Tips to Fight Bedbugs.
With the holidays coming up and all the travelling that goes on during this time, I can’t help be a total germaphobe and think about…
Recently, in our city of Windsor, we’ve heard rumors spark about bedbugs infesting our local theatres. I don’t know about you, but that makes my skin crawl and the thought of it makes me cringe. I also haven’t been to a movie since I heard it. Anyway, I plan to do some travelling this holiday season for my birthday and though I plan to bring home lots of goodies, I don’t plan on bringing home any friends.
Because these are friends that you don’t want to have, like the ones that are always hanging around and then stab you in the back when you least expect it (in their case anywhere they can) and suck you dry.
So, what are these pests?
I’m sure you’ve all heard the tell-tale, infamous line–“Sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite.” As a kid that used to freak me the heck out and I have yet (thank-you Lord) to see one the entirety of my life. Bedbugs is their common name but, they are scientifically known as Cimex lectularius.
These bugs are flat, oval-shaped, brownish/amber-colored bugs and are the size of an apple seed. They are visible to the human eye. They stow away in luggage, hide in mattresses, baseboards and furniture. They are nocturnal and will feed on you (yes, feed :S) while you are asleep. The only good thing (if possible) is that they do not transmit any disease if they bite you.
These vampires do not glisten in the sun nor will they make you swoon.
You will however, end up with small red and itchy bumps or welts.
Yes, I’ve done my homework.
Well, Canada has been free of bedbugs since 1941, so that explains why I or many of you, haven’t seen one. Why? They’ve been kept at bay due to a pesticide that is very effective in killing these pests called DDT.
According to studies, in the US, DDT was banned partially due to a publication from an American biologist Rachel Carson stating that the use of DDT causes cancer and using it within the environment (harms or potentially eradicates animal life, particularly birds) without fully knowing or understanding its effects is unethical which led to much criticism.
It caused an outcry and eventually led to the ban in 1972. In 1985, DDT was banned in Canada. The ban has been cited to assist in the comeback of the near-extinction of the Bald Eagle which is the National bird of the US. It is however still used in third-world countries, namely Africa. It is used as a tool to fight the fight against Malaria, DDT is known as the Kryptonite to mosquitoes that carry this plague.
Not to mention its environmental effect not only in just wildlife. It’s soil half-life can range from 22 days to 30 years. Due to the absorption into many eco-systems including our own, in the US almost every human blood sample tested in the Centers for Disease Control detected DDT. In the human metabolism DDT’s half-life is about 6-10 years. That study was in 2005 and numbers in humans have declined due to the ban.
Studies have shown possible links to cancer of the liver, pancreas and breast (due to carcinogenic agents) and Diabetes. There are mixed studies that claim that it may also cause or contributes to leukemia, lymphoma and testicular cancer.
So, yep, thank-goodness for the ban but, boourns to the creeping slow and steady return of the bedbugs.
1. Do Your Homework.
Read online reviews about the hotel you are going to be staying in. I use Trip Advisor and Google to look up hotels, if there is any mention of bed bugs, I don’t book. To be on the safe side, use the Bed Bug Registry to look even further.
2. Prepare and Pack.
- The best type of luggage to use are hard-sided ones without zippers, if that’s possible. Those buggers are so small they may get in through the zippers.
- Use XL Ziploc bags or Travel Space Bags that are air-tight to keep the bugs out. They have to be air-tight and you can pack your clothes and everything in them. I find that packing for kids is easier this way anyway and have always done this. Just pack an outfit per bag and it’s more organized.
- Do NOT bring your luggage onto your bed. Leave your luggage by the door and use the luggage rack. Try to keep it high off the floor.
- They do sell sprays that you can take with you. I’m not exactly sure if they are pesticides and I have never used it so, if you are looking for some spray. Seek a professional opinion.
3. Look for Possible Infestation.
Take some time to examine your sleeping area. Pull back the sheets and look for signs of bedbugs. They leave behind brown or black-ish excrement that resemble poppy seeds. If you pick out a hint of sweet almond in the room, that is also a sign of bedbugs. Check bedside table for signs as well.
They usually hide behind the headboard so if you can thoroughly examine it. If there are remnants of powder that can mean that the room has been treated previously for bedbugs.
For me, that would cause me to high-tail out of there and if nothing else is available, request another room and EXAMINE all over again.
4. Check Out BUT Inspect First.
Make sure you thoroughly inspect your luggage and it’s contents before you pack to leave. If you don’t have time or the means to wash your clothing before leaving, make sure you look through them to make sure there are no friends joining you on the trip home. Re-seal them to make an air-tight fit and check the linings of your luggage to see if any have stowed away.
5. KILL THEM DEAD.
Once you get home, unpack over a light surface or sheet just in case any did make it home with you. Wash your clothes/items in hot water and run it through the hot cycle of your dryer.
I know this subject may be laughable to some but, to me… There is no way on earth that I want to have to go through the experience of taking bed bugs home with me. I sure as heck do not want those things biting my children nor Hubby or I. The more I read testimonials about it, the more paranoid it makes me.
Once you have bed bugs, it can take up to a year to be rid of them completely.
A bed bug can go for a year without feeding, YUUP, that’s just scary.
Either way, it shouldn’t cause such paranoia that it keeps you from travelling. As paranoid as it makes me, I know that I’ve done all that I can to prevent bringing any home if there are any. The world is full of icky and gross things but we just have to learn how to navigate through them and live happily and with sound mind.
The holidays are a great time to travel, just take extra precautions to ensure that you come home bedbug-free.
It’s not stopping me!
Safe travels and good tidings m’deres!
Disclaimer: I’m no expert, just a mother who is concerned about travelling and the thought of bedbugs. Feel free and please do investigate further. 🙂
Nancy Polanco is a doting mom to 2 girls and a proud wife. She is a freelance multimedia Journalist that is passionate about breastfeeding, living green and reviewing products that are family friendly! Author of Whispered Inspirations and contributor to many publications.