If you're spotting bed bugs around your Durham home, your first instinct might be to wonder what's wrong with your housekeeping skills. Like most pests, many people associate bed bugs with dirty or unsanitary homes – but this is actually a misconception.
Bed bugs can happen to anyone, regardless of how clean or dirty your living space may be. Since these parasites rely on human blood to satisfy their appetites, they could care less how cluttered (or organized) your home is.
Unfortunately, this also means that a lot of the prevention tips you'd use to keep cockroaches or rodents away are ineffective against bed bugs. Here's what Durham homeowners should know about how bed bug infestations start, the best way to prevent picking up these parasites, and what to do if you're spotting the signs of an infestation around your home.
How Do Bed Bug Infestations Start?
Although most pests may crawl into your home through cracks and crevices, bed bugs are one of the few critter species that humans bring into their homes. Bed bugs are parasitic hitchhikers and are usually picked up accidentally by traveling somewhere that has an existing infestation.
If you stay at a hotel, motel, or even a friend's house where there's already a bed bug problem, some of these critters may latch onto luggage, personal belongings, or even your clothing and travel back with you. Since a bed bug only grows to be the size of an apple seed, they can often go unnoticed on personal belongings and luggage.
Once you bring them into your home, the bed bugs will hop off and find a new hiding spot in your house. Common "hot spots" where you may pick up bed bugs include hotels, motels, airports, and other transportation hubs where there's a lot of human activity.
In some cases, you can also bring these critters into your home through secondhand furniture or appliances. That used couch you got a great deal on could be housing an entire bed bug colony beneath the cushions.
Unfortunately, it doesn't take a lot for bed bug infestations to start once they've traveled into your home. Even if only a couple of bed bugs latched onto your luggage, adult female bed bugs could lay around one egg per day – so, a few bed bugs can turn into a full-blown infestation within weeks.
How To Prevent Picking Up Bed Bugs
Since their presence can go unnoticed and you can pick these insects up in plenty of different places, bed bugs are some of the hardest pests to prevent – but there are a couple of ways to reduce the risk.
First, it's always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the signs of a bed bug infestation in Durham so you know what to look for when you're traveling to one of these "hot spots." Dark and rusty stains on sheets and pillowcases are a major indicator of bed bugs.
If you're staying overnight at a hotel or friend's house, you'll also want to inspect the bedding – pull back the sheets and turn over the mattress to look for those dark stains or even signs of live bed bugs, which have flat, oval-shaped bodies and brown coloring.
When purchasing used and secondhand furniture and appliances, you'll want to repeat this same procedure. Turn over furniture, look under appliances, and inspect tiny crevices in either for signs of bed bugs before bringing them indoors.
You should also keep any personal belongings, especially luggage, off the floor when you travel. Bed bugs cannot fly, so keeping your clothing and luggage off ground level makes it significantly harder for these pests to latch on.
The Most Effective Form Of Bed Bug Prevention In Durham, NC
Although it's important to know how to protect yourself while you travel or head to anywhere that may have bed bugs, following these protocols isn't always enough – and bed bugs could still end up in your home. If you're finding signs or evidence of bed bugs in your house, there's only one solution; contact the professionals at Southern Pest Control.
As quickly as they reproduce and as well as they hide, getting rid of bed bugs on your own is almost impossible. However, our experienced professionals at Southern Pest Solutions have the expertise and the treatments to permanently rid your home of bed bugs.
If you're spotting the signs of a bed bug problem in your Durham home, you shouldn't wait for it to get worse – call us at Southern Pest Solutions today for more information about our bed bug control services.