Your home is your castle, your place of safety, your fortress of solitude. It is where you relax after a long day at work, and where you rest and recuperate for the workload you have planned for tomorrow. When bed bugs invade your home, it can make it feel more like a prison. But, fortunately, there are some things you can do to reduce your chances of getting bed bugs. Here are some tips that will help.
Know where you can pick bed bugs up
You are probably aware that you can get bed bugs from a hotel or motel, but many people don't realize that these pests can be picked up in a much wider range of places. Infestations have been found in daycares, retirement homes, police lock-ups, call centers, libraries, movie theaters, colleges, and a whole lot more. That means you can get bed bugs even if you don't go on vacation. You can get them when you go to work. You can get them when you take in a movie. You can even get them when you take public transportation to go see a movie or go to work. Bed bugs have been found in taxi cabs, buses, trains, planes, and other forms of transportation.
Know that bed bug infestations don't just happen in "your" home
If your kids spend the night at a friend's house, it is important to teach them what bed bugs look like and what bed bugs leave for signs. Your home isn't the only home that can get bed bugs. And, when bed bugs infest a home, it can take months before an infestation is noticeable. This is important to remember if you stay at a friend's or relative's house.
Know how bed bugs can get into your home
These bugs don't just hitchhike home with you from a hotel or motel. As mentioned above, you can pick them up in other places. But it is also important to realize that you and your family aren't the only ones who can bring bed bugs into your home. If someone comes to spend the night at your home, they may unknowingly bring bed bugs with them. The more they know about searching for bed bugs and bed bug signs as they travel to your home, the safer everyone will be.
Know what a bed bug looks like
You may know that a bed bug is a rust-colored bug with horizontal dents on its abdomen, six legs, two antennae, and may be bloated and pill shaped if it has had a recent blood meal. But it is vital to understand that this is what an adult bed bug looks like, and adult bed bugs are much less likely to be seen during the day. You are more likely to see immature nymphs which can range from pale to tan in color, are only about the size of the tip on a pen, and are most likely to be noticed when they are filled with your bright red blood. If you, or someone you know, sees a tiny red bug on their skin, it is important that they take a closer look and check to see if it is a bed bug. Recognizing a bed bug could prevent an infestation from getting into your home.
Know what signs bed bugs leave
Most of the time, you won't see a bed bug. Fortunately, these bugs leave signs. Here are the five signs that could alert you to a bed bug infestation:
Black patches in the seams of mattresses and box springs or on the stitching and seams of upholstered furniture.
Black streaks on sheets, pillowcases, wall outlets, and baseboards.
Shed insect skins.
Tiny white eggs.
Tiny black droppings.
Blood stains on sheets, pillowcases, mattresses, box springs, and upholstered furniture.
A smell of wet, dirty towels.
More general bed bug prevention ideas:
When you return from a trip, always wash your clothing and bedding on the hottest temperature.
Always peek in the seams of duffle bags, book bags, sleeping bags, and other items that come and go from the house.
Always do a close inspection of used furniture before you bring it into your home. If you see black streaks, black patches, insect skins, brown blood staining, or smell something odd, you may want to refrain from putting that item in your house.
Ongoing bed bug prevention is available from pest control companies so you don't have to spend time worrying about bed bugs.