Imagine you book a hotel room. You arrive, and the toilet is broken. The room stinks of urine, and other human waste and rubbish are spilling out of the bins. The wallpaper is peeling off the walls. Even if the place didn’t smell so bad, you still wouldn’t be able to get a decent night’s sleep because the springs of your mattress are poking through it and digging into your body. Not only that, the bedding is filthy and crawling with bed bugs.
That’s what happened to a group of ladies who booked a room at a hotel in Blackpool. The group had travelled to the popular seaside town for the BTID Pier on the Pier weekender, but when they arrived at the hotel, they found the conditions there awful. No one wants to sleep in a room in that kind of state, whether you’re at home or away. Bed bugs are particularly unwelcome. This article looks at dealing with bed bugs and any other unwanted guest that might want to share your bedding and your home with you.
Just how on Earth do bed bugs get into there in the first place?
These sneaky little insects hide in luggage, bags, and any other items you might place on soft or upholstered surfaces. They can creep from other bug-infested areas into your property and also take a ride in on used furniture. If you have to live in a block of flats or be staying in a hotel, they can transfer throughout the building. Yuk!
They’ll also hide in mattresses, bed frames, furniture, clothes and under loose wallpaper. Their bodies are barely the thickness of a credit card, and they’re only 5 mm long, roughly, which makes them hard to spot (but easier if you keep your furniture clean). They’re yellow or brownish in colour, unless they’ve been feeding on blood (yep, that’s right, blood), in which case their bodies will turn to a reddish colour.
If you notice specks of blood on your bed linen, you may have either crushed a bed bug or, more unpleasantly, been bitten by one. Expect to feel itchy if one does bite you. Brown spots on your bed linen could be bed bug pooh.
How can you prevent them from striking?
Obviously, you don’t want these or any other uninvited guests in your home. There are a number of strategies you can employ to prevent these intruders and other pests from getting into your home or dealing with them if they do.
1 Avoid clutter
Quite apart from the fact that a cluttered home is bad for your mental health, the more clutter you have in your bedroom and other rooms, the easier you make it for pests to make a cosy little home for themselves. Clear out the clutter so that bugs and other nuisances have fewer places to hide, if any. If you have lots of gear and you just can’t bear the thought of parting with it, a bed with storage capacity will help you to keep your room tidy and much more clutter-free.
2 Check second-hand furniture
A second-hand piece of furniture might seem like a terrific deal, but you won’t feel that way if you get it home and find it’s crawling with bed bugs. Before you hand over the cash, give the furniture a quick once-over for signs of any bugs living in them. Bed bugs, dust mites, and carpet beetles could all be inhabiting bedding, mattresses or sofas, as could fleas in the case of the sofa, whereas wooden furniture could be home to woodworm.
Look at the underside of tables and drawers and the back of headboards. Flash a light in the seams and crevices of couches and other items of furniture, where bugs and other nuisance insects like to hide. If you see any, get the vacuum cleaner out and go over the furniture outside or, better still, just don’t buy the furniture item at all.
3 Buy bedding protection
Protectors for mattresses and pillows won’t always stop them from finding their home in your bedding, but it does deprive them of a hiding spot. Not only that, they’ll trap any bugs that are already living on the bedding. These bugs will die of starvation, eventually.
What if it’s too late?
If you’ve discovered bugs or other pests in your home, they might have already set up their home, but you can still do something about it.
1 Call a pest control service
You can cut straight to the chase and call a pest control company, or if they offer a pest control service, the local council. They’ll deal with a variety of pests and bugs, such as bed bugs, mice, rats and wasps, and will have the know-how and the equipment to address the problem the best way possible.
If you suspect you have bed bugs, and even if you haven’t, vacuum all your bedding and your furniture. Don’t forget about all those nooks and crannies in the furniture. A good hoover up will remove any bugs that have successfully set up camp in your bedding or other parts of your furniture.
3 Wash your bedding
This is a no-brainer. Despite hiding in the nice, warm confines of your bedding and other parts of your furniture, bed bugs can’t withstand too much heat. Pop your bedding, linen, curtains, etc. into the washing machine and turn the temperature up to 60ºC. Then dry them on the hottest setting, too. The bugs won’t be able to handle it.
4 Seal up cracks and crevices
It’s especially important to seal up any cracks or crevices that allow pests access to your property and rooms. If you’ve managed to rid your home of bugs and other unwanted residents, seal cracks and crevices as much as possible and where it is safe to do so, to stop them getting back in. This could be loose wallpaper, gaps around light sockets, piping, below doors, etc. Don’t make it easy for them to return.
No one wants to sleep in a bed full of bed bugs, sit on a couch infested with them or live in a home where they’re present. It’s an inconvenience, to say the least, to have to get rid of them, so take pre-emptive measures and, if the critters do strike, attack them with the follow-up courses of action above and get back to having a clean, critter-free home.