When it comes to household pests bed bugs may be the most insidious and unwelcome. They invade our homes, evade detection, and feed on our blood when we’re asleep and at our must vulnerable. While it’s true that bed bugs don’t carry or spread diseases they do cause physical and emotional pain in their victims. And while they won’t damage your property eliminating an infestation can be a costly and time consuming endeavor.
Prevention is the key. The best way to deal with a bed bug infestation is to avoid it altogether. To do that we need to know where we’re most likely to pick up these hungry pests in the first place. So let’s look at a few of the more surprising places you may come in contact with bed bugs.
Antique Shops and Second-Hand Stores
Bed bugs are drawn to plush furniture, especially pieces that see a lot of human contact. Upholstered chairs and couches are common places for bed bugs to hide because they’re attracted to the scents and oils humans leave behind. This is one of the reasons second-hand and antique furniture pose a high risk of bed bug contamination.
Reputable antique shops and second-hand markets will check their items for signs of bed bug activity. But every shop has different standards and you should be careful when purchasing any used furnishings. Particularly if they’re covered in fabric or full upholstered.
Laundromats and Laundry Rooms
Bed bugs are attracted to human scents. They also like to hide in the folds of fabric. So soiled clothing is natural magnet for these pests. But for dirty laundry to attract bed bugs it needs to be in an environment that is already infested.
Laundromats and shared laundry rooms can be high risk environments when it comes to picking up bed bugs. Infested clothing can shed bed bugs and contaminate other people’s laundry. It’s also worth noting that washing infested laundry at high temperatures can kill bed bugs and people using public laundromats may be treating an existing problem and their clothes may be harboring bed bugs.
Much like public laundry facilities coat checks are welcome playgrounds for bed bugs. As we’ve seen these pests like the scent humans and attracted to recently worn clothing. In a coat check clothes are held for hours, jostling together, and all carrying the scent of their owners. It’s a perfect environment for cross contamination and bed bugs will seize the opportunity to move among the clothing looking for new places to hide.
It’s important to point out here that the cleanliness of the establishment isn’t an issue when it comes to bed bugs. The most likely scenario is involves stray bed bugs coming in on a guest’s coat and migrating to the clothing it’s stored beside.
Theaters can become hot spots for bed bug activity. They see a lot of human traffic throughout any given day. They also have plenty of upholstered chairs for the comfort of patrons. Combine the two and you have an ideal situation for a bed bug on the move.
Bed bugs are small and difficult to spot, especially in a darkened theater, so you’re unlikely to see them in action. You’re probably better off considering the overall cleanliness of the theater itself. Management should be cleaning the premises regularly and part of that job is pest control. In this case hygiene does matter, and a dirty theater may be hiding bed bugs.
Hotels and Motels
Finally, we come to hotels, motels and resorts. Perhaps the least unexpected places on our list. These are some of the most likely places for encountering these pests. So we’d be remiss if they didn’t get some of our attention.
Bed bugs depend on human hosts for their survival. So any place that sees a lot of human traffic will naturally be primed to experience heightened bed bug activity. Any manner of temporary lodging fits that bill perfectly. Even the finest hotels and resorts are subject to bed bug infestations and it’s not unusual for these infestations to make national news.
When you check into a hotel or resort always take a moment to inspect your rooms. Look for signs of bed bugs before you unpack anything. Remember, any bed bugs in your hotel room may be looking for a new home and they’d be perfectly happy to follow you home.
Protecting Your Home and Family
The most common question people facing an infestation ask is “Where did these bed bugs come from?”. In most cases the answer is simple – we bring them in ourselves. Bed bugs can turn up in unexpected places and it’s all too easy to pick up a few and transport them home. Diligence is the key and it’s up to all of us to avoid bring these pests into our homes and offices.
If you suspect you have a growing bed bug infestation in your home the time to act is now. Call in a professional inspection and removal service. The sooner you act the sooner you can eliminate these pests from your life.
Published by Scott Palatnik
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