It’s the season of travel, and Coloradans are heading out on summer vacations near and far. As they return, many will be bringing back souvenirs from their travels, including the unwanted kind: bed bugs.
These little beasts are often picked up in hotels, jumping in your suitcase and making the trip home with you. Before you know it, your house is infested—and your peace of mind destroyed.
Bed bugs can be difficult to eliminate. Here are some prevention tips, as well as ideas on what to do should an infestation arise:
Never put your suitcase on the bed at the hotel. Use the luggage rack instead.
When you return home, leave your suitcase in the car and park it in the sun for several hours. The heat that builds up inside a parked car on a warm day will kill the bed bugs.
Hire trained dogs to find the pests. If you’re unsure if you’ve brought bed bugs home, dogs trained to sniff them out are a much more effective way to find out than exterminators who provide visual inspections. An Internet search can help you locate such canine services.
Hire professionals to kill them with heat. If you learn that you have brought bed bugs home with you, contact a professional exterminator who can use heat to kill them. Raising the temperature in infested areas to 118°F and maintaining that temperature for at least 70 minutes should kill all stages of bed bugs. While chemical treatments are cheaper, they are less reliable. (Also note that over-the-counter insecticides and home remedies are not effective in controlling bed bugs.)
Don’t waste time. An individual bed bug can lay 200 to 250 eggs in her short lifetime. The eggs hatch in about 6 to 10 days, meaning the headaches can quickly multiply.
To find a professional belonging to the National Pest Management Association, go to the Pest World website (www.pestworld.org) and type in your zip code in the search box under “Find a Professional.”