North Carolina Travelers and the Resurgence of Household Bed Bug Infestations
In the years before 1950, bed bugs presented a common household problem. Then came the widespread application of persistent insecticides. Sightings of bed bugs joined the class of dinosaur sightings. For the most part, NC homeowners, as well as the rest of the nation, enjoyed a time of rest.
Then came the resurgence. Technology merged with an increase in household incomes. Routine travel became easier and cheaper. Thus came the renaissance of bed bug infestations.
Timing of the bed bug resurgence traces back to the 1990s. Increases in construction of apartments, dormitories and hotels introduced new pest-related opportunities. Students went back and forth between home and dormitory. Family visits to Disneyland included various stops along the way – stops that often involved an overnight stay in a roadside motel. And North Carolina travelers joined the group.
In this article, the Carolina Pest Management Charlotte bed bug control team discusses how you can prevent a travel-related resurgence of home bed bugs.
Bed Bug Facts
They are small, don’t mind hitchhiking, and favor the taste of blood. Furthermore, bed bugs:
- Can measure as much as a 1/4 inch long
- Aside from size, and a little lighter color, young bed bugs look just like grown bed bugs
- Feed at night and can bite multiple times
- Spend days in tight, concealed areas, including box springs, mattresses, clothing, and suitcases
- Produce at the rate of 200 to 500 eggs in the lifespan of a single female
- AND Can live up to twelve months without food
Bed Bug Prevention – An NC Travelers Handbook
Along with making sure that you stay in reputable hotels and motels, you can also make use of the following bed bug prevention tips:
1. Traveler’s Bed Bug Defense
Make bed bug inspection a routine travel priority. Never assume that the bed, chairs, closets or floors of a strange room are free of the problem. So, when packing for the trip, be sure to include the following tools:
- Magnifying device
- Plastic bags
- AND Supply of permethrin-based insect repellent
2. Get Bed Bug Nosey
Elimination of bed bugs is difficult to say the least, often taking two or three weeks to fully control. Just because a hotel or motel claims a bed bug treatment was done recently, that doesn’t ensure success. Push for details on the when and why, and request documented conclusions concerning any recent site-related bed bug encounters.
3. The Bed Bug Traveler’s Inspection
Never assume a “no-risk” situation. Before carrying your belongings into any hotel, motel or dormitory room, perform a personal bed bug inspection of that room. Use the magnifier and the flashlight. Look for signs of bed bug excretion, dot-like black stains, in the:
- AND more, especially near mattress and headboard corners
4. Bed Bugs – The Morning After
Even if all checks came in clean, examine yourself on the morning after. Look for welts, blisters and other signs of bed bug bite marks. Note: Itching may not accompany the problem. So be safe both before and after your stay. Last thing you want is to take the infestation back to your Charlotte home.
Bed Bugs – When North Carolina Travelers Return Home
Bad news. You missed the problem. A handful of bed bugs hitched a ride inside your luggage, and now the infestation is spreading all over your Charlotte home. Or perhaps it wasn’t even your travels that caused the situation. Maybe a neighbor brought them back to their home, and now your kids have brought them back to your home.
Start by spring-cleaning with a purpose. But unless you are facing the very beginning of the problem, DIY bed bug control is the wrong approach. Remember:
- They live for months without food
- The spread like crazy
- Full, confirmed elimination can require weeks of study
Carolina Pest Management has been providing pest solutions in Charlotte for over 75 years. We specialize in pest control and wild life removal in the Carolinas. If you need help eliminating bed bugs from your home, we can help! Contact us for reliable and effective Charlotte bed bug control today.