What Do You Bring Home From The Holidays?
You packed the family into the minivan. You traveled more miles than you care to remember. You spent time visiting relatives, slept in a bed that wasn't your own, and now you're home again. What did you bring back with you? Memories of laughing around the dinner table? Leftover pies, cakes, cookies, and turkey? Some photos to add to your ever-growing collection? But, if you weren't careful, you may have brought back something you didn't want to bring back. Around Thanksgiving, and other holidays that cause us to travel, is when bed bugs spread most. The best way to protect yourself and your family is to recognize the signs when you travel.
Signs are important. They tell you things so that you don't end up getting into a bad situation, like realizing you're in the bathroom for the opposite sex or finding yourself in a neighborhood where none of the cars on the side of the road have wheels and everyone looks like they want to hurt you. Finding signs for bed bugs can do the same thing. They will protect you from getting bites while on your holiday travels, but, more importantly, they will keep those bugs from hitchhiking home with you.
Here are the signs of bed bugs:
Bed signs. The most obvious place to look for bed bug signs is on the bed you'll be sleeping on while on vacation. Examine sheets for dried blood stains, black smears from feces, brown staining from urine, shed insect skins, and the bed bugs themselves. Look closely. Bed bugs can be as small as the tip of a pen in early larvae stages.
Signs around the bed. Bed bugs don't just infest mattresses. They can be found in upholstered furniture, electronics, behind baseboards, in headboards, and in other areas of a room. Inspect any room you intend to stay in. Look for black fecal evidence dripping down from outlet holes, stuck on the side of backboards, on the wall near baseboards, and on alarm clocks and television sets. Bed bugs have a nasty habit of leaving their droppings wherever they travel. You can also look for shed insect skins on upholstery and in stitched seams.
Signs on the way to your room. Bed bugs don't just live in hotels, motels, and resorts. They can be found infesting upholstered seats in buses, planes, and taxis. If you use any of these forms of transportation on your trip, be sure to look for feces, urine staining, shed skins, and these bugs. Use the light from your cell phone as a flashlight and do a quick inspection of stitching and seams.
If you have been diligent on your holiday trip and made an effort to look for signs, you shouldn't have to worry about a bed bug infestation three months after your holiday trip; but if you did not look for the signs and you want to make sure you didn't bring these bugs home with you, we can help.
At Schendel, we have bed-bug-sniffing dogs that are able to detect these blood-eating bugs before they can even hatch from their eggs. That means we can find and stop bed bugs before they bite; and, more importantly, before a heat treatment is needed.
Stay safe this holiday season. Know the signs of bed bugs.