Preventing Bed Bugs
1. Don’t go to hotels
Here are 5 tips to help you prevent bed bugs. Almost half of the people I talk to about their bed bug infestation have recently been on vacation or a business trip. Unfortunately, the quality of the establishment has little to do with whether they have bed bugs or not. Granted, the cheaper motels or run down pay-by-the-hour joints are more likely to have more rooms with issues due to the clientele. Also the higher end hotels often have pest control on the speed dial to take care of anything that may go wrong. Even with all of that, nothing can prevent someone from walking a bed bug into a room and starting a problem. I once found bed bugs in a motel room I was treating, informed the owner and he refused to have it treated because he said he could find it cheaper. OK, fine by me, but the next time I went he had not gotten it treated and was renting it out! That should be illegal! It is very difficult to prove you got them from the hotel you stayed at and near impossible to get them to own up to it, much less pay for the service to treat your home. So am I saying don’t go on vacation? YES, stay home, clean the house and rest. How many times have you come back from a vacation worn out? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose? Now imagine you are unrested from your vacation and find out a week later you brought a hitchhiker home with you? Well you just blew $5000 to take the kids to Disney Land and now your gonna have to shell out another large chunk of cash to fix the mess you brought back. Stay home and watch netflix. If you don’t have a choice, take a good flashlight and inspect the bed. Tear it apart, pull the headboard off the wall, check every inch. Do not unpack your stuff into the drawers, leave your suitcase in the tub or bathroom.
2. Don’t visit family for the holidays
I know you haven’t seen Aunt Joline in 20 years and this might be the last time to see her but is it worth getting bed bugs? She is going to be embarrassed she has them and not tell you, that is if she even knows she has them. Are you really going to cause a family rift trying to get an old lady to pay for your bed bug treatment? So now what? You can’t stay at Aunt Jolines house and a hotel is out of the question. Honestly, you’re kinda stuck unless you want to sleep in the car. Here is the delima, you have to sleep somewhere so I will leave that up to you which option is the least risky. And don’t forget when friends and family come over to visit. Are you 100% sure none of them has bed bugs at home? That casserole could come with a few uninvited guests. Am I saying turn in your library card and become a recluse? YES. That is if you want to be 99% sure you will not get bed bugs.
3. Don’t buy anything used
I’m all about pinching pennies but so many times I have seen someone buy a used piece of furniture only to find out it was infested with bed bugs. Good luck getting the thrift shop owner or the shady guy you met off craigslist.com to take care of this problem, It’s all you babe. Was it worth saving a couple dollars on a couch to have to turn around and fork out $1000+ for your new parasitic friends? It doesn’t even have to be a bed or a chair, I have seen infestations start from dressers, clothes, and electronics bought used. Unfortunately many people were told, sometimes by “professionals” that they had to throw out the beds and chairs. What did they do with them? Well they put them on the side of the road of course. So Suzie Q is driving by and sees a free bed. Guess who I get a call from next? That’s right, Suzie Q. In most instances you do not have to trash your bed or couch. However, if you just cant stand it and want to toss it by the curb consider this. That alone will not fix your problem and when you spend thousands of dollars on a new one it will just become infested like the old one. You wasted your money. One option if you have to go down that road is to buy a cheap air mattress until the problem is fixed then you can go buy a new bed. When you put your bug infested furniture out in the street please destroy it so someone will not take it home. That’s the gift that keeps on giving… and biting. Tear up the fabric, spray paint “BED BUGS!!!” on it, throw mud on it, whatever you have to do to not spread this cancer further. The bad part is that most people who are picking up beds off the side of the road are exactly the ones who cannot afford to have the bed bugs treated. So don’t do that to them.
4. Proactive measures
As I stated before, no treatment of any kind can prevent you from walking that bed bug into your home from Aunt Jolines family reunion. She has been hiding in your purse since the day you got there just waiting for a blood vacation at your house. As disconcerting as that is there are things you can do. When you come home from the hotel, do not rush in with dreams of a nap in your own bed. Leave the luggage outside and get naked on the front porch. Yep, you read that correctly. Hopefully you have a garage so the neighbors don’t have to call the home owners association. Take everything off and put it directly in the washing machine. DIRECTLY! Do not pass go, do not collect $100. If you have them on you and you put the clothes in a basket to wash later they will just leave that pile in search of food and a better place to hide.Now you have a problem. Do the same with your luggage and it’s contents. What you can’t wash, inspect. An even better option is to call me and I will send the K9 team with 1st Defense to sniff out your luggage before you even bring it in the home. Trust me, that will be much much cheaper than having to get the whole house treated.
You can also purchase or have us install monitors under the legs of your bed and encase your mattress and box-springs. These will not stop you from getting a problem but they will prevent it from getting worse and they also serve as early warning indicators. The earlier you catch it, the quicker we can make it go away and the cheaper it will be. You can even take it a step further if you travel often or find yourself in environments prone to bed bugs like hospitality, home medical, or garage sales. If you have your home regularly treated for bed bugs proactively, then you will be much more ahead of the problem than not. So if you do happen to bring one of these little vampires home, there are already things in place to eliminate it before you even know you have a problem, or at least kick start the process.
Often times when I take a bed apart to treat for bed bugs it is painfully obvious that the bed hasn’t been moved or cleaned under since it was fresh from the store. This means that sock you lost in 1982 after the Knoxville World’s Fair is still there, along with some items you might be embarrassed for me to find. Man does that happen way too often. Anyway, if you never move it or clean under it that just makes a safe environment for them to hide and nest in the refuse. Unfortunately, allot of the randomness that finds itself under the bed cannot be treated so do yourself a favor and flip your mattress once in a while. Vacuum under your bed, you never know what you might find. This goes for the rest of your furniture as well. Finding an issue early will save you time, heartache, and money. Don’t know what to look for? Click HERE to find out.
So I am not being realistic about never leaving your home for fear of bed bugs but that is the reality these days. There have been reports of bed bugs in hospital waiting rooms, churches, libraries, and movie theaters. Basically anywhere humans sit has a potential for someone with bed bugs to leave you a present that you didn’t ask for and can’t return. Don’t become a hermit but be smart as you go through your life. I’ll take your money to kill your bed bugs all day long but If I can prevent you from having to call me at all, the world will be a better place. Unfortunately this epidemic is here to stay and I don’t see it getting any better any time soon so please take my advice. I absolutely hate it when a pest control customer calls me because now they have bed bugs. I know what a mess they are going to have to go through to get it fixed and I hate to give them bad news. The silver lining to all of this bed bug doom and gloom is that it is fixable. I haven’t seen a bed bug job yet that we aren’t been able to lick. So hold your encouraged head high and get naked on the front porch.
Phoenix Pest Control serves Knox and Blount counties in East Tennessee.
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