It has been confirmed- your home is infested with bed bugs. You've likely arranged an exterminator or are treating the premises yourself. However, until your treatment is complete and you are free and clear of these pests, there is a chance you could spread the bugs to your loved ones, place of employment or out in public.
How Bed Bugs Are Spread
Bed bugs are spread through two forms:
- Active dispersal: The bugs travel through buildings using the walls, pipes, ceiling, telephone/cable wires, windows, HVAC systems, and doorways.
- Passive dispersal: The bugs use humans for transportation by clinging to your clothing, purse, or luggage, or inhabiting furnishings, mattresses, and box springs brought into your home.
Passive dispersal is the most likely way to spread bed bugs to your co-workers, friends, and family. Bed bugs do not fly or jump, but they are nimble and can crawl quickly. In addition, they are as small as an apple seed, making them difficult to spot.
Tips to Prevent Spreading Bed Bugs
- Before you leave your house, put the clothing that you will be wearing in the dryer on the hottest setting. Leave the clothing in the dryer for at least 30 minutes.
- Remove your clothing from the dryer and give it a shake to guarantee that any dead bed bugs fall away. Place the clothing into a plastic bag and seal it.
- Take the clothing into the bathroom and stand in the bathtub or shower. This is the safest place in the house to get dressed as bed bugs rarely infest the bathroom and you will be able to spot any bed bugs on the smooth surface.
- Leave your home immediately after you get dressed. Do not sit down and take care not to brush against any furnishings or the bed as you leave.
Keeping Bed Bugs Out of Your Bag or Briefcase
Every time you leave the house you probably grab your bag or if you work in an office, potentially a briefcase. Unfortunately, these items can’t be thrown in the dryer like clothes. Try these tips instead:
- Remove everything from your bag or briefcase and vacuum the inside
- Use a hairdryer to blow hot air into the confines.
- Consider treating your briefcase/bag with a vapor treatment to reach into the cracks and crevices and kill any hidden bed bugs.
- Once your bag/briefcase is definitely clear of bed bugs, store it in a plastic bag between trips out of the house to ensure it is not reinfested.
- Store your bag or briefcase in an area of the home that is the least likely to be infested such as the garage or bathroom.
- Hang your bag in an area where nothing is touching it such as from a shower rod.
Plastic Bags Can Be Useful
Plastic bags are a wonderful tool to prevent spreading bed bugs. Immediately seal your clothing in plastic bags when you remove them from the dryer and place them in the bathroom to wear the next day. If the items cannot be heat treated in the dryer, then inspect them closely with a flashlight and shake them out. If they pass the test, seal them in a plastic bag.
Utilize Your Car
If you are sure there are no bed bugs in your vehicle then you can start storing clothing, bags, and shoes there for quick access to things that you know are bed bug-free when you leave the house. The less that you bring into the house the less things to potentially be infested.
These are just a few tips and precautions you can use to help you avoid spreading bed bugs until you can successfully rid your home of these pests.
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