It’s that time of year again! Time for sun, fun …and bedbugs. You might not realize it, but the months of June through October are peak bedbug season in this part of the world.
When the weather is warmest, bedbugs reproduce the fastest, and this is also when they can more easily find their way from place to place. More people are vacationing, going to the movies, and even shopping at garage sales, all of which are prime ways to spread bedbugs.
The question is, are you at risk? The answer? Unfortunately, it’s yes!
Anyone can be at risk for a bed bug infestation. Rural or urban, rich or poor, apartment-dweller or someone who lives in a sprawling mansion –bedbugs do not discriminate. First, let’s start by taking a closer look at this one-time pest of the past.
What Are Bedbugs
Bedbugs are flat, red-brown, oval-shaped insects that are best described as resembling an apple seed. They are nocturnal creatures that like to hide out in cracks crevices, bedsheets, furniture, and most notoriously in the seams of mattresses. They also happen to make blood their one and only source of nourishment.
You Might Have Bedbugs If …
- …you see them. Remember, they’re only about 4 to 5 mm long and closely resemble an apple seed.
- …you notice small blood stains on your sheets and pillowcases
- …you see shed bedbug skins or egg shells
- …you notice black or brown bedbug feces stains or mounds
- …notice itchy red welts on your skin. However, since skin irritations can come from various sources, you should look for any of the other signs
How to Prevent Bedbugs
There are numerous places where it’s possible to come into contact with bedbugs. Fortunately, there are also several ways that you can prevent bedbugs from taking up residence in your home. Here are a few different things to remember.
When on Vacation
Inspect –Prior to unpacking or even placing anything on the bed in your hotel (motel, B&B, etc) room, be sure to inspect the room for bedbug infestations. Bring a small flashlight with you and use it to inspect common areas of infestation, such as mattresses and headboards, luggage racks, upholstered furniture, bedding and pillows. You may even want to look behind any framed pictures hanging on the wall, since this is one of their favourite hiding places.
Protect—Ensure that bedbugs can’t hitch a ride to your home on any dirty laundry produced while on vacation. You can do this by bringing a large plastic bag to place the clothes in. The plastic bag will make it harder for them to detect the chemical humans leave behind on their clothing. Immediately wash these items once you get home from your vacation.
When you return home, it’s also a good idea to vacuum the interior and exterior of your suitcases, and then either discard the vacuum bag or wash the refuse chamber in a bagless vacuum.
When Purchasing Secondhand Items
Whether you purchase a sofa, stereo, or sweater, there are steps to take in order to prevent bedbugs from getting into your home. They like to hide inside of electronics, in drawer joints and curtains, as well as in the seams of chairs, couches, clothing, and cushions.
If you plan to purchase any of these items secondhand, it is very important that you inspect them prior to bringing them into your home. Again, use a flashlight to inspect every nook and cranny of your purchase. Look for live bugs, eggs and eggshells, blood stains, and fecal matter.
Other Places to Pick Up Bedbugs
While travel and secondhand shopping may be the most widely known scenarios for picking up bedbugs, there are numerous other sources. Here are a few:
- In cars
- At the movies
- Public Libraries
- Daycares and Schools
- Office Buildings
At home, an excellent way to prevent a bedbug infestation is through the use of mattress and box spring encasements. These encasements work in two ways: they trap and starve any existing bedbugs, while also making it easier to see and vacuum up any bedbugs on the outside.
How to Get Rid of Bedbugs
The bad news is that even the most diligent person can end up with a bedbug infestation in their home. If you have detected evidence of bedbugs, or seen the little critters themselves, your absolute best strategy for eradication is to contact a professional pest control specialist.
Pest control specialists are specially trained to locate and eradicate bedbugs using an integrated pest management approach. This approach is designed to get into all of the nooks and cracks where bedbugs like to hide. Bedbugs are then removed using a variety of methods, including vacuuming, heat, insecticides and other treatments. They may also recommend that you discard certain items such as mattresses and other soft furnishings.
If you’re experiencing a bedbug infestation in Canada, take control now, by browsing the listing at eieihome.com for pest control in your local area.