Lately, the media is having a glorious field day with the sensational story that is making people squirm across the nation.
Bed bugs. Part of the hysteria is caused by the fact that yes, they ARE gross, creepy and crawly, and they can cause misery and terrible allergic reactions in some people. They are common but not THAT common… the rest of the panic is cause by the fact that most of us have never seen or experienced them. Just the idea of them gets us all worked up. And, um, well… eeew!
The adults are about the size of a lentil, but more oval. The babies are the size of poppy seeds. Depending on how old they are, their last molting or when their last meal was, they can range in color from almost white to brown or even rusty orange. They can live for months without feeding, and move from place to place on our clothing, in furniture or suitcases. You might see their tiny poop stains, shed skins or eggs on bedding or furniture cracks or joints, but seeing crawling insects means you definitely have an active problem. Bites don’t hurt at first, then become itchy, even infected if they’re scratched open. They appear as tiny red dots, like a flea bite. They are often in rows of three or four. Most bed bugs don’t carry disease, just ickyness.
But, really. If you don’t have a problem now, you’re probably fine, just be a little more aware of your surroundings. Here are a few preventative tips.
Use pillow and mattress protectors that fully encase your mattress to help prevent infestations starting in the first place. Ours at Jennifer Adams Home may help!
If you do have an infestation, call your landlord or if you own your home, call a qualified exterminator for eradication. Do not attempt to solve the problem yourself. Do not remove furniture to the street or take to donation sites.
Check hotel beds and furniture before you start unpacking, not matter how many stars the establishment has. Request a different room or even change hotels if possible.
Inspect used furniture carefully before bringing into your own home, particularly “street” furniture that someone has left at the curb. Check under cushions, in cracks and joints of the wood frame, the insides and underneath dresser drawers, armoires, trunks, etc. that are used for storing clothing.
If you can, check movie theater seats before sitting. If you start to feel itchy later, remove your clothing as soon as you get home and wash them immediately. If that is not possible, seal carefully inside a plastic bag and keep outside (not in your car) until you can.
Look over clothing before trying anything on at a store and wash all new or new-to-you clothing articles prior to wearing.
Until next time!
Photo courtesy of Orkin’s website.