The word “bed bug” makes a person’s skin crawl just hearing it. The thought of tiny blood-sucking parasites coming out of the shadows in order to prey upon you while you sleep is a thought that no one wants to become a reality. However, the reality is that bed bugs are living in every state, and can be found in every city or town in America. And, here in Myrtle Beach and along the Grand Strand, we are seeing more and more cases of bed bugs each and every year. Bed bugs are usually found in apartments, condominiums, single family homes, and hotels, but they can also lurk in nursing homes, movie theaters, cruise ships, day care centers, schools, and more.
Here are 5 Tips to Avoid a Bed Bug Infestation in Your Home:
1. Cleanliness does not automatically mean that you are immune to Bed Bugs. Bed Bugs are found in the nicest resorts and homes. However, clutter gives them more places to hide. Declutter and dust areas of your home which contain couches, chairs, beds, and nightstands.
2. When traveling, inspect hotel beds in their entirety, from top to bottom, front and back. Look for traces of blood or feces on sheets. Look at the cracks and crevices between the bed frame, headboard, and footboard. Lift the mattress and inspect the box spring. Never place your suitcase on the bed in a hotel. Instead, make sure to place luggage on a luggage rack away from furniture, so there is less of a chance that a bed bug could hitch a ride home with you.
3. When returning from travel, immediately wash and dry all clothes on high heat. Quarantine your luggage from areas of furniture in the home, and examine them thoroughly.
4. Avoid picking up furniture, mattresses, or bedding left discarded on the side of the road or near a dumpster. And, if you should experience an infestation, avoid placing your furniture, mattresses, or bedding near the roadside trash, so others have less risk of becoming infested. Plenty of people look for used treasures in dumpsters and the like, so avoid the possibility of an infestation by leaving those items in or at the dump.
5. When sending your children to school, daycare, or sleepovers, teach them to inspect articles of clothing or bedding, and warn them not to share blankets, pillows, and clothing with other children.
A bed bug is small, but easily identifiable. They do not fly or jump, but they will travel up to 100 feet for a meal, so if you see what appears to be a traveling “apple seed” in areas with bedding or couches, you are probably looking at a bed bug. The best way to avoid an infestation is to be aware of your surroundings, and be sure to inspect unfamiliar areas that might make good homes for bed bugs.