An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure… the old proverb explains that it is easier to stop something from happening in the first place than to repair the damage after it has happened. There is no truer statement when it comes to bed bugs.
The truth is bed bugs are easy to get rid of if found early but if you wait until they build up into breeding grounds and go into “repair” mode, the damage can cost you a bundle.
No one is immune to bed bugs no matter how clean or rich you are. Bed bugs feed on blood and unless you happen to be one that has no blood running through their veins, you too can fall victim to bed bugs.
So let’s think this out using a little common sense …
Picking up a bed bug can be as easy as going to your favorite store, business, doctor’s office, show or restaurant or grabbing one up at school or work or a friend’s home. One pregnant female can attach to your clothing or personal items, be brought home, lay eggs and start an infestation (if you don’t notice it early)
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN “INFESTATION AND AN OCCURANCE”
Not everyone has an infestation. One or two bed bugs do not depict an infestation. That is what we call an “occurrence”. Now, if you happen to be one of those who do get a reaction from a bed bugs bite and you are bitten, suspect and search for bed bugs right away! If you still can’t find any signs, call in a bed bug detection dog team as soon as possible to avoid an infestation.
Now, let’s suppose you don’t react to their bites. You have no clue that bed bugs are coming out and feeding on you and months can go by when you finally realize dirty fecal stains. ßThis is very common and is the biggest reason you should be inspecting your sleeping quarters regularly. Again, finding them early in the “occurrence” stage is best and much easier to get rid of.
“INFESTATIONS” TAKE TIME
Female bed bugs lay eggs, the eggs must hatch and go through five stages of development before becoming a breeding adult. (Approximately 22-36 days or longer depending upon temperature, availability of food source and conditions) Although the female lays many eggs in her lifetime, she doesn’t do it all at once. Regular mating and feedings are required.
Those breeders now start laying eggs, which have to go through the whole process of development before they become breeding adults. So as you can see, it takes a couple of months before anything substantial builds.
If people get their steamers out at the first sign they can usually get rid of the problem before they get a chance to build up. (Providing they are doing it right and in the right places)
You can’t prevent infestations from occurring any better than that!
HOW ELSE DOES ONE PREVENT BED BUGS?
You could resign to never leaving your home, never having visitors and completely shut yourself off from the world, but that is unrealistic. The majority of society, goes to work, the grocery store, lets the repair person in, has guests, their kids go to school and go out for outings.
Living in a single family home is one thing, but when it comes to those who live in multi-unit properties where bed bugs can crawl through wall voids, be dropped off in stairwells, foyers, elevators, laundry rooms, that gets even more complicated.
Vigilance is the key to avoiding bed bugs to begin with. You have to be cautious with everything you bring into your home including the clothing you wear, backpacks, purses, and things you purchase when you come back from an outing.
Whenever you are in a place where there are many people, you have to be aware of the fact that one single bug could have crawled on to your person or a belonging of yours. That alone is enough to make anyone in their right mind lose it!
When you enter your home or place of residence, change your clothing and place them directly in the dryer if you have one or in a bag and seal it until you can do laundry. Don’t lay them on the floor of your room, on the bed, over a chair, couch or anywhere.
CAN YOU SPRAY AWAY YOUR BED BUG TROUBLES?
Face it we do not live in hermetically sealed homes. All kinds of bugs find their way in through openings like window and doorframes, electrical conduits, chimneys, eaves, crack and crevices everywhere. Some people think that if they constantly spray their homes or apartments with a pesticide that they have less of a chance to get bed bugs.
Problem with that is where are you going to spray? Repeated spraying of surfaces where there isn’t an insect (which is basically against the law for any pest management company to do – they must identify the insect in question before choosing the proper pesticide), leaves a chemical residual that can potentially build up and create a resistance anyway. Besides, how do you know that you are using the proper pesticide for the bug at question to begin with?
Next, if there is a bug where the pesticide is sprayed you also have the potential to repel the bug from that area to get away from the chemical, which can spread the problem to other areas.
Repeated spraying can also create a toxic environment in which depressed immune systems, children, pets and elderly can become sick. There is no safe and effective preventative chemical treatment.
Here’s another mistaken treatment that many people turn to their local stores for. The problem with foggers or bombs is that they disperse a chemical into unobstructed air space and never get inside the cracks and crevices where bed bugs hide. Foggers are a fruitless effort that also spreads them so don’t waste your money.
Bed bugs are not as easy to prevent as many other types of bugs but that doesn’t mean you can be as vigilant as possible and knock them out as soon as you get one or two of them.
WHAT DOES IT COST TO BE PREVENTATIVE AGAINST BED BUGS?
Being preventative is more of an act than anything else is. One never knows when they, a family member, or visitor could have come across a situation where they picked up a hitchhiker.
Here are some of the best prevention methods:
- Be aware of where you go and where you place items in your home.
- Be careful to inspect any secondhand items or hand-me-downs you get before bringing them in your home.
- If you should show signs of bites, suspect and look for bed bugs right away.
- Change your sheets on a regular basis and check for signs while doing so.
- Do a thorough cleaning and vacuuming of your home and places you rest.
- Use a steamer often on your mattress edges, carpets and edges, couches, baseboards and other areas where bed bugs hide. [It also helps sanitize against bacteria and viruses]
- Remove any clutter throughout your home
- Organize closets and drawers [Place items in clear totes with locking tops]
- Talk about bed bug risks with all family members
CAN I PAY SOMEONE TO PREVENT BED BUGS FOR ME?
No, there isn’t enough money in the world to pay someone to follow you around to prevent you from picking up and introducing a bed bug to your environment; but there are detection dogs that can come in on a regular basis to make sure they don’t build up into infestations in your home.
If you have a large family, have many visitors, travel often or work in a high-risk environment, having your home or office checked regularly can help to prevent an infestation from building. It takes approximately 22-36 days past the eggs hatching when you have a new amount of breeding adults so quarterly inspections will keep you from ever having a serious infestation.
Reach out if we can be of any assistance, we are always here to help!