The holiday season is a time for gathering; whether you’re traveling or hosting the festivities, there’s one guest you definitely don’t want to entertain – bed bugs. Here’s what you should know about bed bugs and how to avoid becoming a host during the holidays.
Bed bugs are small, reddish-brown insects with flat, oval-shaped bodies. They are generally nocturnal, coming out at night to feed on human blood, although, like humans, they will look for a meal anytime of day if hungry. Because bed bugs cannot fly or jump, they rely on their hitchhiking skills to get from place to place.
Bed bugs can be found pretty much anywhere – You could unwittingly pick them up in hotels, stores, offices, schools, theaters, someone’s home, even on public transportation. They will hitch a ride inside suitcases, backpacks, purses, and anything offering dark, tight spaces to hide in until they reach their destination.
Signs of a bed bug problem include bite marks, rashes, or welts; dark stains on bedding, mattresses, or walls; blood stains on clothing or bedding; and live bed bugs or molted skins. To inspect your bed, carefully check the seams of your mattress, the bed frame, and around the headboard for live bugs, shed skins, or waste. Despite their name, bed bugs aren’t only found in beds – they could be hiding in other pieces of furniture, inside books, behind picture frames and wall hangings, even behind electrical outlet covers.
Bed bugs are notoriously difficult to eliminate, but there are some simple ways to avoid them:
- Stay clean and organized. The more clutter you have, the more hiding places bed bugs can find, and the harder it can be to get rid of them.
- If you’re traveling, inspect your luggage when you return home and wash belongings as soon as possible.
- Wash bedding regularly, particularly after having visitors stay overnight.
- When staying in hotels or vacation rentals, do not place your luggage on the floor or bed until you’ve inspected your space. If you find any evidence of bed bugs, report it immediately.
- Vacuuming regularly can help to prevent or reduce bed bug populations, but it will not eliminate an infestation.
Finally, if you suspect you’re playing host to these uninvited guests, call a professional right away. A bed bug infestation will only get worse if left untreated, but treating with store-bought products is never recommended. The bed bug experts at Burgess Pest come armed with the knowledge, science, and technology to properly identify bed bugs and determine the best method for safely eliminating them from your home.