Many customers that we service, regardless if bed bugs were found or not, ask us about bed bug prevention. People can get bed bugs in many ways. You can be exposed to them when you travel, stay in hotels, take public transit and you can even get bed bugs from riding on airplanes. The fact of the matter is that in this day and age there is no sure fire way to prevent yourself from getting bed bugs because bed bugs can be anywhere.
Before we talk about bed bug prevention we must first address how bed bugs actually come home with you. There are two ways that you can bring bed bugs into your home;
Bed bugs are hitchhikers. Let’s say you sit down at a nice restaurant for a well-deserved dinner out on the town. Days or even weeks ago, another person that enjoyed their dinner sitting on that same chair had a bed bug on them that deviously crawled off of that person and took up living on the chair’s underside or crevice that exists between the backrest and seat. That bed bug decides to crawl onto you (to feed) and, unbeknown to you somewhere between the salad and main course in your dimly lit retreat, you have the makings of a bed bug infestation.
The weather has something to do with the likelihood of that bed bug making it back to your home with you. Yes, you heard right… The weather! Bed bugs thrive at temperatures that are comfortable to humans. They prefer it a bit warmer than usual, somewhere around 80 degrees F. They also prefer a relatively high relative humidity at around 80%. Why is this important? Because if you’re having dinner in Calgary in February and that bed bug is hitched to your pants, the moment you step into that cold air the bed bug becomes lethargic and is likely to simply fall off of you. On the other hand, if it’s summer that bed bug is likely to be able to hold on until you walk it right through your front door! It is for this reason that we see a huge increase of new bed bug infestations in the summertime.
Back to bed bug prevention. Here are some simple tips to help you avoid getting bed bugs in the first place;
Many people bring home more than just great memories while travelling, they bring home bed bugs too! There are some simple steps that you can use to help avoid infesting your home after you travel. Here are a few:
Preventing exposure to bed bugs while staying in a hotel room is difficult to say the least. A huge percentage of hotel rooms across the world are infested with bed bugs. Hotels fight a constant battle against bed bugs because when an infestation is found in a hotel room and it is rectified, the next guest may bring them right back in. The reputation of a hotel is paramount to their public image and with the prolific use of social media and review sites readily available to the general public, hotels face immediate and ruthless judgement by patrons that find bed bugs in their hotel room. It is for this reason that we will see the hotel industry continue to wage an all-out battle against the influx of bed bugs into their establishments.
Before you enter the hotel room, bring a flashlight and look underneath the box spring, in between the mattress and box spring, behind the headboard, and underneath the bed end tables. Check the baseboards, the tops of the curtains, behind the curtains and in and around the electrical outlets both near the T.V. and next to the bed. You are looking for bed bugs, fecal matter staining and cast skins. If you see ANY evidence of bed bug activity, leave the room immediately and discreetly tell the hotel duty manager. Why discreetly? Because after telling him/her what you’ve found they are likely to thank you for your discretion by upgrading you to a much better hotel room or even more. If no bed bugs are found in your hotel room – great – but you’re not done yet.
As we have mentioned before, a visual inspection can only go so far and is far from comprehensive. You may actually have bed bugs in your hotel room even after not finding any during your initial inspection. Fine, it can happen… Here are some tips on bed bug prevention while living in your hotel room.
Many people are exposed to bed bugs while taking some form of transit. Public transit of any kind produces bed bug prevention risks that are somewhat unique.
While on an airplane, bus, train or in a taxi you are exposing yourself – from a bed bug perspective – to every other patron that has occupied that seat for a period of weeks (if not longer) before you. Knowing this can make some people so fearful that it can actually lead to acute psychiatric disorders. However, for most, they just become more aware of the potential for exposure and take some basic bed bug prevention steps to avoid actually bringing them home.
A seemingly strange but good idea after riding public transportation is to have a trusted friend brush you down from head to toe right after disembarking. Finding a private spot to do this only takes a second and can prevent bed bugs from catching a ride back home with you.
By far, the most pressing question asked of us is “how do I make sure I never bring them into my house?” By following these basic steps you can practice bed bug prevention for your home:
When you have come into contact with a known infestation of bed bugs do the following BEFORE entering your home:
If someone has entered your home that may have had bed bugs or if someone has brought something into your home that you suspect has been exposed to bed bugs it is best to call for a bed bug inspection.
Bed bug prevention in the home takes a bit of practice but with some diligence and effort you can avoid having to deal with a bed bug infestation where it counts the most – your own home.