How to help clients avoid bed bug issues after a vacation

dead bed bug lying on the groundThe Exacticide electric duster is the best tool in the U.S. to solve bed bug issues. But clients who call in pest control specialists to deal with bed bug issues typically want to know how to prevent bed bugs and avoid having to exterminate bed bugs in the future.

Winter is the season when we value our beds most—and it’s not the time we want to think about bed bug issues. Because winter is also the time when people travel most to warmer climes, it’s the season when people are most likely to bring bed bugs home with them. Here are some tips you can pass on to clients so they can avoid importing bed bugs when they return from vacations.

One of the reasons that bed bug issues are increasing in the U.S. is that they’re so difficult to see. They are experts at hiding in small, dark cracks and crevices. Bed bugs shun light, which means they’ll hide in seams and folds of clothing, sheets and blankets.

Identifying them is the first step to eradicating them. They are very small, from 1/4- to 3/8-in. long. They are a light-brown to reddish-brown color that blends into the background easily. Young bedbugs can be almost colorless.

Bed bugs feed on blood, and after a blood meal, their color changes from brown to purplish-red. They also get bigger. They are swollen with blood and might even look like a different insect.

Clients also report finding cast skins, which are the disused shells they shed as they grow from infant to adult. Bed bugs leave behind fecal spots, dark dots made of digested blood that are often the first indication of an infestation.

Importing bed bug issues

One of the main paths bed bugs use to enter a home is hitchhiking in the clothes and luggage of people returning from vacation. There has been an epidemic of bed bugs in hotels around the world. Bed bugs will hide in sleepwear and crawl into luggage.

Advise clients to keep their luggage closed as much as possible when traveling to prevent bed bugs from getting inside. If they suspect they’ve been infested with bed bugs, they should inspect their clothing carefully. They need to pay special attention to seams and folds.

They also need to carefully inspect their luggage, checking all cracks and hidden spaces. If they find bed bugs in their clothes or suspect they have, they should isolate the suspected items in plastic bags.

Dealing with bed bug issues

Some people want to throw out, or even burn, clothes or bedding when they discover bed bugs. But this isn't necessary. Getting rid of bed bugs and bed bug issues can be accomplished by cleaning the affected items.

A good tip is to handle and inspect any items that might be infested over a tile floor or another type of smooth floor rather than over a carpet. As you brush bed bugs from the suspect items, this will force them to travel some distance before finding a new place to hide. Wetting an area of the floor with a cloth will help confine any escaping bed bugs.

Wash infested clothing or bedding at the hottest setting for the fabric.

Keep items that need dry-cleaning in plastic bags, and tell the dry-cleaning staff there might be bed bugs in the items you bring so they don’t inadvertently spread bed bugs to other customers. Hand-wash luggage and other items that cannot be machine-washed. Wash with soapy water as hot as you can tolerate. Use a scrub brush along seams and folds.

Heat and cold

Two other approaches for items that cannot be washed or easily washed are to heat or freeze them. If you can, heat the items to at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit for at least two hours. You can also freeze the items to at least 23 degrees Fahrenheit for five days.

Ridding the house of bed bugs

Clients can do much to rid their clothing, bedding and other items of bed bugs, but clearing an infested house of all bed bugs requires a professional with professional tools such as the Exacticide electric duster. Approach bed bug issues with a professional attitude and equipment, and arm clients with knowledge so they can avoid them in the future. For more tools you can use to manage around these bugs, view our Bed Bug Bundle Deal to get the most for your money.

Jim Harper
Jim Harper


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