Bed bugs are a common problem in the United States and no one is immune from an infestation. If you travel a lot and stay in hotels (yes, even luxury and clean ones!), there is always a chance that you will return home accompanied by a few uninvited guests. And a few will soon turn into a lot!
First of all, don’t panic. Yes, bed bugs do feed on human blood and the bites can be itchy but they do not transmit disease. If you do discover you have bed bugs you should contact a reliable pest control company or consider doing a DIY heat treatment.
Avoid chemical treatments where possible; those insecticides are often damaging to the environment and carry the risk of making the bed bugs resistant. The more resistant they become, the more they will spread. Chemicals are also not often effective on eggs, and 0% effective on the bugs, larvae and eggs the chemicals don’t reach (which can be a lot). So, what should you do if you have bed bugs before, during, and after a heat treatment?
What should I do before a heat treatment?
Once you have hired a pest control company it is likely they will give you guidance about what to do before they arrive, or before you collect your DIY heat treatment package. This will include:
- Collecting together things that may be damaged by heat treatment so that they can be inspected and removed before the procedure begins. This should include plants, fresh fruit and vegetables, foodstuffs that would melt (chocolate, for instance), pet fish, wooden instruments, flammables, firearms and ammunition, alcohol, pressurized containers, and so on. Don’t just store them elsewhere – the operatives need to make sure none of them harbor bed bugs.
- You can leave clothes in closets and drawers, and bed linens on beds but remove any plastic covers.
- Fans are often used in heat treatment so make certain nothing is left that could be blown about.
- Loose papers, items routinely stored under beds, toys, shoes, etc., need to be placed in open weave baskets and left in the rooms to be treated.
- All electrical goods must be turned off and unplugged. The screens of computers and TVs need to be covered with cloth.
- Fish tanks larger than 10 gallons have to be removed. If smaller, they can remain but need to be moved into an approved area – normally a basement or bathroom.
- Vacuum the property and dispose of the bag outside your home at once.
What should I do during a heat treatment?
Prepare one set of clothing for each member of the household, dry at high heat for at least 30 minutes, and then place in a Ziploc bag and store outside your home. Don’t take anything else with you that cannot be treated in the same way on return. There is always the danger of reintroducing bed bugs if you don’t take care.
Spend the time away from your home in what is known to be a bed bug-free environment, and ideally, change into fresh clothes the moment you get there, securely storing the clothes you wore out of the house in plastic bags.
What should I do after a heat treatment?
Your home may still be warm when you return, depending on how long ago the treatment was completed, and you can accelerate cooling by opening some windows. Don’t try and use air conditioning until the temperature drops below 80℉ and the same rule applies to your washer and dryer.
When you can, wash the clothes you wore out of the home and vacuum to collect any dead insects that were present during the heat treatment.
The result of your preparations and the heat treatment will be a bed bug-free home where you can once again relax and sleep soundly. To find bed bug professionals or a DIY heat treatment kit near you, click here.
We all know where we most commonly find bed bugs – in beds! But of course, that doesn’t mean they can’t get around, too. Bed bugs can find their way onto airplanes, buses, cars, ambulances, and just about anywhere humans like to be – so naturally, that includes schools.
Most schools have a headlice policy, but few know how to move forward when bed bugs have taken hold. If you suspect bed bugs have found their way into your school, here’s what you need to know to move forward.
Identify: Are you dealing with bed bugs?
Bed bug infestations in schools are fairly uncommon, but of course, if a student has bed bugs at home, they can hitchhike to school with them. Bed bugs are shy creatures that will usually only be visible when we’re still and it’s dark, such as at night. They’re usually very small and can’t jump (like fleas). If you think you may be dealing with bed bugs, it’s important to get professionals in to examine and treat them as soon as possible.
Dealing with the Social Stigma
Despite common belief, bed bugs do not come from dirty homes – bed bugs only like one thing, and that’s human blood. They aren’t interested in how clean or unclean something is, and no amount of cleanliness will make them go away. However, while we know this and you now know this, it’s important not to point the finger at any student or teacher who may have brought bed bugs to school with them. They likely caught them while on vacation or from another family member who travels often. It will also be extremely difficult to know for sure if they brought the bed bugs with them or simply caught them while they were at school.
Here are some guidelines for what you should do if you suspect a teacher or student of having bed bugs:
- Don’t single out any one student or teacher. Instead, send educational materials home with all children/teachers affected with advice on how to identify bed bugs and next steps to take to avoid transferring bed bugs to and from school.
- If you find a particular person has bed bugs on their possessions, deal with it as discreetly as possible. Ideally, talk to the parent or guardian to let them know that bed bugs have been found on their possessions and what next steps to take to ensure that an infestation is not transferred to or from school – make sure you do not point the finger. Make sure they have the same educational materials as everyone else.
How to Avoid Spreading Bed Bugs in a Classroom
To avoid spreading bed bugs in a classroom:
- Regularly wash down hard surfaces with hot soapy water
- Don’t pile clothes and shoes together
- Have designated plastic totes or similar for each child’s belongings
- Keep the classroom uncluttered and avoid large piles of communal cushions, bean bags, and soft toys
These tips are ideal if you suspect bed bugs, but are also good practice for avoiding spreading any parasite, bacteria, or virus.
