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Got Bed Bugs? Here’s Some Tips To Avoid Spreading Them This Holiday Season

Although it has never been proven that bed bugs can transmit infectious pathogens, their bites can impact people’s quality of life, especially in sensitive people and people who have had bad experiences with them in the past. These individuals usually feel overwhelmed, violated, and anxious. Subsequently, they develop sleeplessness, anxiety, delusions, panic or even depression. This usually leads to social consequences, such as isolation and loneliness as they are afraid of spreading bed bugs to other places, especially to loved ones.

In order to solve this issue, let’s first understand how bed bugs spread and then explain how to avoid transporting them from one place to another.

Active dispersal: Bed bugs (especially the females) travel from one room to another or from one apartment to another via common walls. ceilings, pipes, telephone and cable wires, doorways, etc. A research study has shown that 53% of apartments adjacent to infested apartments also may be infested (Wang et.al., 2010).

Passive dispersal: As you may know, bed bugs are skilled hitchhikers. They can easily spread via infested mattress, box springs, furniture, guests, family members or  luggage, suitcases or clothes. They also can be set loose in a hallway after dropping off an item being discarded.

Bed bugs don’t jump or fly, but they can crawl very fast and may hide easily in loose garments, shoes, etc. Therefore, people living with a bed bug infestation history are urged to practice caution prior to traveling or visiting to avoid transporting bed bugs from one place to another. In order to do so, here are some suggestions:

  1. Carefully inspect your suitcase using a flashlight, magnifying glass and business card or nail file in cracks, crevices and seams. If in doubt, place it in commercial hot dryer at temperature of =120°F for 1-2 hours or place in a freezer for two to three weeks prior to use, as applicable. Read the item’s label before treatment as heat may damage it. Another solution is to buy a new suitcase. Immediately after heat treatment or purchase, place your suitcase in double plastic bags and seal tightly until needed.

  2. Repeat above instructions for your clothing and personal belonging, including, clothing, jackets, socks and shoes. Similar to above, these items can be heat treated (in dryer), placed in large plastic bags, tightly sealed and then placed in the heat-treated/new or thoroughly inspected suitcase.

  3. If you are worried that you have bed bugs in your vehicle, contact your pest management professional to perform a thorough inspection. In addition, bed bugs can be easily detected using a certified K-9 bed bug detection dog that can detect live bed bugs and viable eggs. If bed bugs are found, your vehicle can be treated with chemical or heat.

  4. Keep a bed bug “prevention kit” in your vehicle to be used as needed. This includes disposable plastic bags that can be sealed for transporting clothing and other items, spray bottle containing a 70% -90% solution of isopropyl alcohol, wet wipes, flashlight, change of heat-treated clothes/new and shoes that have been stored in sealed bag. These items should be carefully stored inside a clear, airtight plastic tote box.

  5. Before leaving your home, wear simple, light colored heat treated/new clothing, socks and shoes (it makes it easy to see bed bugs).

  6. Take only those items that are necessary for the visit into the home.

  7. Store personal items securely in your vehicle.

  8. Immediately before entering someone’s home, perform a self-inspection for any bed bug life stages, including eggs. Pay attention to inside and outside of shoes, lace holes, socks, pant legs, leg area and around hands and arms. If live bed bugs are observed, spray isopropyl alcohol directly on the bed bugs and use a “wet wipe” to capture/remove the bug. Solution of isopropyl alcohol will kill bed bugs (Harrison and Lawrence, 2009) and sanitize the area, but there is no residue, so efficacy is based on thoroughness of application. Be extremely careful, rubbing alcohol, and alcohol based hand sanitizers are flammable and a fire risk.

  9. Enjoy the peace of mind of knowing you’re fully bed bug free as you travel.

When you are ready, consider hiring the experts here at Adams Pest Control to manage and eliminate your bed bug infestation, contact us today for a FREE estimate, for inspection, K-9 inspection, chemical treatment, and/or heat treatment, which can eliminate hard infestations in a day. 

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