Bed Bug Holiday Surprise

Bed Bug Holiday Surprise

This is the biggest time of year for travel! While remembering to pack the perfect outfit or the kids’ favorite game may be on the top of your growing to-do list, something you may not be thinking about is preventing a bed bug infestation from following you back home. This should move towards the top of the list, however, as a bed bug infestation is difficult to treat. Here are a few places where bed bugs are found:

  • Airplanes: Seats, vents, and carpets make prime hiding places on planes. Once arriving home, leaving your carry-ons in the garage or carport after a flight is an important way to cut down on the chance of bed bugs finding their way into your home.
  • Stuffed Animals: While visiting others during the holidays, little ones can pick up bed bugs via their toys or stuffed animals. Be sure to wash stuffed animals with hot water and dry them on high heat; rinse toys with hot water and bleach and let them air dry.
  • Purses: Seams and pockets are perfect places for bed bugs to burrow and hide. If placed on the ground or near infested furniture, bed bugs can take up residence, hitching a ride back home when you leave.

Double checking your belongings when you arrive home can help prevent the establishment of a bed bug haven. Be sure to check out these other ways to prevent bed bugs. If you believe you have a bed bug infestation, it is imperative to call a professional bed bug control company immediately.

Which Season is Worst for Bed Bugs?

Which Season is Worst for Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are an extremely difficult pest to get rid of. Is there a season that is worse for bed bugs than others? While there is no official bed bug season, a recent study published in the Journal of Medical Entomology shows a peak in bed bug activity in August and a low in February. Other studies have shown that peak season for bed bugs runs from June through October. Bed bugs appear more prevalent in warmer months likely due to an increase in travel and hotel visits during spring break and summer vacation, as well as college students moving into dorms at the beginning of the school year. More movement, more travel and more activity lead to an increased opportunity for bed bugs to hitch a ride on luggage, people and pets. This increase in travel also allows them the opportunity to spread very quickly, establishing new infestations practically overnight.

Bed bugs have been found in homes, college dorms, nursing homes, schools, hospitals, office buildings, hotels, daycares, hospitals, public transportation, and even planes.

Even though bed bug season appears to peak in the warmer months, they still remain active year round. That’s why it is important to be vigilant when traveling or hosting out of town visitors regardless of the time of year. Here are some tips to help prevent bed bugs from infesting your home.

  • Use a flashlight and magnifying glass to thoroughly inspect your accommodations including:
    • In the seams of chairs and couches and in between cushions
    • In the folds of curtains
    • In drawer joints
    • In electrical outlets and appliances
    • Under loose wallpaper and behind wall hangings
    • At the junction of walls and ceilings
    • In the heads of screws
    • On mattresses and box springs, especially along seams and edges
    • Along the bed frame
    • In cracks in plaster and wallpaper seams
    • In luggage or boxes stored in infested rooms
    • In objects on nightstands including clocks and magazines or books
    • In crevices of smoke detectors and phones
    • In door hinges and window and door moldings
  • Reduce clutter in your home.
  • Vacuum suitcases when returning from a trip.
  • Routinely check linens and mattresses for signs of bed bugs.
  • Make sure to also regularly check areas where your pets sleep for signs of bed bugs.
  • Bring a large trash bag to store your suitcase in during travel.
  • Bring a small flashlight and magnifying glass with you when traveling to help inspect your accommodations.
  • Thoroughly inspect any used furniture before bringing them into your home.
  • Check the Bed Bug Registry for your travel accommodations to see if they have any recent reports of bed bugs.
  • Immediately wash your clothes in hot water and dry them on high heat after returning from travel.

If you suspect you have a bed bug infestation, contact a professional bed bug control company who can provide you with a thorough inspection and set you up with a comprehensive treatment and prevention plan going forward.

 

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Where Can Bed Bugs Hide?

Where Can Bed Bugs Hide?