If you suspect a bed bug infestation in your school, don’t hesitate to contact a qualified bed bug professional as soon as possible. They will be able to accurately detect infestations and treat the area quickly, and the classroom will be inhabitable again within hours of a heat treatment. Chemical treatments are not recommended for schools and aren’t 100% effective. To find someone to help you or for more information on identifying and treating bed bugs, click here.
Bed bugs are small, oval-shaped, wingless insects. They can be found around the world anywhere humans are, usually within a few feet of a bed or sofa.
Bed bugs feed on blood and can cause itchy, red sores when they bite into human skin. These small creatures hide in sheets, piles of laundry, mattress seams, bed frames, and cracks in walls during the day, coming out at night to feed. While it’s somewhat uncommon, some bed bugs may even find their way into your car, latching onto your clothing every time you sit down to drive.
The discovery of bed bugs in your home or even in your car is always a distressing one, so it’s good to know what to look out for.
What do I need to know about bed bugs?
One bed bug can lay up to 250 eggs in her lifetime. Under normal circumstances, bed bugs usually have a lifespan of around 10 months.
Aside from how they breed, it’s helpful to know the temperatures in which they thrive. These little critters can only live in temperatures of 46 degrees Fahrenheit and above, so they probably wouldn’t survive in your car during the winter if you’re living somewhere cold.
The same goes for higher temperatures; most bed bugs can’t survive in temperatures above 113 degrees Fahrenheit.
How can I tell if there’s a bed bug infestation in my car?
You’ll be able to determine if you have a bed bug infestation in your car pretty easily. Look for things like:
- Reddish or brown stains (these bed bugs that have been sat on and crushed, or their waste)
- Tiny yellow eggshells or eggs
- Skins that the bed bugs have shed during growth
- Bed bugs themselves
The most likely way you’ll discover bed bugs is you start noticing bed bug bites. These are little, red marks that may appear and cause itching, so check your home and car for bed bugs if you start finding little red bite marks, especially on areas of skin that aren’t covered by your pajamas while you sleep or clothes while you drive (such as ankles).
How can I stop bed bugs from getting into my car?
Here are some effective ways to prevent bed bugs from getting into your car:
- Wear fresh clothes when traveling before getting into your car, especially if you’ve been on a plane or sitting in a hotel restaurant.
- Have your car’s interior professionally steam cleaned after traveling.
- If you use a shared laundry facility, carry them to and from the laundromat in plastic bags.
- Check any second-hand furniture you buy before putting it into your car.
- Keep clutter to a minimum to avoid giving the bed bugs anywhere to hide.
- Keep your luggage in your suitcase while traveling, don’t leave it on beds, armchairs, or in provided storage.
If you’ve already discovered an infestation, you’ll need to speak to a professional. Don’t risk trying to fumigate or use chemical pesticides by yourself – they’re toxic and they rarely fully treat the infestation, leaving some alive to repopulate your home.
At the International Bed Bug Resource Authority, we can put you in touch with trusted, trained professionals to remedy your bed bug problem with effective heat treatments as soon as possible. Click here to find a service provider near you.
Nobody likes the idea of small insects infesting their home, least of all their bed. But bed bugs are surprisingly common, even in the cleanest of homes. Did you know that one in five Americans has experienced bed bugs at some point in their lives?
We know that bed bugs feed on human blood when their victims are sleeping, but what attracts them?
The Top 5 Things That Tell Bed Bugs You’re There
- Nighttime: bed bugs know that we come and settle in bed once it gets dark, so they’re typically hidden during the day. They can’t “stick” to our bodies like other parasites, so their only choice is to feed on us when we’re down for the count.
- Carbon dioxide: bed bugs love to settle down in locations with a high carbon dioxide concentration. They usually try to bite humans when they’re asleep because it’s when they’re the most still, trapping the carbon dioxide around them.
- Warmth: rather than being attracted to dirt and dust, they are attracted to the warmth of a human body. The heat our bodies generate is how bed bugs know we’re in bed. Humans generate the most heat during bedtime, making it prime time for bed bugs to strike. This also explains why the headboard and areas surrounding beds are the most likely to be infested with bed bugs.
- Dark bed sheets: surprisingly, certain colors attract bed bugs more than others. Researchers found that bed bugs are particularly drawn to black and dark red bed sheets. This is likely because they like to be near other bed bugs, which are also dark and red in color, especially when full.
- Dirty laundry: while bed bugs aren’t drawn to actual dirt, research found that they do love a pile of dirty clothes, especially if it’s come into contact with high-traffic areas like public transport seats. A laundry basket is often the starting point of the bed bugs’ journey across the floor and into other rooms, so it’s a good idea to keep a relatively empty laundry basket.
How can I identify bed bugs?
Bed bugs are tiny and dark with oval-shaped bodies. They have six legs and change color depending on whether they’ve recently fed on human blood. While the bed bugs themselves might not be so easy to spot, you can identify them by looking for blood spots on your bedsheets. If you suspect that you might have bed bugs, you should also keep an eye out for itchy, red marks on your arms and legs, as bed bugs feed by biting humans.
