People expect inconsistency. We figure things will fluctuate: the stock market will go up and down, the weather will get colder, then hotter. And because we focus on these changes, we often overlook trends.
Let’s look at bed bugs. You might say the proliferation of these pests in the past few years will eventually pass, but the facts don’t support this theory. According to a 2013 survey of pest control professionals, 99.6 percent of the companies questioned had handled a bed bug infestation in the previous 12 months, up from 99 percent in 2011 and 95 percent in 2010.
Despite these numbers, you may think that your home or business isn’t susceptible to a bed bug infestation.
But sometimes bed bug problems have nothing to do with you. The people that visit or stay at your home or business bring their own cleaning habits with them. Luggage that hasn’t been thoroughly cleaned or checked can transport bugs into a home. And while your visitors might frown on you inspecting their bags, you can try to clean their rooms after they’ve gone to prevent a bed bug invasion.
If you’re a traveler, unpack your suitcase downstairs when you get home and clean it. Take every item out and wash and dry it before bringing any clothes or your suitcase back into your bedroom.
Here are three other ways that you can reduce the chances of a bed bug infestation at your home or business.
1. Check your laundry.
People tend not to think about carrying bugs on their clothing, but they should. Bed bugs are small insects and adept at hiding. It’s easy to overlook several bed bugs tucked in a pocket of your jeans or in the pouch of a sweatshirt.
2. Focus your cleaning efforts around the mattress.
Ideally you should be cleaning every inch of your home or business, but laziness creeps in sometimes, leaving some areas untouched. Cleaning the area around your mattress means decreasing a bed bug’s chances of going unnoticed.
3. Purchase a bed bug mattress encasement.
This is the most effective way to prevent bed bugs from becoming an issue at your home or business. Mattress encasements trap and kill bed bugs and their eggs by cutting them off from food and water. They are easy to install, affordable, and – if you pick a breathable, technical fabric – comfortable to sleep on. The best bed bug encasements are made out of rip-proof fabrics and have large zippers.
It’s also important to know how to spot bed bugs. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the most effective way to find an infestation is to hunt for physical signs of the bugs:
- Check for rusty or reddish stains on sheets or mattresses, caused by bed bugs being squashed.
- Keep an eye out for small spots, which are bed bug excrement and could bleed into the fabric the same way a marker would.
- Look for eggs, egg shells and the pale yellow skins the young bed bug nymphs shed as they get older.
- Search for bed bugs themselves. They are light brown or reddish brown about .16 to .2 inches long, flat and oval-shaped.
Bed bug infestations may be on the rise nationwide, but that doesn’t mean your home or establishment needs to become part of the trend.
Visit the category bed bug protection on the InnStyle website to view bed bug statistics and other products available in bed bug protection.