Bed bugs have rapidly been on the rise in recent years. As bed bugs become more relevant in areas of Northern Michigan, especially Traverse City, Manistee, Benzie, Lake Leelanau, Cadillac, Charlevoix and Petoskey, it’s important to know what signs to look for if you think you may have an infestation of bed bugs in your home and what to do in order to prevent them. Hogarth’s Pest Control is a local, trusted expert on both prevention and eradication of your home or commercial property. Hogarth’s has been on the forefront of learning the newest techniques for bed bug treatments and prevention tactics. Our technicians recently attended the National Pest Management Association meeting and listened to a very educational talk by Dini Miller, Ph.D., from the Virginia Polytechnic and State University in Blacksburg, VA. Here are our top takeaways and some great tips for prevention from Dr. Miller’s talk.
1. Always inspect the hotel rooms you are staying in, whether it be a 1-star or 5-star hotel. Bring a flashlight to check behind the headboard (if possible), along with the boxspring and mattress. If there are indeed bed bugs, you will notice small black stains (fecal matter), or bed bugs themselves. Bed bugs will always be within two feet of their host, and are round, reddish bugs about the size of an apple seed. If you see signs of bed bugs, be sure to gather your belongings and ask for another room. Be sure to inspect other rooms as well, even though the chances of other rooms being infested is usually low.
2. Never leave clothes and suitcases on hotel room floors or in dresser drawers. Bed bugs do not discriminate; as long as they have a food source and are not properly treated, bed bugs can travel from hotels to your home in your luggage and on your clothing. Bring garbage bags to secure clothes if needed.
3. Upon returning home, put clothes in the dryer on high heat. Bed bugs and their eggs will die at a temperature of 120 degrees. Freezing will not work because it’s unlikely the clothes will become cold enough to kill the bugs. If you have any indication bed bugs may have traveled home with you, vacuum out suitcase, treat with an over-the-counter bed bug treatment, and place suitcase in a plastic garbage bag and tie with a double knot.
When already infested with bed bugs:
1. DO NOT move beds and boxsprings away from their current location, ie. do not move to other rooms of the house or into a garage or basement! This can cause the bed bugs to spread to different areas of the home, making eradication that much more difficult. Throwing away beds and boxsprings will not get rid of the problem, either. We highly recommend keeping all furniture and having it properly treated by a professional to properly eradicate the problem.
2. Dry any clothing in the room on high heat. When finished, put clothes in a plastic garbage bag tied with a double knot.
3. Avoid using any over-the-counter bed bug treatments. We find that customers who’ve attempted to treat for bed bugs themselves only drive bed bugs deeper into the walls and under carpeting, making it that much harder to properly eradicate them. Vacuuming can be a good practice as long as the vacuum is cleaned and the bag is discarded after use.
4. Call Hogarth’s Pest Control to eradicate the bed bugs. Eradication cannot be done without professional treatment, and bed bugs will only continue to multiply the longer they are left untreated. Treatments must be performed a minimum of 3 times. It is crucial for the homeowner to follow all guidelines set forth by the technician in order to properly treat the issue at hand.