Bed bugs: The spring break souvenir that really BITES!

Spring break: A rite of passage for college students across the U.S., marked by endless parties, sleepless nights, and mornings filled with regret. It’s a parent’s worst nightmare, especially when the only souvenir their child brings home is bed bugs.

Notorious for hitchhiking, bed bugs are opportunistic pests, taking advantage of any and all circumstances that will allow them to thrive; and spring break never fails to deliver. Unsuspecting warm bodies, numerous hiding places (e.g. luggage, purses, duffel bags, piles of clothes and bedding) and ample hitchhiking opportunities—it’s a bed bug’s dream come true!

Although you can’t safeguard your child against bed bugs all of the time, there are steps you can take to help minimize the chances of them bringing bed bugs into your home. Whether your child is traveling home from spring break, visiting for the weekend, or just popping in to do some laundry, bed bugs may be tagging along.

Open yellow suitcase with different clothes packed for journey

How to prevent bed bugs from infesting your home

  • Inspect suitcases, bags and boxes for signs of bed bugs prior to unpacking, especially if they were used for spring break travel.
  • Clothes should be laundered immediately using high temp water and dryer settings.
  • Vacuum any luggage, backpacks and bags that were used as well as the areas surrounding them.
  • Wipe down hard-surfaced items such as laptops and cases.
  • Bedrooms should be inspected prior to unpacking to avoid any possibilities of cross-contamination. A quick look at the mattress as well as any other furniture in the room can help reduce the likelihood of any hideaways.
  • If you don’t have one already, it’s a good idea to purchase a mattress and box spring encasement. While encasements can’t prevent bed bugs from entering dorm rooms, they can prevent bed bugs from burrowing deep into the seams of the mattress and box spring. An encasement that has a bug-proof zipper is best.

I think I have bed bugs! What do I do?

  1. It’s important to have the identification of bed bugs confirmed by a licensed bed bug specialist. A physical sample of an actual bug or egg is required to be 100 percent certain that you have bed bugs. If it is bed bugs, you will need a thorough inspection to determine the extent of the infestation.
  2. Do not use over-the-counter pesticides. This will make the infestation worse by aggravating them, which causes them to hide deeper into cracks and crevices.

If by some chance a bed bug infestation still occurs, or if you have any questions on bed bug prevention or management, don’t hesitate to call one of our bed bug specialists at 888-727-0454 or contact us online, we are here to make sure you sleep tight.

Mother and daughter look under bed

Knowledge is power! 

Knowing what to look for, where to look and who to call if you find bed bugs in your home is your best line of defense.

What do bed bugs look like?

  • Adults have six legs and are oval-shaped
  • Relatively flat insect, so it can crawl into a wide variety of crevices in close proximity to humans
  • Typically small, usually less than ¼ inch, and is brown or reddish-brown in color
  • The reddish-brown color comes from the consumption of blood, while fecal stains appear black from the digested blood that they excrete 

What are some signs of bed bugs?

  • Bed bugs 
  • Eggs
  • Nymphs
  • Small black spots on sheets, mattress seams, bed frames and headboards

What do bed bugs eat?

  • Bed bugs feed on human blood, causing itching and swelling
  • If food is unavailable, bed bugs can survive for several months to up to a year before dying of dehydration

How quickly can bed bugs spread?

  • Females lay 10-20 eggs per week, which translates to 500-1000 hungry bed bugs per year

Where do bed bugs hide?

  • Folds, seams and buttons on beds and furniture 
  • Cracks and crevices in bed frames and headboards 
  • Infestations can quickly expand beyond these areas into cracks and crevices throughout a room and house.

Bed bug behaviors

  • Bed bugs come out at night and feed on human blood, frequently causing itching and swelling. 
  • If food is unavailable, bed bugs can enter a state of semi-hibernation that allows them to survive several months without feeding. 
  • Infestations cross all socio-economic boundaries, being found anywhere from world-class hotels to lower-income housing.

Western’s bed bug control approach

We employ an integrated pest management (IPM) approach, taking into consideration your home, your neighborhood, your family and the environment. The bed bug treatments we use eliminate bed bugs at every stage of the life cycle. 

At Western Exterminator, we understand the distress a bed bug infestation can cause. For your peace of mind, we offer a 30-day bed bug treatment warranty and follow-up visits to ensure we fully resolved your bed bug problem. Give us a call today at 888-727-0454 or contact us online.

Tiffany Tenley

As a Marketing Content Manager, Tiffany has come to love and appreciate the diverse and complex world of pests—good, bad and ugly. Not only does she research and write about them, she admits to having eaten a few crickets on some cheese-laden nachos. When she's not working, Tiffany enjoys spending time with her family, exploring new restaurants, concert-going, reading, writing and traveling.

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