Perhaps you remember your mom tucking you in at night, saying your prayers and then turning off the light. Just as the light left the room the last words until tomorrow would fill the silence.
“Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite.”
I know I didn’t really know what a bed bug was to be honest. I mostly thought of some type of insect lurking underneath my bed. It was like a spider, it would come crawling under my covers as I drifted into sleep. Then it would suck my blood or perhaps crawl into my unguarded mouth and take residence in my brain. Yeah, I was a kid with a active imagination but it turns out my brain imagery was not so far off. Sleeping with vampires is real!
Much like the vampire they come in the night, find a appealing spot to bite you and begin to suck your blood. Your completely oblivious to the attack due to a anesthetic the bite delivers. With a serious infestation many of these little blood sucking vampires can bite you hundreds of times in one night.
So whats your chances of having one of these unwelcome intruders? Don’t you have to invite a vampire into your home anyway? Well, turns out these pest don’t need a invitation and guess what, they like to travel. Perhaps your traveling with one now. Luck you, lets recap where you’ve been and take a quick look at the top 15 Bedbug infested Cities in the U.S. as compiled by Terminix.
Top 15 Bedbug infested Cities
1. New York
7. Columbus, Ohio
8. Dayton, Ohio
9. Washington, D.C.
10. Los Angeles
13. Louisville, Ky.
15. Minneapolis, Minn.
This picture don’t jog any recent memories of the last hotel you stayed in does it?
You see, this is a problem for the traveler because bed bugs aren’t real picky when it comes time to choose a victim. Upscale, downscale, high rise, low rise, 4 star, 1 star it just don’t matter. As long as your breathing and exhaling CO2 then your a nummy treat. Everyone becomes Sookie Stackhouse and guess what, Bill the vampire,…err i mean bed bug is coming over for dinner. So what can you do?
1.) Accept that your bed bug traveling pal has seen more of the world than you. From the hostel in Europe to the hotel in the U.S and then back again to that home in Italy. Bed Bugs are well versed little travelers and definitely part of the exchange program.
2.) Look for signs. Its unlikely that you will actually see the critters themselves as they are expert hiders but look for signs. Bed bugs typically leave tiny reddish or black streaks on sheets. Also lift up the seam of the mattress and check for dark spots of dried excrement, eggs or even bed bugs themselves. Nothing yet? Keep checking everything from the pillow case linings to the box springs. If you see signs ask for another room or leave the hotel. The headache now will save you a much bigger headache if you end up bring them home.
3.) To late for the signs above? Then we are looking at bites. Bites typically look like a small red welt and normally burn and/or itch. Wash the bites with soap and water and then apply a ice pack. You can also apply some no-itch or antihistamine cream to the area.
4.) Don’t put your backpack on the bed, chair furniture, etc. If you can try to hang it from somewhere like a suitcase stand, rack, hanger or whatever you can find. Be careful hanging it around any crevices in the wall though, they like these. If you can’t find anything consider the tub, I have. Make sure you close everything when not in use and keep articles of clothing off the bed, floor and furniture. Everything should be packed away. This is a precautionary measure. If you see signs of bed bugs then like above, ask for another room.
5.) It’s to late, I spent the night sleeping with vampires. It’s OK, sometimes it happens. Traveling can be exhausting and sometimes you just get to the end of the day and you want to crash and you don’t care if your sleeping with pit vipers. Still, your gonna have to do some clean up now. Vacuum every possible nook and cranny of your suitcase, backpack, camera case, etc including seams. Wash all your clothing you were carrying in hot hot water. This should be all done before you consider bringing the traveled items into your home.
To late, they are in my home. Eww, I’m sorry but that’s gross. Maybe if you weren’t such a sloppy person. No, I’m just kidding but I do feel bad for you. The safety and comfort of your house can feel like its taken away. Unfortunately bed bugs can be a terrible nuisance to eradicate from ones home. People can spend a ton time and money exhausting methods before finally calling in a exterminator. You will have to strip everything down and the exterminator will likely give you some instructions on what you should do before he/she arrives. You may just end up having to toss heavily infested mattresses and furniture. Peace of mind is priceless.