Tips for Avoiding Bed Bugs this Winter

Old man winter is knocking at the door. Days are becoming shorter and cold winds are wandering down from the North. It would be nice to think that as we trudge through the seasonal snow and ice we would, at the very least, get a few months reprieve from our old nemesis the bed bug.

Unfortunately, the changing of the seasons doesn’t mean much to a bed bug. They are on the move whatever the weather. It’s true that bed bugs don’t particularly enjoy the cold. In fact, extreme temperatures can be lethal to the pests. But winter weather offers little in the way of respite from these blood suckers. So now is not the time to let down your guard.

Bed Bug and Human Behavior

Bed bugs depend on their human hosts for survival, so naturally they’re going to stick close to those hosts. During the winter months we all tend to keep indoors as much as possible. Staying inside where it’s warm and dry. In this respect bed bug behavior mirrors our own. Where we go they go, and when we’re tucked up snug inside our homes they’re right there with us.

So, while the temperatures may be frigid outside it’s still necessary to guard against any potential bed bug infestations. So lets look at some simple tips for avoiding bed bugs during the long winter months.

Minimize Hiding Places by Reducing Household Clutter

When the weather turns cold the heavy coats, the gloves, and the scarves all come out of the closet. Blankets get tossed on couches and duvets get thrown on beds. Add to that the general slowing down that comes with winter and it doesn’t take much for your home to start getting a bit cluttered.

Bed bugs love clutter. It gives them ample hiding places and allows them to go unnoticed until it’s time for them to come out and feed on their hosts. During the winter months it’s important to keep your home tidy. Remove clutter as much as possible. This is particularly important in bedrooms. Keep your headboards, nightstands and closets neat and tidy.

By reducing the available hiding spaces you can minimize the risk of bed bugs going unnoticed until it’s too late.

Wash Your Bed Linen Regularly

Sheets and comforters should be laundered regularly. The same goes for pajamas and robes. These are prime hiding spots for bed bugs, so keeping them clean is a good way of keeping your bed and bedroom free from these pests.

Wash your bed lines regularly and tumble dry on high heat. Exposure to high temperatures will kill the majority of bed bugs, including nymphs and eggs.

A good tip to follow here is when you’re stripping your bed for the weekly wash take some time to inspect the mattress for any signs of bed bug activity. Shed exoskeletons, fecal stains, and blood trails are a sure sign of trouble. Keep your eyes peeled.

Dust and Vacuum Regularly

Vacuuming can’t solve a full scale bed bug infestation. However, dusting and vacuuming regularly can help to contain a growing invasion and reduce the on-site population of these bothersome pests.

Throughout the winter (and year round) make a point of vacuuming floors, area rugs, upholstered furniture, bed frames and mattresses. Be sure to vacuum thoroughly under beds and couches, as well as around bed legs and any cracks and crevices where bed bugs might be hiding.

After you finish vacuuming empty the contents of the cleaner’s bag or take-up receptacle in a tightly sealed plastic bag and deposit in a garbage bin outside of the house. Remember, you want to remove any stray bed bugs you might have picked up from your home – so dispose of the contents of your vacuum carefully.

Call in the Professionals

Whatever the weather, if you see signs of bed bug activity in the home your first call should be to a professional bed bug inspection and removal service. Trying to battle the infestation on your own is only postponing the problem. While you wait for spring those bed bugs will be breeding and spreading and the infestation is only going to become worse.

Published by Scott Palatnik

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