Debunking the myths & mystique of bed bugs report – Part 2
More important information for protecting yourself and your family
From the scourge of a beg bug infestation…
Before we get started on Part 2, here’s a quick recap of Part 1 of our 3-part bed bug report…
• We discussed the growing issue of bed bugs as they have begun to infest our
South Jersey, Jersey Shore, Philadelphia and Southeastern Pennsylvania
areas more and more
• We discussed why the bed bug population is increasing, and also covered the biology
and ecology of these irritating pests
• We covered the potential health risks posed by bed bugs.
In this second of our 3-part report, we’re going to cover…
• How bed bugs can get into your home
• How you can help prevent them settling in
• And finally, we’ll look at the stigma of bed bugs that often times leave home and property
owners with uneasy, even embarrassed feelings.
How did I get a bed bug infestation?
Bed bugs typically tag along from place to place as people travel.
Here are a few things to consider…
• Have you stayed in a hotel recently?
• Have you visited a friend?
• Have friends or family visited you?
• Have your kids have spent the night at a friend’s or family member’s home?
• Have you traveled domestically or overseas recently?
It’s quite possible these nasty little ‘hitchhikers’ used one (or more) of the above to find their way into your home.
Most folks don’t realize how easily they can transport bed bugs.
Bed bugs love to hide – and hide they will!
They’ll inch their way into the seams and cracks of your suitcases and/or duffle bags. They’ll find their way into the folds of your clothes, holes in your shoes, just about anywhere they can hide.
Travel, overnight stays, or guests in the home aren’t the only ways you can bring an infestation home. How about…
• College dorms
• School lockers
• The subway/train/airplanes/buses/taxis, etc.
• Second-hand (used) furniture, mattresses, clothing
… to name just a few…
Early one morning last week, my parents bought a new mattress, and put their old one out at the curb for the weekly garbage pick-up.
Even though Dad hoped to make it unusable by slashing it, someone had already picked it up before they’d left for work that morning – but, it wasn’t the garbage truck….
Granted, my parents didn’t dump their old mattress because it was full of bed bugs… it was just worn out.
But no one else would know that.
What if there’d actually been bed bugs in that mattress?
In no time a new breakout would have occured – and that’s really how easily it can happen.
The reality is – these things are happening, and bed bugs are spreading – because people aren’t taking the necessary precautions to prevent them, or more importantly to prevent them from spreading.
Time for our crash course on preventing bed bugs…
Fact – Bed bugs can hitch a ride on just about anything we bring into our homes or buildings, like bedding, boxes, bags, luggage, clothing, guests etc.
Question – Are you going to stop…
• Inviting friends & relatives to visit?
• Visiting them?
• Buying & refurbishing that old furniture you just love getting your hands on?
We sure hope not!
Bed bugs are a BIG time annoyance!
But, we shouldn’t let them dictate our lives…
And that’s why we’re sharing a few preventative measures to help you live your life the way you want to.
When staying in hotels…
• Never put your luggage or clothing directly on the floor, the bedding, or the drawers the
hotel provides. Instead, use luggage racks when unpacking and hang your clothes in the
• Always check the mattress and the headboard first thing. Pack a small flashlight in case the
lighting isn’t great. LED flashlights are inexpensive and are now made compact for travel.
• Look for signs of infestation – yes, we know, not a nice thing to imagine, but this is the
reality – watch for small circular blood stains, bed bug carcasses, even live bed bugs
Some good news… some hotels are introducing mattress protection covers for bed bugs – but
it’s still a good idea to have a good look.
• Ask the hotel check-in staff if they’ve had bed bug problems, how recently they’ve had
them, has the problem been dealt with, when the treatment work was done, and who
did the work.
For a list of hotels that have had issues with bed bigs, visit – www.BedBugRegistry.com.
• When you get home, we suggest you check the outside of your suitcases (even your carry-ons)
before bringing them inside. Consider unpacking them in your garage, putting the contents in
a plastic trash bag to carry them to your dryer, and then putting the contents in your drying,
running it on high heat for at least 20 minutes (heat kills all stages of bed bugs).
While the dryer is doing its work, is a great time to check the insides your empty luggage for
any evidence of bed bugs.
Other things you can do…
• If you buy/acquire any second-hand furniture, beds, couches, etc., be sure to check for any sign
of bed bug infestation – as described above – before bringing them into your home.
And, in case we haven’t already made the point – we strongly encourage you not to retrieve
items others have left at their curbside – and definitely do not bring them into your home.
