One thing I am asked on a regular basis is how you get bed bugs.
Infestations of bed bugs have been plaguing nations across the globe for thousands of years and for a long time that is how bed bugs were remembered – as pests of the past. However, over the last ten years or so they have returned in huge numbers causing misery and embarrassment to millions. So lets look at how you get bed bugs.
OK, first of all lets dispel the myth that bed bugs only live in establishments which are dirty – WRONG!
It is true to say that in hostels etc. where there are many people living in close proximity and where personal hygiene is not always what it could be bed bugs can and often do prevail. However, many five star hotels and luxury resorts also have their share so be warned!
There are three common ways in which you get bed bugs:-
Bed bugs do not fly but they are capable of travelling fairly large distances both using their own legs and by hitching a ride.
This is the most common factor in how you get bed bugs. Transporting them either in clothing, luggage, laptops – anything – from a location which already has an infestation. Once you reach your own home the bed bugs disembark and look for somewhere to hide out.
Remember, bed bugs do not actually live on their victims. They are nocturnal i.e. they usually only come out at night. During day time they will take cover in various places, anywhere from the folds and creases of your mattress to the electrical sockets in your wall but close enough to allow them access to their nightly meal of human blood.
Bed Bugs On The Move
Secondly, how you get bed bugs without coming into contact with them. Easy they find you! Say you live in an apartment block, semi detached house, or terraced house it is highly possible that if a close neighbor has bed bugs they will find their way into your home too. They hide out in cracks and crevices and can easily find their way through tiny holes in walls and floors. I guess if you are friendly with your neighbor they might also bring some bed bugs to visit in their clothing etc.!
How you get bed bugs from furniture – buy used!
Economic times are tough but unless you can be 100% certain that used furniture is bed bug free DO NOT take it into your home. Inspect anything you may want to purchase closely. Look for any small dark smears or tiny white rice grains, discarded skins even live bugs! Check inside drawers, inside cupboards, around buttons or handles etc. If you find any traces of white powder this may be a sign that the item has been treated for bed bugs in which case I would NOT buy it.
Another thing which some people do is take in furniture which has been dumped in the street – this is how you get bed bugs!. Again, it could be infested, it may have been dumped for that reason! RESIST THE TEMPTATION unless you are willing to spend time and some cash fumigating or treating the items in some other way to protect your property.
Your best defense against bed bugs is to always be vigilant where ever you go, always check hotel rooms etc. thoroughly on arrival and be sure to check your belongings carefully before taking them inside your home on your return.