Few things strike fear into the heart of property owners like the words, “Bed Bugs.” Despite their name, bed bugs can live for up to a year without food in just about any room of the house. They have been found in all types of dwellings and vehicles including homes, apartments, dorm rooms, hotels, movie theaters, airplanes and buses. They are commonly found in mattresses, box springs, bed frames, furniture, couches, under baseboards, and in wall voids behind switch plates and receptacles. They’re most comfortable in bedding, furniture, and carpet, and it may take you months to even realize there’s an issue.
Identifying Bed Bugs
The first step in getting rid of bed bugs is determining whether or not your home is infested. The most common signs of bed bugs we see at Thomas Pest Control include:
Bed bugs can range in size from as small as 1/16” to 3/8” and are usually reddish-brown. They look similar to small apple seeds.
As bed bugs feed, they leave fecal spots that are dark in color and usually appear as small smears or smudges on fabrics or other porous surfaces.
Bites on Skin
Although several pests can leave bite marks, bed bugs feed exclusively at night. Bites most often appear in the morning after sleep and show up as red, itchy welts.
Bed Bug Travel Tips
- Do your research! Check online reviews for your hotel to see if there have been past complaints of bed bugs as well as the Bed Bug Registry.
- Pack lightly, the less places for bed bugs to hide, the better!
- Pack clothing, shoes and toiletries in sealable plastic bags. Bed bugs prefer folds and crevices so your packed clothing is the ideal environment for them.
- Upon arrival to your hotel ask to inspect your room before accepting it.
- Using a flashlight and a keen eye, check the bed skirt and any decorative pillows/accents. Turn back the comforter, sheets, and mattress pad checking all sides and seams.
- Check behind the headboard as well as any other furniture in the room for evidence of bed bugs.
- You should be looking for the cast skins, and dark spots and stains from bed bug excrement.
- It’s very important to not set your suitcase/luggage on the bed or floor upon arrival. Bed bugs have a harder time crawling on smooth, hard surfaces like countertops or bathtubs.
- During your stay store your luggage on luggage racks rather than on the floor.
- Upon inspecting your room, if you find evidence of bed bugs do not move to a room that is adjacent or directly above/below the infestation. Bed bugs can travel via wall sockets through to adjacent rooms, as well as hitch a ride via housekeeping carts. It's best to avoid rooms close to the origin.
- Keep all worn clothing in plastic bags, do not store back into your luggage.
- Before packing to leave inspect your shoes and clothing and luggage.
Back at home
- Bed bugs travel by hitching rides. Make sure to thoroughly inspect all luggage outside or in the garage BEFORE bringing them back into your home.
- Immediately unpack directly into your washing machine. Wash all your clothes in hot water to ensure that any bed bugs that may have made it back are not placed into your closet or drawers.
- Dry clothes on high heat for at least 30 minutes to ensure any previously undetected bed bugs have been killed.
- Vacuuming your suitcase before storing it away will also help to make sure you didn’t look over any unwanted hitchhikers!
- You may use a garment hand steamer as bed bugs are sensitive to high temperatures. The advantage to this is that heating is intense and immediate so it helps to kill both the bugs and their eggs.
- Once clean store suitcases away from your bedroom, such as in the basement or in the garage. Never store them under your bed.
What to Do About Bed Bugs
If you suspect you may have bed bugs, it’s important not to panic. Bed bugs are not an indication of cleanliness – you can pick them up at the office, on public transportation, or even staying in a hotel! Calling a professional exterminator immediately is your best course of action.
At Thomas Pest Control, we treat bed bugs in Charlotte using thermal remediation, also known as Bed Bug Heat Treatment. Heat Treatments are a non-toxic approach to bed bug treatment that penetrates walls, mattresses, and other surfaces by directly and evenly heating a space. Bed bugs are killed wherever they are, no matter what growth stage they’re in. This is critical since not all bed bug treatments effectively kill eggs, leading to a latent infestation. Heat treatments can eradicate all stages of bed bugs in one treatment.
After treatment, your Thomas Pest Control Technician we will return to verify all bed bugs are dead.
Have signs of bed bugs in your home? Set up a consultation today to find out how serious the issue really is, and discuss your options for treatment.
Thomas Pest Control is ready to help.