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How To Avoid Bed Bugs

Summary: Get out the magnifying glass and flashlight because today we are checking for and learning how to avoid bed bugs.

Everyone is freaking out about bed bugs. Bed bug paranoia has taken over as hotels, hospitals, nursing homes and movie theaters fight bed bug infestations, real or imagined. So, I thought I would tell you what I do when I check in to a hotel or go to a movie theater.

First, bed bugs are small. They are only about an eight-inch long, so they don't exactly stand out when they are sitting on a couch or chair, especially when it's covered in a dark or patterned fabric. You really need to do some close-up visual inspecting to find them.

Of course, you also need to know what they look like. I cannot tell you how many people bring me little bugs they think are bed bugs, but are not. I've provided a picture of one, but you need to know their color and size changes according to when they last had a blood meal.

Bed bugs hide during the daytime and come out at night to feed when their victim is sleeping. They need a still body to climb on. They don't do well when their host is moving around, so it is unlikely that you'll find a feeding bed bug on you when you are working. That is not to say a bed bug won't hitch a ride on your clothing and drop off when you arrive home. They are well known for their hitchhiking capabilities.

It can be difficult to locate the source of a bed bug infestation because they are such effective hide-and-seekers. They can squirm into the seams of mattresses, the thin cracks in between the wood joints of furniture, or behind wallpaper and baseboards. Because a bed bug is so small and secretive, you might have to be a little tricky in determining whether you have an infestation or not.

My procedure for avoiding bed bugs varies, depending upon the location I am walking into. For example, when I check into my hotel room I leave my bags zipped until I have done my inspection. That inspection involves looking along the angle where the wall and ceiling meet. Bed bugs crawl upwards when looking for hiding places and you can often find them up there. I do a partial strip of the bed to check the sides of the mattress for blood spots. Bed bugs deposit their fecal droppings leaving dark brown to black spots, a sure sign of infestation.

This next part is hard to do if you are by yourself. I like to remove the headboard from the wall to inspect the backside. This is a favorite bed bug hiding spot. I also remove the bedside table bottom drawers to check the underside of the drawers. Bed bugs will hide under a drawer, rather than inside the drawer. Lastly, I check the closet ceiling and along the frames looking for bed bugs.

Seems like a lot to go through, but I have yet to pick up a single bed bug in my travels. I've been careful, but also lucky. I go to lots of movies, but in a dark theater you just have to take your chances. It's either that, or a Netflix subscription and stay at home. I also go out to eat a lot and there is little I can do to protect myself when I slide into a booth. No telling who was sitting there before me and what is hiding under my seat cushion. We all need to go on living, but make ourselves aware of our surroundings and try to avoid situations that scream œbed bugs. What a world!

Here is some more  bed bug information .

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