No one wants the grim realization that their home is infested with bed bugs. They may not directly spread disease, but they feed off of human blood – your blood. When we see little spots of blood in our bed, it’s usually from where we’ve rolled over and squish them in our sleep, or from their waste. Not a great mental image, right?
When it comes to these unwanted little critters, forewarned is forearmed, so it can help to know how they get into your home, so you can act quickly if it happens to you.
I keep my home clean and tidy! How do bed bugs get in?
School and work. Schools are some of the best locations for pests, bacteria, and viruses. Bed bugs can hop onto your child’s backpack or school clothes. Similarly, workplaces are also popular among bed bugs, particularly communal environments or one in which you come into contact with others’ belongings.
Hotels, apartment stays, and even neighbors. Bed bugs may hide in a hotel mattress or on a hotel’s luggage stand strap, easily hopping onto your clothing and suitcase and following you back home. The same goes for any house guests who come to your home having recently stayed at hotels or motels.
Second-hand materials and fabrics. While buying clothing and furniture from thrift stores or vintage shops have their advantages, you can’t always account for where it’s been. And it’s not just the old stuff; new items can become infected if transported in a truck alongside old furnishings. Wash any second-hand items in water that’s at least 122 degrees Fahrenheit to kill off the bed bugs.
Other used items. You’d think it was just clothing and furniture that potentially spreads bed bugs, but unfortunately, bed bugs can survive for months without a meal pretty much anywhere. Second-hand books, coffee makers, electronics, and plant pots all provide secluded places for bed bugs to hide, so always check your items thoroughly before bringing them home.
- Adjacent apartments. It’s always nicer to give your neighbors the benefit of the doubt, but sometimes it’s safer to check for unwanted guests. If you live in a block of apartments and one household has bed bugs, you may need to check your apartment. Bed bugs can slip through wall cavities, electrical boxes, and outlet covers. They also like to hang out in secluded shared areas such as lobbies, reception areas, or laundry rooms. If you find them, make sure you talk to your building manager immediately.
As children, many of us heard the phrase, “good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite!” which sounded like a cute bedtime rhyme, but in reality, bed bugs can be the source of huge stress and inconvenience.
What to do if you find bed bugs in your home
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