Bed bugs are among the most frustrating pests with which we have to contend. These blood-sucking little parasites manage to get into some of the most unlikely places you can think of. They hide in cracks and crevices; under carpeting and behind electrical outlets; in cupboards, closets, beds and bathrooms. In short, bed bugs can and will set up house just about anywhere.
We’ve spoken before about the bed bug’s primary mode of travel. For the most part these are sedentary pests. They infest a home or office and then rarely stray beyond their feeding grounds. In order to spread beyond that environment they require the help of unsuspecting hosts and traveling partners. You and I are those partners.
Bed bugs are known to hitch rides on people’s clothing and luggage, on coat tails and shoelaces. They casually attach themselves to our bodies and our belongings, following us home where they happily hop off and set up new colonies.
If we want to stem the tide of bed bug infestations we have to learn to head these pests off at the pass. That means catching them and eliminating them before they can get a foothold in our homes.
Keeping Bed Bugs Out of Your Shoes
One way bed bugs travel to potential new habitats is on our shoes. They cling to our shoelaces or hide in the soles of our shoes, only to come out and explore when we kick of our shoes at home. But there are some simple steps we can all take to keep these pests out of our footwear, helping to ensure we don’t bring any unwanted bed bugs into our homes or track any pests into the homes and offices of our friends and coworkers.
So let’s take a quick look at some simple tips for keeping our feet happy and our shoes free of any hitchhiking bed bugs.
1 – Wear Your Shoes Often
Bed bugs are happy enough using us to hitchhike to new and potentially more food-rich environments. However, that doesn’t mean they particularly enjoy the ride. Left to their own devices bed bugs are fairly sedentary pests. Only coming out of hiding to feed.
Any bed bugs hiding in a pair of shoes are going to want to scatter when the footwear starts moving. So, the more you wear a pair of shoes the less likely they’ll become a haven to any bed bugs. Shoes that are stored and rarely worn should be checked for signs of bed bug activity and cleaned and moved regularly.
2 – Store Footwear Away from Your Bed
Bed bugs tend to hide as close to human resting places as they can. That makes it easier for them to sneak out and feed when we’re sleeping. Storing your shoes under, or around, your bed makes it more likely that some bed bugs will use them as hiding places. This is especially true if those shoes aren’t worn very often and are just kind of left under the bed to collect dust. Stashing your shoes away from your bed is one way to reduce the risk of your footwear getting infested by bed bugs.
3 – Store Unworn Shoes in Boxes or Bags
When it comes to shoes there are two kinds of people. There are those that wear one pair regardless of the occasion (that’d be me cos I’m a slob), and those that have pairs for every occasion. If you’re one of the latter chances are you have some shoes that rarely get worn. They lurk in the closet for months on end waiting their chance to step out in the light.
Shoes that are rarely or seldom worn should be stored in boxes or in bags to prevent any bed bugs taking up residence in them. Shoes that are stored for long periods can be attractive to bed bugs looking for a cozy hiding place, particularly if those shoes are stored under a bed.
4 – Rotate Your Stored Shoes and Keep them Clean
Finally, for those of you with multiple pairs of shoes hidden away in a closet make sure to regularly clean and rotate them. Remember, bed bugs like to be left alone to build their nests. If you routinely clean and move your extra shoes you can reduce the likelihood that bed bugs will use them as makeshift homestead. If necessary spray your footwear with a mild disinfectant or over the counter pest repellent to further reduce the risk of bed bugs.
Stay Alert to Signs of Bed Bug Activity
When it comes to dealing with bed bugs an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you are alert to the telltale signs of bed bug activity you have a better chance of avoiding a full-scale infestation. Should you suspect you have a brewing bed bug problem contact a professional inspection and removal service as soon as you can.
The sooner you take action the more effective that action will be.