The holiday season is upon us and tis the season by celebrating with friends and family. It’s a wonderful time of the year, as long as you don’t bring any unwanted guests home.
Bed bug infestations are on the rise due to increased travel during the holidays. However, there are a few simple steps to follow that can reduce the risk of encountering bed bugs during your festivities and travel.
Holiday Party Tips
If you are having a party and are worried about bed bugs, here are some simple steps to take:
- Do not put your guests’ coats or bags on your beds. There may be bed bugs on these items and they could move from these items onto your bed.
- Clean out your front closet and use it for guests’ coats and bags during the party. If you are worried about bed bugs you can vacuum the closet after the party to reduce the risks. If you use a vacuum to capture bed bugs, seal and dispose of the vacuum bag as soon as you are done.
- While it is unlikely that bed bugs will be on shoes, you should place shoes on a plastic mat near the door as an extra precaution. Bed bugs have a hard time traveling on plastic and the mat can be washed with hot soapy water.
If a visitor is coming to stay and you know they had (or have) bed bugs in their home, there are precautions that you can take to reduce the risk of bed bugs coming into your home. Remember that people do not usually carry bed bugs on their bodies, but bed bugs will sometimes hitch a ride on clothes that people are wearing. However, bed bugs are more likely to be on personal belongings, such as bags, purses, luggage, wheelchairs, etc.
You can take these precautions to reduce the chance of bed bugs entering your home:
- When overnight guests arrive at your home be prepared to immediately:
- Ask your visitor to change into clean clothes.
- Launder all their clothing and dry on high heat for at least 30-45 minutes.
- Place suitcase/bags into a plastic box or large plastic bag which can be tied shut.
- Wipe shoes with a damp cloth and hot water (not hotter than 120°F), or if possible place them in a dryer. Some dryers have shoe racks designed for this purpose.
- Use a bed bug mattress encasement on the guest bed(s).
- If your guests will be sleeping on a couch place a sheet (white if possible) over the couch, this sheet can then be laundered and the couch vacuumed thoroughly.
- If your visitor is bringing gifts and you are worried about bed bugs on these gifts after the gift is opened:
- Launder any clothing or textiles.
- Wipe down plastic or wood items with a hot, damp cloth.
- Immediately throw away boxes and wrapped in a sealed plastic bag.
If you are going to stay with friends or family who has been dealing with a bed bug infestation, you can reduce the risk of bringing bed bugs home by:
- If you are traveling using public transportation, carefully inspect the seat and area around you. Bed bugs are commonly found on airplanes, buses, trains, etc.
- Use preventative measures such as mattress encasements and bed bug protection spray on the bed you will be using or ask your host to do so.
- Not putting your suitcase, clothing, or other personal items on the bed. If possible keep these items distant from the bed.
- Bring a couple of large plastic bags and store your suitcases inside the bags.
- After returning home, immediately launder your clothing, or seal it in a plastic bag until you are able to do so.
If you feel as though you may have a bed bug infestation and would like to talk to one of our knowledgeable experts, please feel free to contact us at (813) 922-8475 so that we can help answer your questions and discuss the entire heat treatment process and options available to you.
Bed bugs are not your average household pest. They are extremely hard to fight on your own and it’s highly recommended to let a professional bed bug exterminator help you.
Most importantly, enjoy the holiday season, and don’t let bed bugs ruin your fun! The risk of becoming infested by bed bugs is greatly reduced just by following a few simple precautionary measures.