How to avoid bed-bugs, dust mites, and other harmful infestations
Consider yourself lucky if you have not yet had the opportunity to have to deal with a bug infestation in your home. Most of us have taken precautions to prevent bugs like spiders, beetles, and ants from getting into our homes. But there is another class of bugs that we have less control over because these bugs are already living inside of our homes. Bed bugs are small and oval in shape. These bugs can be seen by the naked eye but they could be difficult to spot unless you are looking for them. Most of these bugs are red or brown in color and have flat bodies that some say resemble the body of a cockroach.
These bugs feed on human blood. Many people find that these bugs are responsible for an allergic reaction and it takes this skin disorder to realize that there is an infestation problem. Fortunately, the side effects of sharing space with these bugs are limited to allergies and other skin related problems. There are no known deaths caused by bed bugs or dust mites. Bed bugs thrive in areas that are dirty or crowded. But bed bugs and dust mites can be hiding in even the most tidy of places. It is extremely difficult to completely prevent bed bugs from living in your space because they are often found in the most cramped places where it is hard to get to them. Although bed bugs are commonly found in North America, they are much more prevalent in other countries. It is for this reason that international travelers ought to use particular caution as infestations can begin with a single stowaway bug hiding in a piece of luggage.
If you are hoping to avoid bed bugs, dust mites, and other harmful infestations, you would do well to know where these bugs live and make sure that you do all that you can to make those environments as uninviting to them as possible. These bugs love to spend time in mattresses and box springs, under the bed, in furniture cracks, in cracks that may be in your walls or floorboards, in the folds of upholstery, in closet drawers, in baseboards or other casings, inside side table telephones, radios or clocks, and even between the walls.
If you are one of the unfortunate ones who find bed bugs or dust mites in your home, you should know that the National Pest Management Association supports federal legislation to "aggressively manage bed bug infestations." Spraying the house with pesticide and replacing your mattress may be the first things that you think to do, but this is not always going to fully resolve the problem. They hide everywhere from the laundry to the smallest crack in the drywall or floorboards and can go up to a year without eating.
Although there is no guarantee that you can kill every member of an infestation or fully prevent an infestation from occurring, there are some strategies that you can use to lessen your risks:
- Vacuum everything in your bedroom including the mattress, floors, and all corners. Do it daily and change the bag immediately after vacuuming.
- Wash all your linens in hot water and dry on high heat.
- Put your pillows in a sealed plastic bag for at least a week.
- Wash and remove all clutter from your bedroom so that the bugs do not have anywhere to hide.
- Repair all cracks in the floor, baseboards and drywall. Remove peeling wallpaper and seal light switch covers with caulk.