It’s some of the worst news a homeowner can get: you have bedbugs. Whether you live in an inner-city apartment or a big house in the suburbs, bedbugs spell bad news and lots of itchy sores! These invasive critters are pests and very hard to kill, so an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure.
Bed Bug Basics
Bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed or smaller, and are reddish-brown in colour. They live off of the blood of people and animals, so if you have bed bugs, don’t worry that your place is too dirty; it’s you they’re after. They are usually brought into the home in luggage, clothes, boxes, or used furniture, but sometimes also migrate through small cracks in walls between apartments. These sneaky bugs only come out at night, but light doesn’t deter them from biting. You may or may not experience a rash if you get bitten by bed bugs, as some people don’t react, but others get large itchy bumps.
Check Your Hotel Room
Bed bugs are often brought into the home from hotels. When you arrive, do a basic inspection of your room by looking at the mattress, box spring, and edges of the headboard. Pull back the sheets, looking along the corners of the mattress. You may or may not see actual bugs, but you can look for other signs that they’re around, such as small reddish spots on the sheets or mattress; round dark spots like ink; and tiny eggs, eggshells, and pale yellow skins. You can also help prevent taking them home by storing your luggage on a luggage rack or dry bathtub instead of on the bed. If you do see bed bug signs, immediately call the hotel desk and let them know!
Avoid Bringing Them Home
If you find out that there are bedbugs in your hotel room or a place you were staying, make sure to not bring anything inside your home with you until you’ve taken these steps. It’s easier to deal with bedbugs in your luggage than bedbugs in your entire home! Unpack your whole suitcase somewhere outside your home. Wash clothes through a hot wash and dry cycle (though a low dry cycle will also kill bugs if you have delicate items). Use no-pest strips to disinfect your suitcase and seal it into a garbage bag for three weeks.
Call In the Cavalry
Sometimes despite your best efforts, you suspect you have bed bugs. If you do a thorough inspection and still think you have bed bugs, DO NOT try to eradicate them yourself. You may end up spreading them into more rooms of your house and just make the problem worse! Instead, call in a professional exterminator or tell your landlord. If you find a bedbug, use clear tape to attach it to a white piece of paper so that the pest control or exterminators can confirm your identification of the bug.
We hope you never have to face the problem of bed bugs. Remember to be vigilant with prevention to save yourself the headache of the cure!