Before 1940 bed bugs were a fact of life for many people. Fumigating with sulfur candles was the standard treatment for an infestation.
“Don’t let the bed bugs bite” was said as a reality and not only said jestingly. The use of DDT after World War II almost eradicated them.
Due to environmental concerns, DDT is no longer used in our country and bedbugs have developed very strong resistance to legal pesticides.
A USA Today article says,”The offspring of two bedbugs that move into an office in September can produce more than 300 bugs and lay about 1,000 additional eggs by January.
” Due to a resurgence, bed bugs are now reported in 50 states. Many home infestations begin by sleeping in an infested hotel or motel room.
They can be found in the most expensive hotels. You may wish to read the article by this author, “Years Ago, the Treatment for Bed Bugs was Burning Sulfur Candles.”
Traveling is Probably the Most Likely Source of Infestation
When you are traveling, the first thing you need to do upon entering the hotel or motel room is to check it for bed bugs.
If you find telltale signs, refuse to sleep in the room and demand another room. It should not be near the infested room as bedbugs travel to adjoining rooms.
If no other room is available, demand a refund and go to another hotel. Personally I would prefer another hotel anyway.
Bed Bug Nymphs are the Size of a Pinhead
“Adult bed bugs are about 3/16-inch long and reddish-brown, with oval, flattened bodies.” “Newly hatched nymphs are straw-colored and no bigger than a pinhead.
” The seams along the edges of the covering of the mattress and box springs should checked for bedbugs or signs of their presence.
This information is according to a University of Kentucky article. If a bed has been infested for a considerable time, their could be dark spots or areas caused by their excrement, on the mattress or box springs.
Bed bugs shed their skins 5 times while maturing. These skins may be visible also. I suggest you read the article and observe the color photos of bed bugs and the signs of infestation. The photos are very helpful.
Bed Bugs Usually Hide in the Daytime and Come out at Night to Feed on You
The bed bugs could be hiding in other areas such as cracks or crevices on the baseboards, but since they like to be near their food supply, the bed is the most likely area of infestation and is more likely to show visible signs.
Look for the live bugs, even if no other signs are found, because a new infestation may not have had sufficient time to produce many of the other signs.
The article gives useful practices such as placing “suitcases off the floor on a luggage stand, tabletop or other hard surface.
“If you wake up in the morning with a series of bites, which would likely indicate there were bed bugs in the room that you missed, care must be taken to avoid contaminating your home.
Upon arriving home, place all clothing in plastic trash bags and dump it directly into the washer, taking care not to let any bugs escape in the house.
Dispose of the empty bags. Wash in hot water and dry on medium or high. It takes at least 120 degrees heat to kill the bugs and eggs. Other sources say 130 degrees.
Heat or Cold Can Kill Bed Bugs
The University of Kentucky article also says placing items in a closed car on a hot day, when the interior temperature reaches at least 120 degrees for a whole day, will kill the bugs.
That should also take care of any bugs hitch-hiking in your car. They suggest considering treating or disposing of your suitcases, but it appears to me they could also be debugged in the hot car.
Of course the weather would need to be hot enough to produce an interior temperature of at least 120 degrees. If the weather is cold, I would consider storing the suitcases inside tightly sealed plastic bags, at a location outside your home.
According to the article, winter storage in an unheated building where the temperature would be below 32 degrees for several days, would also kill the bugs.
Treating the suitcase would presumably be done with insecticides. Since the bed bugs now have great resistance to insecticides, the treatment may not be effective. Personally, I would try the heat or cold alternatives since I resist discarding items.
You may consider all these precautions unnecessary or downright silly. Only you can decide how much your peace of mind is worth.
Disclaimer: I am not a pest control professional or professional counselor of any kind. This article is for informational purposes only.
It is not the purpose of this article to give professional advice. I am only relating my opinions and experiences and my opinions could be wrong.
Any actions you take or do not take as a result of reading this article, you take at your own risk. Always seek advice from a doctor or health care professional before making any health care decisions and a pest control professional before making any pest control decisions.
Laura Petrecca/“More Offices See Bedbug Infestations“/USA TODAY
Michael F. Potter/”Bedbugs”/University of Kentucky Agriculture