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Bed Bugs: How do they spread?

If you currently have a bed bug infestation, or have experienced one in the past, you no doubt have found yourself wondering how they got there in the first place. While bed bugs are found throughout the world, even in cooler regions, they are considered a pest in all locales. Knowing how to identify a bed bug infestation, as well as how to prevent it from spreading form home to home, will help reduce their numbers and keep your home infestation-free.

How Do Bed Bugs Move From Place to Place

Bed Bug Fecal Staining

Bed Bug Fecal Staining On The Bottom Of A Sofa

Bed bugs make their way into your home in a number of ways. They can hitchhike on our clothes, luggage, furniture, mattress, shoes, books, or any other items that you bring inside. Bed bugs tend to hide in the cracks and crevices of furniture, meaning they aren’t usually visible upon close inspection. Their larvae and eggs are even smaller, measuring less than one twenty-fifth of an inch, making it tough to get rid of an infestation once it’s occurred.

Bed Bugs in the Bedroom

As their name implies, bed bugs are usually found in close proximity to the bed. They feed on warm-blooded animals (such as humans and pets) to survive and so will settle into headboards, frames, mattresses, and box springs. They will also commonly settle into clothing, outlets, or even old books. They can find you anywhere–not just in a bedroom, but even in movie theaters, taxi cabs, or airplanes. Anywhere you rest or sit can be a breeding ground for bed bugs.

bed bug fecal matter on mattress

Bed bug fecal matter on mattress

They will move to other areas when they are disturbed. This has led to a mass infestation on the global scale. Luckily, there are several easy steps you can take to reduce your risk of picking up bed bugs and bringing them into your home, whether you are traveling close to or far from home.

How Do I Prevent Bed Bugs from Spreading

Bed bugs aren’t a sign of a lack of cleanliness in a home or on a person’s clothing. Their presence has absolutely nothing to do with hygiene. No matter how clean your house is, you can still get bed bugs. This is how they can spread even in thoroughly sanitized situations, such as those presented on airplanes or in movie theaters.

To prevent bed bugs, there are a few tried and true tips you can utilize to minimize your risk. When you travel, bring plastic bags to seal your shoes and clothing in. This will help reduce the likelihood of bed bugs latching on for a ride. You can store your luggage in your car or in the bathroom. Bed bugs prefer to live in areas closer to the hosts–so don’t place your belongings near the bed.

adult bed bugs kept in a tube

Adult Bed Bugs

If you notice signs of a bed bug infestation in a hotel room, such as discarded exoskeletons, bloodstains on the sheets, or other signs, let the hotel staff know immediately. They can give you another room or allow you to change hotels. If you have an active infestation in your home, let your guests know beforehand so they can take appropriate steps to limit their risk of infestation.

Once you get home from a bed-bug infested location, brush you clothes. Open and unpack your luggage outside and then launder all clothing in hot water on the highest heat setting. Do not leave any infested items near your bed. Put all your luggage and other items that can’t be washed into the dryer, on the hottest setting, for half an hour.

What Do I Do If I Have an Infestation?

If you’ve picked up bed bugs and aren’t able to control them with the methods listed above, consider calling a professional bed bug exterminator. Exterminators will examine every corner of your home for signs of infestation, and will then work to eliminate every last trace of these uninvited guests. They will also give you tips on how to prevent another infestation from occurring. Don’t delay in calling an exterminator. Bed bugs are an unpleasant hassle that no homeowner should have to deal with.

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