Bed bugs are like nature’s vampires. They emerge under the cover of darkness to feed on your blood while you lay in blissful slumber. Once they have fed, they scurry back to their hiding places before dawn. You awake to find that you have innumerable red, itchy welts on your body. You might be baffled at how your home became infested and wonder how these pests found their way into your home.
Understanding Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are tiny, only about the size of an apple seed so they are barely noticeable. The bugs can hitchhike a ride many ways and once they enter your home, they quickly set up residence. Once established, bed bugs can be a nightmare to control and eradicate.
Here are the top ways people bring bed bugs home:
- Secondhand Clothing: Thrift store and garage sale clothing shoppers beware! Secondhand clothing is one of the main ways that bedbugs enter your home. You find a lovely coat or dress that you simply must have but within the folds or seams could be stowaway insects. Sure, you plan to wash the new purchase, but if you do not immediately place it in the washing machine the small creatures may have a chance to find a new home within your house.
- Used Furniture: Who doesn’t like a deal on a comfortable recliner or couch? The furniture might look pristine but within its cushions and frame may lurk a colony of bed bugs that are just waiting to move to their new home.
- Movie Theater: When you head to the movie theater you spend hours sitting in a chair that has held numerous others, and potentially those with bed bugs. Bed bugs are naturally active under the cover of darkness making the dark confines of a movie theater a wonderful place for the bugs to scramble from one moviegoer to another.
- Hospitals and Nursing Homes: Most patients and families would like to believe that a healthcare facility is a sanitary and safe location. Sadly, this is not always the case. Reports by the National Pest Management Association show that in the United States, more than a third of all pest-management businesses treated hospitals for bed bug infestations in 2012. Nursing homes have also experienced a spike in bed bug infestations. The study revealed that in 2012 the number of nursing homes infested rose from 25 to 46 percent.
- Gyms: A gym is a place where people regularly carry in bags of personal clothing items that they stow away in lockers. Once in the dark locker, bed bugs can leave the confines of one bag and crawl into another. You then carry your bag home filled with your workout gear, sneakers, and unknowingly, bed bugs.
- Airplanes: Air travel has opened the world for us to explore. Unfortunately, the explorer who sat in your plane seat before you might have been harboring bed bugs. The bugs can quickly retreat into the seat cushions and reemerge to seek shelter on the next person. Or, your bag may be stored close to one that has bed bugs and those bugs may decide to set up house in your bag instead.
- Laundromat: Shared laundry facilities are often a prime place to encounter pests. People unload their washing onto tables or into carts and baskets. Any bed bugs they carry may escape before the items are placed into the washing machine and seek shelter within your bug-free items instead.
- Cracks: If you live an apartment complex, condominium, or duplex, the cracks between the units may allow bed bugs to spread from home to home if your neighbor has an infestation.
- Electronics: You might think that you are safe to bring home secondhand electronics, but bed bugs can even hide within phones, keyboards, computers, gaming systems, and televisions.
- Books: Who doesn’t love a library filled with books? Within the folds of each novel are untold adventures but also, potentially bed bugs. The pests love hiding in the spines and pages of old books making you vulnerable to an infestation if you bring them home.
- Coat Closets: Checking your coat when you go out is a widespread practice. However, with the resurgence of bed bugs, it can be risky. Your coat is placed in a confined space with numerous other jackets, making it Grand Central Station for bed bugs, giving pests their pick of coats to hide within.
If you suspect that you have brought bed bugs home, it is imperative that you take action before the infestation gets out of hand. Be aware of how and where these pests are commonly picked up to avoid bed bugs altogether!