Bed bugs in the news and other media is as common as the weather or sports these days. It seems everyone is weighing in on this insect menace that was absent from our lives since the 1960’s. So much has been made of the sudden resurgence of bed bugs that it seems there is no escaping it. Turn on the television and stories about bed bug infestations in local elementary school classrooms or university dorm rooms are aired. Read the newspaper and local courthouses, libraries and hotels are featured as the latest bed bug infestation takes shape. So why are the incidences of bed bugs increasing instead of decreasing and how do you get rid of bed bugs if you get them? Well, there are lots of people, and we do love to travel. And bed bugs like to come along for the ride. A keen eye, a small flashlight and a few minutes could make the difference between bed bug free and bed bug infested.
According to www.bedbugs.org and their great infographic shown below – it’s huge, but trust me, it contains invaluable information – bed bugs have grown exponentially in reported cases, bed bug inspection calls and bed bug treatments performed by pest control companies in the last decade. This explosion has been found everywhere and shows no signs of slowing down, with many in the scientific community saying that 2012 is the year that bed bugs either plateau, or we turn the tide against them with control and a downward trend of infestations.
This could all add up to cause for concern as spring break approaches, closely followed by summer vacation, guests from out of town and a whole host of scenarios that bed bugs can introduce themselves into. After all, nature’s perfect hitchhiker doesn’t mind travel. In fact, they depend on it.
There are ways to remain vigilant and learn what you can do to avoid bed bugs though. If awareness is key, then hyper-awareness during upcoming holiday and vacation season may be the only way to truly avoid finding bed bugs in your home. If you’re in the hospitality industry and understand the importance of protecting your brand, scheduling a bed bug dog inspection may be your strongest defense against bed bugs. Bed bugs dogs can scent detect bed bugs and their eggs with up to 95% accuracy. That’s incredibly accurate and will cost far less than just randomly treating, which has proven to be ineffective if not targeted in the hot spots where the bed bugs are hiding. Bed bugs dogs find the bed bugs, then targeted applications or a heat treatment take care of the rest. Incidentally if you’re concerned about losing revenue to rooms that are off limits, good news there too. Heat treatments are returning rooms to service within 24 hours. Gotta love Integrated Pest Management when it comes to effective solutions with no impact on inhabitants, pets or your possessions.
Avoid getting bed bugs by doing a few things before you unpack when you arrive. By the way, if you don’t normally carry a flashlight but want to make sure you inspect as thoroughly as possible, pack a small flashlight. Light is your most important tool for finding bed bugs. Information on bed bugs is one of your best tools.
- Before setting your luggage or personal items down do a thorough inspection of the room. The bath tub is a great place to rest your items until you’ve had a good look around.
- Check furniture, especially bedding and the creases, cracks and crevices of the mattress, box spring and headboard. If you see rust colored or dark colored staining and castings, alert the hotel manager and asked to be move or consider other accommodations.
- Check behind furniture surrounding the bed.
- Check the wall where the floor meets the wall.
- Bed bugs hide during the day but feed at night. Look closely, use that flashlight you packed.
Bed bugs may be headline news for some businesses or homeowners, but it doesn’t have to be. Awareness is a crucial first step. Taking action to protect yourself and your family, or your employees and your brand, is a crucial second step. What you find and what you do from there determine the rest. You can avoid a lot of things when you know what to look for, conversely, if you don’t look at all, you’re exposing yourself to an enormous and expensive risk easily avoided with 5 to 10 minutes of pretending your an exterminator looking for signs of bed bugs.