Another Arkansas Spring is officially here, and we can soon look forward to longer days, warmer weather, and outdoor activities. This is also the time when insects come out of hibernation, and become unwanted guests at those activities. When we go outside, we need to arm ourselves with bug spray to protect us from mosquitoes and ticks. At home, we need to clean kitchen counters to avoid infestations of ants, and make sure that window screens and storm doors are secure to keep flies and moths outside where they belong.
Another household problem affecting an increasing number of Arkansans is bed bugs. Treatment for bed bugs is most effective if the infestation is detected early. Bed bugs pose no known risk of disease, but are definitely a nuisance. It is challenging to detect bed bugs, and equally challenging to get rid of bed bugs. But there are a few things that you can do right away to protect yourself:
1 Know your enemy. Bed bugs are parasitic creatures approximately 1/4″ in size, that prefer human blood, but also feed on pets. They nest close to where people sleep, and are particularly prevalent in places where large amounts of people sleep, like hotels, dormitories, and apartment complexes. Bed bugs are not easily spotted, and people often learn that they have an infestation only after they have been bitten, or if they detect stains on their bedding or furniture. People who are bitten might not show symptoms for up to 14 days. Unlike many other insects, cleanliness has no effect on the likelihood of an infestation.
2 Inspect hotel rooms when traveling, and inspect luggage after you return home. People who travel frequently are particularly susceptible to bringing bedbugs home with them. Make sure to inspect the sheets and mattresses of any bed you sleep in for evidence of bedbugs. A luxury hotel is no less likely to have bed bugs than a cheap motel. Check the crevices in your luggage before unpacking.
3 Inspect anything that you bring into your home. Second-hand clothing should be washed before wearing, and second-hand furniture (or, for that matter, new furniture) should be checked before bringing it into your home. If you are moving, bed bugs can sometimes hitch a ride in boxes, and they also like warmth, so make sure to keep your laptop bag off the floor.
4 Eliminate their habitats. Vacuum carpets, mattresses, and box springs, and change linens at least weekly. Seal up cracks in baseboards with caulk. Avoid putting bed linens on the floor, and avoid allowing laundry to pile up in the bedroom. Comforters, throw pillows and dust ruffles should be washed on a regular basis. Use warm water when washing linens.
5 Invest in a mattress cover. Specially designed mattress covers are an inexpensive investment that will protect mattresses from new infestations.
Bed bug removal can be a challenging process, and an ounce of prevention is always the best strategy. But, if you have an infestation of bed bugs (or any other unwanted household creatures,) The Bug Man has you covered! We have been central Arkansas’ most trusted pest and wildlife control experts since 1976. Give our experts a call at 501-663-9464, and let us help you enjoy a bed bug free spring and summer!