For decades, bed bugs have been out of sight and out of mind, as they haven’t been a common problem. But recently bed bugs are making a come back and finding their way into both private and public spaces worldwide. As of 2015, the National Pest Management Association reported that over 99% of pest control companies had treated for bed bugs compared to just 25% the previous year. The spread of bed bugs means you need to be aware of where they are commonly found and do your best to prevent bringing them into your home. Here are the top five places you could pick up bed bugs:
Wherever there are linens and clothing in a shared, public place, you are at risk of bringing home someone else’s bed bugs. People may unknowingly bring linens with bed bugs in to wash and dry, or they may visit the laundromat on purpose to use the highest temperature setting in an effort to kill off their bed bug infestation. Don’t share a folding table with someone else, and always use the hottest heat setting possible in the dryer of a public laundromat to minimize your risks of bringing bed bugs home with your folded laundry.
Nursing Homes and Hospitals
If you are taken to the hospital, chances are you won’t have time to inspect the hospital bed before you climb in. And elderly folks living in nursing homes can do little to prevent the spread of bed bugs once the nursing home is infested. Thankfully, bed bugs don’t carry or spread diseases.
While we generally think of beds as the only breeding ground for bed bugs, the truth is they are pretty much anywhere where there are people and upholstery. Public transportation is known for bed bugs, and you may unknowingly share your seat with an un-ticketed passenger. They are tiny and hard to detect, so there is a good chance they can ride home with you on your clothing or in your bags.
While most hotels take great strides to prevent bed bugs or to eliminate them at the first sign - hotels are still a common place to get bed bugs. Thoroughly inspect the room before unpacking and go someplace else if you notice any of their warning signs!
A rarely thought of location, the public library system is also a common place for bed bugs! Before you bring home a stack of books and crawl into bed for some late night reading, check the pages and spine for bed bugs or your next book could be one on how to eliminate bed bugs from your home!
When examining an area for signs of bed bugs, look for:
Small red or reddish brown spots on upholstery, walls, mattresses, or paper
Actual bed bugs - they’re tiny but you can see them with the naked eye
White sticky eggs, or empty eggshells, or molted bed bug skins
If you’re at home and waking up with red, itchy bite marks on your arms, legs, and other body parts that may be exposed while you’re asleep - you probably have a bed bug infestation. You should call a bed bug control expert immediately, as bed bugs reproduce rapidly and can be nearly impossible to control with do-it-yourself methods.