How to Keep Bed Bugs Out of Your Home
The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) just conducted a comprehensive study on the consumer's knowledge and perceptions of bed bugs. Did you know 1 in every 5 Americans either have had bed bugs, or know someone who has had bed bugs? The bad news is bed bugs are here and unfortunately the number of reported cases is growing. The good news is bed bugs do not spread or transmit diseases.
What is a bed bug?
Bed bugs have several stages of growth from eggs to adults. The eggs are extremely small and very hard to see. The adult bed bugs are what most people will encounter and are small (about ¼") reddish-brown insects resembling a dog tick.
Bed bugs have been found just about everywhere from 5-star hotels, movie theaters, retail stores, office buildings, and residential homes. Cleanliness does not have anything to do with who does and does not get bed bugs (of course the more clutter and dirt the harder it is to treat).
Bed bugs are notorious hitchhikers and most people unsuspectingly bring bed bugs into their environments in luggage, or rental/2nd hand furniture or clothing. They are nocturnal creatures and are attracted by the gasses you exhale while sleeping. They feed on the blood of humans and can go for several days, weeks, and even months between blood meals, hiding in tiny cracks and crevices between meals.
How do I know if I have bed bugs?
The only way to know if you have bed bugs is to see the actual bugs. For most people, the first indication can be the itchy red welts caused by bed bug bites. Don't assume all bites or red marks on your skin are bed bug bites. There are many other causes of bites or red marks.
Small dark spots (or staining) on the mattress, box spring or sheets caused by bed bug excrement are another indication. If you suspect you may have bed bugs, call us and we can send out one of our trained professionals to conduct a thorough inspection.
Bed Bug Control
First of all, don't panic. If you suspect you have bed bugs call us. Trying to control them yourself, while tempting, can result in spreading the infestation. Most over the counter pest control products are not designed to treat bed bugs.
A trained professional (PMP) may use a variety of treatment methods such as specially formulated pesticides, steam, vacuuming, heat, and special monitoring devices. But no matter what the methods used, the key to effective treatment is cooperation between the customer and the PMP.
Follow any preparation or special instructions provided, reduce clutter, and install hypoallergenic mattress and box spring encasements. A series of treatments spaced approximately 2 to 3 weeks apart is recommended with the first treatment being the most thorough. All of Kirchner Brothers technicians are fully trained in bed bug control and the treatment of bed bugs.
So how do I keep bed bugs out of my home?
A few simple common-sense rules can help increase your chances of keeping bed bugs out of your house.
Resist the urge to pick up that "free" sofa, mattress, or chair sitting at the curb. If you do buy used or second-hand furniture thoroughly inspect all furniture and ask what the store's policy is concerning bed bugs. If you buy second-hand clothing, inspect it and immediately wash and dry it before wearing or hanging in your closet.
When checking into a hotel room never put your luggage or belongings directly on the bed. If possible leave your luggage outside until you have done a thorough inspection of the bed. Pull back the sheets and inspect the mattress and boxspring paying attention to the seams and roping along the edges, lift up the mattress and check between the mattress and boxspring. Look for the actual insects or "staining".
If possible check behind pictures, mirrors, and the headboard. Immediately report anything suspicious to management. When you have satisfied yourself that there are no signs of bed bugs, bring your luggage in and place it on the luggage rack (which you should have thoroughly inspected). Keep this rack located toward the foyer area of the room and away from the bed.
Learn more about bed bugs
You can learn even more about bed bugs and how to keep them out of your home by reviewing these resources:
If you've scheduled a bed bug treatment, read this document to make sure you're fully prepared.
Preparation for Bed Bug Treatment
If your bed bug infestation has gotten out of control just call: (717) 394-8838