The once common bed bug was all but forgotten in the second half of the 20th century. But, because of increased travel, regulations on pesticide use, and genetic resistance, bed bugs have been on the rise all over the U.S. for the past decade.
Their growth is especially egregious in California, where the Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego regions have been named on Orkin’s annual ranking of the top 50 bed bug cities in the country.
Bed Bug Basics
Bed bugs, though tiny, are a homeowner’s or tenant’s worst nightmare. They get into your home by hitchhiking on your clothing, bags, and other fiber-based possessions. Anyone, regardless of cleanliness, can pick up bedbugs from hotel rooms, trains, buses, movie theaters, and other places where people sleep or spend time sitting. And, there is no off season for bed bugs. They are active even in winter.
They hide in crevices, mattresses, and carpets by day and feed on human blood by night. While they do not transmit disease, the EPA has named bed bugs a public health risk because their presence can cause:
- Allergic reactions including anaphylaxis
- Skin infections such as impetigo, ecthyma, and lymphangitis
- Mental health issues such as anxiety and insomnia
How to Best Prevent Bed Bugs
Unfortunately, preventing bed bugs altogether may not be possible, but there are steps you can take to lessen your exposure:
- Use a protective plastic cover to encase your mattress and box spring.
- Vacuum frequently to suck up any of these pests.
- Reduce clutter to reduce hiding places.
- Seal cracks around baseboards and light sockets.
- Think twice about bringing home used beds or couches without thoroughly inspecting them.
If you live in an apartment building:
- Be careful in shared laundry facilities. Use plastic bags to transport your laundry. Pack dried clothes directly into plastic and fold at home.
- Install a door sweep on the bottom of your door to discourage movement from one apartment to another.
Did you know that in California a landlord can sue a tenant who brings bed bugs onto their property?
- Immediately inspect your hotel room mattress, box spring, nightstands, headboard, and electrical outlets for signs of bed bugs.
- Never put your luggage, handbag, or clothes on the floor or bed. Keep luggage on the luggage stand after inspection.
- Repack used laundry into plastic bags and bring them directly to the laundry room. Dry clothes in a hot dryer to kill bed bugs.
Fight Back Against a Bed Bug Infestation
Vigilance is key when it comes to bed bugs. An adult female can lay two to five eggs per day, so one bed bug brought home in your clothes or purse can become an infestation in short order.
You cannot get rid of bed bugs using DIY methods. Only a professional pest control specialist like Ecola is properly trained for bed bug removal. Should you see signs of bed bug activity, call Ecola at 800 471-BUGS (2847) for eco-friendly pest removal.
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