Note: We first posted this in April of 2011. Since then, it’s been one of our most popular blog posts. Though the hype has died down somewhat, the threat is still out there, so we’re reposting this as a refresher course for our readers. Read this post before you travel to arm yourself against these nasty little creatures.
Bed bugs have been stirring up quite the controversy within the last year, and their
presence is unfortunately more copious than any of us are comfortable with. Hotel
guests are taking precautions to not take any unwanted souvenirs with them, and home
owners are getting paranoid with each surfaced bite. It is important that we all know how
to properly prevent, identify and exterminate these pesky pests.
Bed bugs are small non-ﬂying insects about the size of ticks. They are reddish brown in
color and thrive off of human and animal blood. Bed bugs can hide in all areas of the
home and tend to reside in cracks and other hidden places such as inside box springs,
behind picture frames and even in popcorn-style ceilings. They earn their names by
concentrating in areas where people sleep and feasting on their blood as they sleep.
The face, neck, hands and arms are common feeding spots of bed bugs. The most
common sign of their bites are small bumps that are sometimes red, swollen and itchy,
much like mosquito bites. A distinguishing factor of bed bug bites is that they are often
lined up in a row. Bed bugs tend to leave dark fecal spots on bedsheets, which is also a
The removal of bed bugs can be a difﬁcult process and usually requires the help of a
professional. For extermination, pest-control experts use sprays, dusts and aerosol
insecticidies, which must be applied in all areas where the bugs can hide. Mattresses
sometimes need to be disinfected or discarded. Mattress, pillow and box spring
encasements can be used trap the bugs with no way of escaping.
Prevention tactics are recommended for all home owners and hotel guests and are
worth not ever having to go through the grueling process of getting rid of bed bugs. In
the mornings open the windows and throw back the sheets because bed bugs do not
like light or fresh air. Change your sheets weekly and wash them immediately using the
hottest water and heat settings. After checking in to a hotel, examine the room for signs
of bed bugs by checking the sheets for stains and lifting the furniture to check hiding
places. Keep all luggage or personal items elevated on racks aways from carpets and
beds. Examine all personal belongings before checking out to ensure you wonʼt bring
any pests into your home.