Bed bugs on the eve of summer vacation: A mom’s guide [+video]
Bed bugs come to visit one Virginia family and Mom does a quick inventory of prevention methods – a helpful tool as you push off for summer vacation and beds others use.
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The moment the heat bloomed here in Virginia the boys began getting bites at night. We thought it was fleas and dipped, sprayed, and generally made miserable our two cats and the dog. We washed sheets and vacuumed. Nothing worked until Avery at last spotted a little flat, oval, brown bug in the seam of his mattress. “Mom! Do we have bug spray?” he called from his room.Skip to next paragraph
Lisa Suhay, who has four sons at home in Norfolk, Va., is a children’s book author and founder of the Norfolk (Va.) Initiative for Chess Excellence (NICE) , a nonprofit organization serving at-risk youth via mentoring and teaching the game of chess for critical thinking and life strategies.
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Don’t spray the mattress inside the house.
I don’t care what any “expert” tells you, unless you are ready to cope with something that looks like Hitchcock meets SciFi Channel as critters swarm out of the seams, don’t do it.
If you find one and you’re sure it’s a bed bug it’s time to bag it and tag it — the mattress and everything on it except pets and the kids.
I know this because I got the spray and used it, to my eternal regret.
How to bed bugs get around?
“This room may be bugged.” Granted, granny may not have said that one unless she was a spy, but it’s still a good one to pay attention to because hotels, conference rooms, workplaces, and even classrooms can be Grand Central Station for bug transport to our homes.
“Never leave your handbag, backpack or bags on a carpeted floor in a room that you aren’t completely certain is bug free,” says my friend Theresa, whose last name I’ll withhold because she doesn’t want to be judged for having had bed bugs in her house. “They get into everything, right through the seams of your handbag, shoes, or the kids’ backpacks.”
Theresa now keeps a clear Rubbermaid container by the door for depositing bags and backpacks.
“I do the same for clothing instead of wooden dressers now because I can see them immediately and nip it right in the bud,” she explains.
Myth: Bedbugs prefer unsanitary, urban conditions
"Bedbugs are terribly nondiscriminatory," Coby Schal, an entomologist at North Carolina State University in Raleigh told Scientific American. The publication also concluded, “Bedbugs can be found anywhere from ritzy high-rises to homeless shelters. The prevalence of the bugs in low-income housing is therefore not a result of the insect's preference, but of dense populations and the lack of money to pay for proper elimination strategies.
Bed bugs only live in beds.
We learned bed bugs not only travel in anything but they live anywhere they can slip into: wall sockets, vents, dressers, seams of cloth laundry baskets, every crack in the floor, and creases of any kind of bag, belt, or garment.
My friend Laura, in New Jersey, told me about how her daughter, who attends college in Richmond, Va., had to move apartments six times before she was able to sleep through the night without being bitten.
“She finally found out the bugs were moving with her each time because they were inside a wooden, acoustic guitar her roommate had gotten at a yard sale,” Laura explained.
Also, get a spray specifically formulated for bed bugs and use it liberally on vents, in every crack and cranny and take off electrical outlet covers for spraying as well.
Being thrifty, not so nifty
Curb your enthusiasm for thrifting, yard sales, flea markets (perhaps more aptly named bed bug bargains), trash day treasures and the like to avoid making someone else’s problems your own. I know, I love them too and times are tough but after this I would rather do without than do this all over again.
Global warming may be our ultimate weapon in the bug battle because Spring is here and I intend to save a pile of cash by not running air conditioning this summer. I will crank the stereo instead and listen to my new favorite tune, “Burn Baby Burn!” It’s gonna be a disco bed bug inferno here in the south.
For more tips, check out this Yahoo! Shine article.