I am not sure whether its because people are travelling at this time of year or just one of those things, but we are getting an increasing number of calls regarding bed bug problems over the last month.
The increase in bed bug cases are highly publicized at the moment – especially with travelers coming in from USA and Far East, but it is not just these places you need to be careful of. Recently, we had a few nights in London with some friends over from South Africa and we checked into one of these low cost fast turnaround hotels as it was cheap and close to the show we wanted to see.
Our friends thought I must have been mad, but on arrival at the room, I did a quick bed bug inspection…just a habit I suppose … but the last thing I wanted to do was bring back any un-invited guests from London!
The thing is, we all just let our guard down when we go away, even just for a few nights, then pay the price later. How many of you have been away, come home and just throw the suitcases and coats etc on the bed and unpack? Yes, we all do it, but thats all it can take to spread this most resourceful of parasites into your home.
I always give the same advice to anybody traveling – even in our own country.
Firstly, spray your cases inside and out with a 50% DEET mosquito spray (available from Boots for sure). Bed bugs hate this and will stay away from anything covered in DEET. Also spray your coats and jackets etc – I know it smells bad but better that than me turning up on your door step to take your bedrooms apart!
Also, when you return, don’t take the cases upstairs. Unpack in the kitchen when you have a hard floor and can see anything that might fall out or crawl out – shake your clothes out and wash them straight away – don’t put them in the wash basket. Then take your cases outside to the garage and spray them again, leaving them out there over night if you can.
Also, wash everything on as high as possible – most machines do not wash at 40 C (which really is the magic number) they are usually about 35 C so if you can go to 60 C then all the better.
Dealing with bed bugs is not a pleasant experience for anybody (including us) and it is highly disruptive and intrusive to your life, so prevention is always better than cure. Also attempting to deal with bed bugs on your own is not a good idea – the off the shelf products are almost entirely useless and unless you know the processes to go through, you will almost certainly end up with the problem again – so just call in the experts like Rapid Pest Control sooner rather than later.