March 31, 2014

View of clothing and furniture in crowded second hand store
Used furniture and clothing are common hiding places for bedbugs.

People say that the home is where the heart is. But it’s also where our clients receive valuable health care services. That’s why keeping the home free from pesky little critters like bedbugs is so important.

If you have ever had bedbugs – or know someone who has – you know they are a terrible nuisance. They can be very annoying and can cause itching, rashes, and sometimes allergic reactions.

The good news, though, is that they are not known to transmit disease.

How do these annoying pests even get into your home?

Bedbugs like to hang out in luggage, clothing or used furniture – especially used beds, mattresses, box springs and couches. Once they’re in, they hide. So people who travel a lot or purchase used furniture may be at risk of a bedbug infestation.

How would you know if you have bedbugs?

The most telltale sign is if you wake up in the morning with red, itchy bites or welts. Other common signs include:

  • Blood stains or dark, rusty patches of bedbug waste on sheets, mattresses or walls
  • Bedbug egg shells or shed skins in areas where bedbugs are known to hide
  • An offensive, musty odor that comes from the bugs’ scent glands

Also, you may be able to spot bedbugs by inspecting the seams of your mattress and box spring closely. Bedbugs are brown or red and about the size of an apple seed.

If you have bedbugs, how should you get rid of them?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the best way to get rid of bedbugs is with insecticide spraying.  If you suspect you have them, contact your landlord or a professional pest control company that is experienced with treating bedbugs.

You should also do the following:

  • Wash all bedding, linens, curtains and clothing in hot water and dry them on the highest dryer setting. If you can’t wash the items, place them in the dryer and let it run for 30 minutes.
  • Scrub your mattress seams with a stiff brush, and vacuum the bed and surrounding area.
  • Enclose your mattress and box spring with a tightly woven, zippered cover.

Once the bedbugs are gone, be careful not to bring them back into your house. For tips on how you can prevent a re-infestation, check out this Bedbug Safety Guide.