Bed bugs continue to be a problem in many US cities. A new survey points out that the critters become most active during the summer. So, what to do?
The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) released the findings of its 2018 Bugs Without Borders research, the Associated Press reported. It surveys pest control professionals on the prevalence of bed bugs in the US.
The survey shows that 97% of pest professionals treated bed bugs in the past year. Also, more than half say summer is the busiest time of the year for them.
It’s also obvious that many people don’t know what bed bugs are. 84 percent of pest control professionals reported being contacted to treat another type of problem only to discover bed bugs present instead. Usually bed bugs are most often mistaken for fleas – in 71% of the cases.
“We’re finding that while bed bugs remain a pervasive issue and the public is concerned, general awareness and knowledge about these pests is alarmingly low,” said Cindy Mannes, vice president of public affairs for NPMA.
“Bed bugs continue to infest virtually anywhere humans congregate, making vigilance key to curbing bed bug infestations, especially as the summer travel season kicks into gear. Our goal is to arm the public with the information they need to be proactive in preventing a bed bug encounter, whether at home or on the road.”
The top three places where pest professionals encounter bed bugs are single-family homes (91 percent), apartments/condominiums (89 percent), and hotels/motels (68 percent). However, bed bugs can be found in high numbers in a variety of other places. Among them are nursing homes, schools, office buildings, college dorms, transportation, even hospitals.
92% of the people realize they have a problem with bed bugs after they are bitten. Only then they find out about the problem.
What to do for bed bugs
Bed Bugs are the most difficult pest to control, say the majority of professionals. They encourage people to make regular checks in their homes and workplaces. Also, if you travel, inspect the hotel room.
Typically found in couches and bed frames, bed bugs can also be found in some of the most unexpected places, including stuffed animals, wheelchairs, airplanes, school buses, purses and even inside bedside lamps.
Here’s what to do to minimize the risk:
- Pull back the sheets and inspect mattress seams and box springs, particularly at the corners for signs of bed bugs.
- Avoid placing luggage on upholstered surfaces or luggage racks with hollow legs where bed bugs may hide unseen. When arriving home from a trip, vacuum luggage thoroughly before storing it.
- Consider using a garment hand steamer, which can kill any bed bugs or eggs that may have traveled home.
- Wash and dry all clothes – even those that have not been worn – on hot cycles.
- Clean, remove clutter, organize and vacuum
Keep stuffed animals also clean and vacuum them regularly. Also, store the ones you don’t use. Or, if you want to keep them on display as a collection, then make sure it’s regularly cleaned.