Bed bugs are one of the most difficult pests to get rid of. Early detection is critical for bed bug control. A minor infestation can be an inconvenience but it is much less expensive and easier to treat than a widespread infestation. Minor infestations can be difficult to find and correctly diagnose, however. Other insects like carpet beetles are often mistaken for bed bugs. Misidentification or delay in detection can allow the bed bugs more time to spread and proliferate. How do you find bed bugs? Where can bed bugs hide?

Identification

The first step in finding bed bugs is properly identifying them. Adult bed bugs are brown or reddish-brown with flat, oval-shaped bodies that are about 1/4″ to 5/8″ long. Their flat body shape allows them to hide in cracks and crevices. Bed bugs become swollen and engorged after feeding. They are found throughout the United States.

Habits

Learning and understanding the habits and behavior of bed bugs can also help identify an infestation early. Bed bugs like to travel and are notoriously good hitchhikers. Bed bugs usually emerge at night in search of their blood meal but will feed during the day if necessary. While bed bugs are most commonly known for feeding on humans, they will also feed on other mammals and birds too. They usually hide near their food source.

Signs

Knowing and recognizing the signs of a bed bug infestation is key to identifying them early and getting rid of them quickly. Some common signs of bed bugs include:

  • Rust or red-colored stains on sheets and mattresses (this is caused by the bed bugs being crushed)
  • Dark spots about the size of a period (.) (these are bed bug feces)
  • Tiny eggs or eggshells shed by growing bed bug nymphs
  • Live bed bugs
  • Bites on areas of the skin that are exposed during sleep

Inspection

Once you know the signs to look for, the next step is to thoroughly inspect any areas that could potentially harbor bed bugs. Bed bugs are found in every place humans gather including homes, hotels, schools, offices, stores, and public transportation. They like to use their flat shape to hide in cracks and crevices close to humans. They can fit in any opening the width of a credit card. When checking for bed bugs, use a flashlight and magnifying glass to thoroughly check the following areas:

  • In the seams of chairs and couches and in between cushions
  • In the folds of curtains
  • In drawer joints
  • In electrical outlets and appliances
  • Under loose wallpaper and behind wall hangings
  • At the junction of walls and ceilings
  • In the heads of screws
  • On mattresses and box springs, especially along seams and edges
  • Along the bed frame
  • In cracks in plaster and wallpaper seams
  • In luggage or boxes stored in infested rooms
  • In objects on nightstands including clocks and magazines or books
  • In crevices of smoke detectors and phones
  • In door hinges and window and door moldings

Prevention

Bed bugs can be extremely difficult to get rid of. If you spot signs of a bed bug infestation, contact a licensed pest control company who can positively identify the bed bugs and use professional grade techniques and products to eliminate the infestation. In the meantime, there are some things you can do to help prevent bed bugs in the first place.

  • Reduce clutter in your home.
  • Vacuum suitcases when returning from a trip.
  • Routinely check linens and mattresses for signs of bed bugs.
  • Make sure to also regularly check areas where your pets sleep for signs of bed bugs.
  • Bring a large trash bag to store your suitcase in during travel.
  • Bring a small flashlight and magnifying glass with you when traveling to help inspect your accommodations.
  • Thoroughly inspect any used furniture before bringing them into your home.
  • Check the Bed Bug Registry for your travel accommodations to see if they have any recent reports of bed bugs.
  • Immediately wash your clothes in hot water and dry them on high heat after returning from travel.

 

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Summer Without Bed Bug Worry

Summer Without Bed Bug Worry

From college students making their way home for summer to little ones heading off to summer camp and family vacations, this is the time when bed bugs thrive and look to take over your home by any means necessary. Follow these tips to keep your home protected from from a bed bug invasion:

  • When coming back home, leave bags in the garage/driveway, and take clothes to your laundry to be laundered on high heat immediately.
  • Avoid unpacking clothing items during your hotel stay. Pack a large trash bag and store your suitcase in it for the duration.
  • Before settling in, check pillows, mattresses, headboards, and box springs for signs of bed bugs. The most common, recognizable sign of bed bugs is small, rust colored spots.
  • Always check the Bed Bug Registry. This resource is a website dedicated documenting bed bug activity across the U.S. for hotels and other travel accommodations.

