Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Freshman’s Guide To Avoiding Bedbugs

Bedbugs are back! Much to the chagrin of Americans from the city to the plain, these cryptic biting insects have witnessed a steady resurgence over the past decade. Causing near hysteria from homes and hotels to hospitals and public transportation, the hard-to-find, difficult to treat, hard-biting bed bug has a reputation as a nuisance that is truly well earned.

One area where concerns have recently been on the rise is the college campus, where the climate is ripe for the proliferation of these blood-sucking bugs. If your freshman is heading to school this fall, this comprehensive guide will get you ready to battle bed bugs from prevention to extermination.

Pack Smart

Whether you are leaving for the semester or getting away for the weekend, you never know when or where you will encounter bed bugs. The first step in prevention is to carefully conceal all clothing, bedding and personal belongings in bed bug proof luggage liners or sealed plastic bags. If you get to the dorm and discover an infestation, your possessions will remain protected until the problem has been rectified.

Inspect for Insects

Before you bring anything into your housing situation, look closely around the premises for live or dead bed bugs, fecal markings, cast skins or blood spots. These nocturnal insects typically find shelter near their hosts, so carefully scrutinize existing beds and mattresses, in addition to headboards, nightstands and any cracks or crevices. Bed bugs are notoriously hard to spot and identify, so if there is any evidence save a sample and contact a pest management professional for confirmation.

Proceed With Caution

Even if you are clear upon first inspection, considering the rise of incidents on college campuses, it’s prudent to be proactive. Store clothing in bed bug proof garment and laundry bags and be sure to place a bed bug proof encasement over your mattress or box spring. They will create a seal to keep bugs out while containing any already living inside where they will starve and expire.

Create a Perimeter 

Bed bugs are hitchhikers, but they can also walk short distances, making visitors and neighbors your biggest concerns. Properly applying a product like diatomaceous earth in potential entry points is recommended to stop and kill crawling bugs, while sealing all cracks, crevices, and openings will limit where bed bugs can enter or find shelter. Finally, set monitor traps under and around the bed and check them frequently for early detection.

Stay on Guard

Minimize clutter and make it part of your regular cleaning routine to check for signs of infestation, especially if you’ve had guests and after vacations. When traveling for the weekend or heading for spring break, keep your clothing in sealed bags, and wash your laundry and bedding often. Using hot water and detergent in conjunction with machine drying for more than 30 minutes on high heat will effectively kill bed bugs.

Don’t Hesitate

A bite, blood spot, or sighting is all the reason you need to call in the pros. Bed bugs are difficult to control without expert knowledge, proper tools and sustained diligence. The sooner you respond the more likely you are to contain the problem, avoiding a full-fledged infestation. The process of thoroughly treating for bed bugs may be temporarily inconvenient, but beats being bitten in the night by bloodthirsty pests.

Come Home Alone

Thoroughly inspect all items you are taking home, whether you have experienced bed bugs or not. Wash and dry clothing and bedding at high temperatures, pack in sealed bags and leave behind small furnishings that may harbor bed bugs. Don’t bring anything into the house before a final inspection, checking the lining of bags and backpacks, as well as electronics such as laptops.

Don’t Bug Out

Dealing with a bed bug infestation can be an exhausting experience marked by sleepless nights. Avoid having to go through it by following this guide for prevention and early detection, and immediately consulting an experienced bed bug specialist when suspicions arise.

Top Ten Bed Bug Prevention Tips for New Freshmen

  1. Educate yourself on bed bugs, from what they look like to how they feed and reproduce.
  2. Thoroughly inspect all dwellings before unpacking, whether staying for the night or a semester.
  3. Encase mattress, box springs or futons in a bed bug proof encasement to keep insects out or contained.
  4. Store clothing and personal items in garment bags, luggage liners and laundry bags designed to keep out bed bugs. 
  5. Keep floors clear and counter clutter to a minimum to reduce the risk of bed bug infiltration. Regular vacuuming along with discarding the bag or collected debris outside can assist as well.
  6. Frequently wash clothing and bedding in warm water and dry heat for a sustained period of more than 30 minutes. 
  7. Don’t bring home second-hand bedding, furniture (especially if upholstered), books or clothing before thorough inspection.
  8. Alert appropriate authorities if bed bugs are suspected in or around your dorm room, apartment building, or house.
  9. Contact a pest management professional for a discreet consultation to confirm the presence of bed bugs.
  10. In the case of infestation, immediately contract an experienced pest management professional to address your bed bug problem. 

**For more information on bed bugs and related services call us for a free quote & consultation.