How to Keep Bed Bugs Out of Your Home

Bed bug infestations are becoming increasingly more prevalent, with pest control companies seeing a sharp increase in the number of bed bug-related calls in recent years. The tiny bloodsucking parasites are transient in nature, traveling in luggage, furniture, and clothing. Once they infiltrate, they are extremely difficult to eradicate. Hotels, motels, theatres, offices, dressing rooms, even hospitals, are reporting issues.

Market Watch is offering some advice on keeping the annoying pests out of your home noting that some 95 percent of the nearly 1,000 U.S. and international pest-management companies surveyed reported encountering an infestation this past year, alone. A 25 percent increase from 10 years ago. National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and the University of Kentucky released the survey. According to Market Watch, removing the pests can run from into thousands of dollars with costs not always being covered by homeowner or renter insurance.

According to the survey, bed bugs are more prevalent in densely populated areas, said Market Watch, noting that bed bugs are the most challenging pests to treat, worse than “cockroaches, ants and termites.” In one case, a house treated by the popular pest-control firm Terminix, was called after the homeowner was bitten when sitting on his couch, wrote MarketWatch. Upon inspection, according to the Ohio region manager, Chris Brundige, bed bugs were everywhere, even in a desk’s interior. “We treated the entire house, took the carpet from off the floor. He got rid of the couch, chair, mattresses. We had to treat all along the base of the walls, the electrical outlets…. They’ll spread right out in a house,” said Brundige, quoted Market Watch.

Concerning the bugs’ rapidly increasing ubiquity, “We’re finding them in seats of movie theaters. I’ve never seen anything like it,” Brundige said, reported Market Watch.

The NPMA advises consumers that bed bugs are: “Flat, brownish or reddish bugs that grow to the size of an apple seed. The marks they typically leave, spots of blood and fecal matter, can look like pepper flakes,” Missy Henriksen, NPMA spokeswoman said, quoted Market Watch. When traveling, said NPMA, among other steps; diligently inspect rooms for bugs and stains they leave on bed sheets; keep possessions off the floor; clean bags and clothing immediately upon arriving home, washing items in hot water and ensuring to dry the items in the dryer, where the high heat can kill bed bugs.

The NPMA also provides suggestions for work and shopping, which, for the most part, involve keeping areas clean and clutter-free, keeping possessions off the floor, hanging clothing on hooks, noting unusual stains, and shaking purchases outside before bringing them inside; wash clothing before bringing any new item in the home.

Henriksen noted that when buying second-hand, such as furniture, consumers are best advised to pass. Other tips can be found at

Many believe the resurgence could be tied to increased travel and the reduced use of powerful pesticides like dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), which was banned in the 1960s, as well as the use of narrow spectrum products targeting specific pests, allowing others to survive. Worse, bed bugs appear to be developing pesticide resistance, leading the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to issue a warning against using outdoor chemicals indoors, said The New Star. Some can have adverse effects on the central nervous system and can cause skin and eye irritation and cancer.

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