• Reduce all those cluttering ‘thingies’ in your home. Sort through and get rid of the content of
those old cardboard boxes full of stuff (and anything else that could be a nice little hiding place
for bed bugs), then use plastic storage bins with tight-fitting lids for anything that survives your
• To keep dust mites and bed bugs from getting into the guts of your beds, buy protective covers
specifically designed to keep them out of your mattresses, box springs, and pillows. Look
them over regularly for small holes or signs of infestation. Be sure to wash them every week
or two on the hottest wash cycle, and then dry them at the highest possible temperature for
at least 20 minutes.
It’s a good idea to give your kid’s school bags/gym bags a good inspection once every
week or so, too.
When helping your son or daughter move into his/her college dorm, be sure to check the mattress & box springs, and buy protective covers (as we described above) for the mattress, box springs, and pillows, too.
The good, the bad, the ugly – the social stigma of having bed bugs…
We hope you’ll embrace and implement these preventive measures… but even if you do, it’s possible you’ll still find your home is infested.
And if it happens, you might have to prepare for the worst…
There are beliefs and even social stigmas related to bed bugs… and, they’re not likely to change any time soon. So, let’s not beat around the bush here – I’m gonna’ give it to you straight…
Some of these beliefs/stigmas about bed bugs are myths…
Myth – If you have bed bugs it means you’re dirty, and that you’ve got a dirty home, too.
Myth – Bed bugs target the poor, the filthy, and the foreign?
Truth – Bed bugs show no preference for those of lower socio-economic status, or dirty living environments.
The facts don’t lie – bed bugs feed on humans – all humans. They don’t care about your nationality, what kind of house you live in, how clean you keep it, or how much money you make. They like people, all kinds of people. Bed bugs don’t judge, and neither should anyone else.
So, if one of your neighbors has a bed bug infestation, we suggest you not take on a ‘holier than thou’ attitude… after all, your home could be next.
And then there are those that started with irrational fear
And can get a little controversial, even out of control…
Someone who hasn’t had a bed bug problem might think something along the lines of…
“My Aunt Cindy had a bed bug infestation 3 months ago.
I haven’t visited her since – would you? I don’t want to catch bed bugs. It was gross!
I could bring them back to my home.
I was going to leave a note in her mailbox, but I didn’t want to go near her house…
What if they hopped onto my clothes?”
Admittedly, knowing someone has, or has had a bed bug problem can be a little scary. And visiting their home might not be too appealing, especially right after an outbreak.
But remember – just because Aunt Cindy experienced a bed bug infestation, it doesn’t make her a leper! You don’t need to go all ‘ET Phone Home’ on her. Take precautions and visit when you’re ready. In the meantime – try not to make her feel worse than she probably already does.
Someone who has, or has experienced a bed bug problem might feel something along the lines of…
“We had a bed bug infestation a couple of months ago,
so we hired a professional, trustworthy pest control company and they completed two treatments.
We asked them to do an inspection to make sure things were okay, and we haven’t had a problem since.
The thought the bed bugs might come back is making it hard to sleep, and I’m anxious all the time.
I started seeing a psychiatrist when only a handful of our closest friends and family
showed up for my daughter’s birthday party.
I’m beginning to think there’s something wrong with me.
All the neighbors look at me funny. I just want to scream…”
Bed bug infestations can be emotionally tough. You could start playing mind games with yourself, and might suffer from insomnia, even anxiety. But, the good news is… you’re not going crazy, although it can be an issue that makes you paranoid.
Some folks might avoid telling friends who visit frequently, for fear they’ll stop coming (maybe that’s not such a bad thing?). You’ll need to decide whether to tell people about it, and you choose to, it might be a good idea to give them all the details.
Something to think about – if you give friends and family all the facts, and they know how you handled the situation, they might feel more comfortable. Give them a status update, or tell them about the pest control company you hired and their treatment strategy.
Telling them how you feel about your frustrations, anxieties, and fears could make them more likely to be more compassionate and understanding about what you’re actually going through.
Talking about the issue might give you more confidence, too.
Like it or not folks, these are all social realities of the bed bug issue. Ultimately, you’ll need to decide how you want to deal with it, but it’s important to get a ‘heads-up’ of what’s out there and to understand the challenges others have had to dealt with concerning bed bugs.
Suspect you have a bed bug infestation, and wondering if you can just take care of it yourself?”
If you suspect you’ve already got an infestation, we don’t recommend trying to deal with it as a do-it-yourself project.
Why it that?
Stay tuned for Part 3 of our bed bug report – when we’ll cover how to detect bed bug infestations, and what can be done to get rid of them, as well as all the valid reasons you shouldn’t consider trying to deal with your bed bugs as a DiY project. You should call an exterminator.
We’re ready and standing by to help.
And we’re dedicated to providing you healthier living…