What should I do if I discover bed bugs in my home?
It’s always better to leave these issues to the professionals, and at IBBRA, we’re here to help. Whether you need large-scale extermination or heat treatment for a small room, we’ve got the right package for you.
Check out our bed bug solutions and service providers here.
Bed bugs are extremely small and can fit into spaces as narrow as a credit card. Not only does this mean they can easily get into your home if they’re attracted to the warmth, but it also means they’re difficult to find in the home.
Use this guide to learn more about identifying bed bugs and how often you should check for them at home.
Where do bed bugs usually hide?
Bed bugs are drawn to moisture and warmth. Bed bugs’ favorite hiding place is on mattresses and in beds. They like to linger where people sit or lie for extended periods, like chairs, recliners, couches and beds. You’ll want to look beneath furniture, the fabric on your sofa legs, and between seat cushions.
Bed bugs also like to hide around the edges of baseboards and carpet as they’re warm.
How can I search for bed bugs safely?
Use a flashlight and a credit card or paint scraper, check around your bed and other areas where the bed bugs might be living. Keep an eye out for the bugs themselves and look for eggs, feces, spots of dried blood, and molted skin. In most cases, you’ll find dark specks (which are dried blood) on your sheets. Make sure you look in all the crevices and folds in any upholstered furniture. For hygiene purposes, if you believe you have bed bugs, wear protective gloves as you inspect the room.
How often should I check my home for bed bugs?
It’s always a good idea to check for bed bugs after you’ve been traveling. Bed bugs are drawn to high-traffic environments like public transport, hotels and motels, and apartment complexes. If you’ve been traveling, you’ll want to wash your clothes at high heat as soon as you return to avoid spreading anything to your bedsheets and home furnishings.
You might also want to check for bed bugs if you have kids and they’ve just been away overnight for the same reasons. Look at their skin to make sure they don’t have any itchy, red bite marks, as reactions can develop a few days after the bite occurs.
Of course, if at any time you or another family member has red bites on their skin with no windows open at night, it’s a good idea to check to find out what’s been nibbling on you.
What should I do if I discover bed bugs in my home?
The discovery of bed bugs can be stressful, but it’s important to remember that bed bugs don’t exclusively hide in dirty homes. As unpleasant as it sounds, they’re attracted to the smell of human blood, and they’ll follow warmth wherever they can find it. Your next step should be to contact a professional who can heat-treat your home.
Heat treatments are better than fumigation and chemical treatments because they’re better for you, and they often eradicate 100% of the infestation with the first treatment, whereas other types of treatments can take several attempts because you have to spot-treat.
At the International Bed Bug Resource Authority (IBBRA), we can offer you heat treatment products and services to rid you of your bed bugs in no time. Whether you’re looking to treat a small apartment or a whole hotel, we’ve got what you need. Find a professional near you here, or for DIY solutions, click here.
Bed bugs are known for many things: they’re avid breeders, they feed on the blood of humans and animals, and they invoke a lot of stress when discovered! One thing they’re not usually associated with, however, is their elusive nature.
Bed bugs are nocturnal, which makes them extremely difficult to locate. It often takes someone waking up with bed bug bites for them to be discovered, and even more difficult to get rid of entirely.
It’s common for a business owner or resident to suspect an infestation, but be unable to see the bed bugs in action. Thankfully, trained dogs can sniff them out far more effectively. Here’s why scent detection canine teams are so effective:
1. They detect infestations very quickly
In a world where time is money, it’s hardly ideal for a hotel owner to have to leave a room unused for the duration of a search, so the quicker the job is done, the better. Bed bug canines are extremely fast and efficient, effectively searching entire buildings in little time.
2. A lot of money can be saved
With such strong scent detection, these highly trained detection dogs negate the need to pull up carpet, remove the baseboards or dismantle any furniture, which can cost a lot of money. Also, a bed bug canine team can detect one-bed bug as easily as it can identify an extreme infestation. This strong potential for early detection can save you from having to undergo the extensive treatment necessary for severe infestations.
3. They can detect all life stages
Not only do properly trained canines alert when they smell live bed bugs, but they’ll also detect live bed bug eggs. This is extremely useful as the only technique that successfully detects all stages of live bed bug stages by their scents.
4. They are highly accurate
In addition to being quick and thorough, these canines are also known for being meticulous in their searches. They have even been compared to bomb-sniffing dogs. They are trained to detect bed bugs through furniture and mattresses, and even from the other side of a wall.
5. Your reputation will be protected
Due to the effectiveness of these canines and their training, they can actually be used in a court of law as a scientific instrument. Having been inspected, you’ll receive a certificate of inspection, which will greatly enhance your reputation if you’re a business owner.
If you’re concerned that your home or business may be subject to an infestation, we’re here to help you to find certified professionals in your area at the International Bed Bug Resource Authority. Whether you’re a homeowner with frequent visitors or hotel owner who wants to be sure that all rooms are free of bed bugs, we’ve got you covered. With over 50 independent service providers working with us, we’ll help you with your bed bug issues, once and for all. Click here to find a certified provider near you.