identify any insect sample for free.)
Unfortunately, they don’t just live in the bed. In fact, they can live anywhere. About 70% of the bed bugs in a typical infestation live in and around the bed, but the other 30% will live in appliances, electronics, drawers, bookcases, etc.
It’s Time To Call The Professionals at Whitworth Pest Solutions
Control efforts made by non-professionals will often make the problem worse. It’s better to hire a pest management professional to inspect and control a bed bug infestation due to the complexities and difficulties that an infestation presents.. In most infestations, bed bugs will spread throughout the bedroom or closets into other rooms. They can live for long periods without feeding and may hide in inaccessible wall voids or other hard to reach hiding places.
If you suspect you have an infestation, contact us for more specific questions or to schedule an inspection. Normally an inspection must be performed before any treatment decisions are made.