Bed bug infestations are no small concern as it takes a very intense treatment. If you return from traveling and find that you may have a bed bug infestation, call your licensed pest control company as soon as possible.

Which Pests Are Active In Your Area?

Which Pests Are Active In Your Area?

Just as the weather changes with the seasons, pest activity shifts to usher in new groups of active pests. Let’s take a look at what pests are active in your area and some tips to keep them away.

Subterranean Termites

The humidity and moisture that come with early summer is what helps to increase subterranean termite activity. “Swarm season” is in full effect, and this can present a problem for your home.

  • Avoid water accumulation around your home, specifically around the foundation.
  • Invest in a moisture-reducing program to help reduce humidity in your home’s crawl space.

Bed Bug

Summer is the biggest travel time for many. College students are coming back home, and family vacations are planned. This increases the chances of having an incident with bed bugs, and a bed bug infestation is no easy battle.

  • When returning from vacation, leave suitcases in the garage or driveway. Remove clothing and take immediately to your laundry room to be washed in warm water.
  • Consider packing a large garbage bag to place your suitcase in while on vacation.
  • Do not unpack your clothing and place them in the hotel drawers as these can be hiding places for bed bugs.

American Cockroaches

As the summer weather starts to rev up, American cockroach activity will skyrocket. While they live outdoors, if they find themselves low on food or if the weather experiences a drastic change (extreme heat or excessive rain), they will try move indoors.

  • Put dirty dishes directly into the dishwasher or wash them immediately after using them instead of leaving them in the sink overnight.
  • Make sure to eliminate any sources of standing water around your home.

Pest infestation can be costly and a major hassle. Contact a professional pest control company like Northwest for a free pest control estimate to protect your home from pests year-round.

Don’t Bring Bed Bugs Home!

Don’t Bring Bed Bugs Home!

Now that the holidays and spring break are over, travel season is slowing down; but that doesn’t mean that bed bug season is too. Bed bugs are active year-round. Even though you may not be travelling, guests coming to your home can bring bed bugs in too. Bed bugs are nuisance pests that are extremely difficult to get rid of. They are notorious hitchhikers, most commonly catching a ride on bags, purses, luggage, and wheelchairs, but they can also be found on clothing. Anyone can bring bed bugs into your home – an unexpected house guest, your spouse returning from an out of town work trip, or even your child coming home for a visit from college. Once bed bugs have gotten into your home, professional bed bug control is your best option to get rid of them. However, there are things you can do to help keep guests from bringing these pests into your home.

  1. Don’t put any guests’ coats or bags on the bed. Instead, clean out your front closet and use it to store coats and bags. Make sure to vacuum it immediately after your guests leave.
  2. If there isn’t ample closet space for your guests, place a sheet under the stored bags and coats and once the guests leave, put the sheet in the dryer on high heat for 30 minutes.
  3. Ask your visitors to immediately change into clean clothes when they enter the house.
  4. Launder all of their clothing on their arrival.
  5. Store their suitcases and bags in a plastic bag or box that can be sealed.
  6. Wipe their shoes down with a damp cloth with hot water or place them in the dryer if possible.
  7. Encase mattresses on guest beds with bed bug encasements.
  8. If your guests are sleeping on the couch, place a sheet over it and launder it immediately after your guests leave. Vacuum the couch, as well.
  9. Ask your guests to remove their shoes and keep them on a plastic mat by the door. Once they leave, clean the mat thoroughly.
  10. Use slipcovers on all of your furniture and launder them on high heat immediately after your guests leave.
  11. If your guests bring gifts, launder or clean anything that can be washed; wipe down wood or plastic items with a damp cloth.
  12. Bag, seal, and dispose of any packing boxes or wrapping paper immediately.
  13. Report any known cases of bed bugs to the bed bug registry.
  14. Call a pest control professional if you suspect you have a bed bug problem.

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