Friday, March 1, 2019

How To Avoid Getting Bed Bugs

I've wanted to write about this for a long time but I've always hesitated for some reason. 
It's not a fun subject to talk about. It can give some the heebie jeebies.
With the eradication of DDT, bed bugs have been on the rise. 
Bed bugs are very crafty which is why they have resurfaced after near extinction. 

  • There are things to do while you are staying at a hotel, bed and breakfast, or vacation home rental, kid's camp
  • Check the corners of the sheets and mattress for any signs of bugs or dark black spots. 
  • If you see something, call the management. It's best to leave your luggage on a tile surface. They don't like tile. 
  • Never, ever put your luggage on the bed. 

What you do with your clothes and luggage when you get home is the most important aspect. I'm not an exterminator and my advice should not be taken as professional but Bill and I are in a season of life where we want to travel. We are traveling more often, so we always follow these precautions. 

Here are my tips: 
  • We do not bring our suitcases into the house after a trip. 
  • We leave them in the garage. If you live in an apartment. I'd take the suitcase out to the balcony and unpack from there. 

  • We unpack and sort our clothes on the garage floor. 
  • We undress in the garage. Put an extra set of clothes in there so you are ready to change when you return.
  • Each load of laundry is put in the washing machine as soon as it is brought in. I use a plastic garden tote without holes in it. 
  • We wash everything on hot and put it in a dryer for at least 45 minutes. 
  • You can steam something that is not able to go into the dryer. However, bring clothes that can go in the dryer to be on the safe side. 
  • If you have small children, their favorite pillow, blanket or stuffie has to be washed and dried before they take it to their bed! This is a must. 

  • We inspect our toiletries before we bring those into the house. 
  • We put our stuff in plastic bags. Items that aren't in plastic can be wiped down with alcohol or washed in hot water. 
  • I've been know to leave toiletry pouches and travel purses in the garage until a really hot day.
  • Shoes stay out as well. I left boots in the attic until after the hot summer once.

One of my purses is still in the garage since our trip to the U.K. 

  • Once the suitcase is empty, we tie it up securely in a black plastic garbage bag. 
  • The attic heat during a Texas heat summer will kill unwanted critters. Leaving garbage bags in a hot car is good too. 
  • If a suitcase has to be used in during the winter, I recommend leaving it in the plastic until it has to be packed. Pack in the garage. 
  • As an extra precaution, I vacuum our room and wash our bedding a day or so after a trip. 
  • We store our vacuum cleaner in the garage.

If you have found this blog post because you have found bed bugs, there is help. 

Your best bet is to contact an exterminator. Treatment, however, is expensive.
The best treatments involve interceptors, chemicals and heat.

There are many  helpful articles on the internet. There are images but beware. You can't un-see that. There is a forum called Bed Buggers. It is a valuable resource. It provides tips on eradication. It's also a great resource for support if you have them and tips if you can't afford an exterminator. There is an emotional toll to an infestation because sleep is often disrupted.
There is a registry where you can check hotels before you travel. Bill and I try to check it before booking a hotel. 

 I've been surprised that this isn't talked about in blogging or YouTubing circles. A lot of influencers bring used furniture and fabrics into their home. There is a risk associated with each acquisition. I no longer feel totally comfortable when bringing old furniture into the house. I used to pull furniture out of the trash.
Nope, nope, nope. Not anymore.

When I got my new night stand, I called our exterminator for tips on what to do. I wanted them to come out and inspect it for me but they wouldn't. They suggested I examine the piece inside and out. They told me to look for tiny white sacks which could contain eggs. These would be smaller than a spider sack. We vacuumed out the piece. I went a step further and treated the piece with stuff from the grocery store. It made me feel better about bringing it into the house.
I've just recently seen discussions in the comment section of YouTube videos warning of bed bugs. There was some misinformation being spread in the comment section.
That is why it's helpful to do your own research even though it isn't fun. 

When I was reading about these disgusting critters, it was widely accepted that new chemicals take 15 years to get from creation to the market. Initially, it seemed like big cities had the worst problems but now, they are everywhere. New York had a high rate of bed bug infestations, they went from 4th in the nation to 8th. I guess it has decreased due to awareness and people being proactive.
Here is the list if you want to see it. DFW went from 15th to 10th.
People travel more than they used to, so these buggers can hitch hike all over the world. 

We want to travel. I want to travel with as little stress as possible. These tips have helped me have peace that I'm doing all we can to travel sans the bugs. 


  1. This is an interesting and fascinating post, one to bookmark. So far, so good on that front but yes, we travel too. Did you ever bring some "home" with you? I can't imagine what that would be like, although a friend did -- she has a 19th century home in Cleveland and it was a mess with the extermination, clothes-dealing and all. These are all great tips. I hope you do NOT speak from the voice of experience in having HAD to adapt them.

  2. I used the travel for work and like you the first thing I did was check the mattresses and my luggage always stays in the bathroom. Been lucky to not have gotten this nasty critters. When I traveled with work I worked for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and when talking with an agent about me checking the mattress and also check the hotel on line before going he told me there is more I should check....meth is a big deal in the south and he told me that I should also be checking between the mattress and box springs. You don't know who could have been cooking meth in that room. They hide the bottles and tubing between the mattress and box springs. Cleaning staff might not find that stuff for weeks after it is hidden....I check the mattress now for bugs but also meth making supplies. Sorry, now I probably gave you more to worry about.

    1. Thanks for the tip. I'd have never thought of that.

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  4. A great and informative post, Katie! Thanks for all the great tips.