It seems like this year is just flying by. September is over and now we’re rolling into October. And you know what October means. It means Halloween parties (for kids AND grown-ups), trick-or-treating, and (if you’re anything like me) too much candy and not enough monster movies.
So what does all this have to do with bed bugs?
Well, bed bugs may not be the go-to costume this year (or any year, really) but Halloween does have the potential to put you and your little monsters in the path of hungry bed bugs. All of that creepy festive cheer can end up with someone bringing home more than a bagful of candy corn.
So let’s talk about how to avoid bed bugs this Halloween.
Halloween Costumes and Bed Bugs
For a lot of people Halloween is all about dressing up. Grown-ups and children alike love to dress up as their favorite monsters, cartoon characters, or celebrities. It’s plenty of fun, but putting together those costumes can expose you to bed bugs.
Renting Costumes – If you’re planning on going to a costume shop for your outfit this year there are a couple points to consider. First, the costume you rent will probably have been in storage for a while. You can’t know where it’s been stored or if it’s been kept safe from bed bugs or other pests. You also don’t know who previously rented the costume or when it was last laundered.
When choosing a costume be sure to inspect it carefully. Ask the shop owner if it’s been used recently and when it was last cleaned.
Making Your Own Costumes – When folks create their own costumes they often rely on thrift shops and second-hand stores to build their outfit. Again, you can’t know where these items have been or whether or not they’ve been cleaned recently.
Inspect all thrift store purchases carefully and, before working them into your costume, make sure to wash them thoroughly.
Halloween Parties – Tips for Hosts and Guests
Halloween parties attract lots of people. That’s the point and that’s what brings the fun. But between the crowds and the costumes (see above) there’s always the possibility that you may encounter some bed bugs. Remember, these pests are hitchhikers and they’ll use any opportunity they can to find new hosts. Large gatherings of people provide bed bugs with ample opportunity to hitch a ride to a new environment.
If you’re hosting a Halloween party this year you will want to be on the lookout for signs of bed bugs for several days after the get-together. If any have been tracked into your home you should notice some activity within a week to ten days. The most likely places to find any bed bugs that may have been brought into your home is in or around the rooms in which the party occurred. Also keep an eye on any furniture that guests may have sat on during the party.
If you’re planning on attending a Halloween party this year the best thing you can do is keep your eyes open. Chances are you won’t spot any wayward bed bugs during the party itself. These pests know how to hide. Especially around crowds of active party goers. But when you get home check your costumes and party favors for any signs of bed bugs. Follow the same advice we give to those hosting a big party and watch for any signs of bed bug activity in your home for several days after the party.
Dealing with Bed Bugs after Halloween
Dealing with bed bugs can be difficult. And it doesn’t take long for a few stray bed bugs to turn into a very real nightmare. If left to their own devices any bed bugs picked up at Halloween can become a full infestation by Thanksgiving.
Prevention is the key. This Halloween season leave the creepy crawlies to late night TV and costumed trick-or-treaters at the door. Take steps to avoid bringing bed bugs into your home or into the homes of your friends and workmates.
If you believe you’ve brought bed bugs into your home or office, give us a call, we can help!
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