Having bed bugs is a horrible thing. Not only do they leave itchy bites, they tend to disrupt sleep and leave one feeling frustrated. All of this is normal after finding out you have them. There are lots of things to be concerned with including treating your bites, getting rid of them, and making sure that you keep them away once you have gotten the job done. However, in that process you also need to make sure that you are keeping them to yourself. Bed bugs are something you shouldn't really wish upon your friends, family, or even your worse enemy so it is best to keep them to yourself.
Properly Dispose of Items.
The first thing you need to make sure is that whenever you dispose of an item you make sure you do so in a way that won't be giving bed bugs to your neighbors or to the stranger that digs through your garbage bin hoping for nice stuff for free. To do this you should always seal the items in plastic bags or by wrapping plastic around them and duct taping all the openings. This will keep the insects inside so you don't risk spreading them (around your home) or to the neighbors as you move the furniture to a new location. Each item should then be marked in a way to show others who might need a new mattress or a new couch that the item has bed bugs. See the article on properly disposing of infested items for more information.
Removing Items From The Home.
Some people want to reduce the amount of stuff that they have after finding out that they have bed bugs and they consider moving it to an out building or the garage while others have been told that putting their stuff out on the lawn will allow the sun to kill the blood sucking insects. In either case these actions are likely to spread bed bugs throughout your own home making them harder to get rid of and may even cause some of the bed bugs (they won't all pack up and move, sorry) to move or migrate to neighboring buildings. Bed bugs have the amazing ability to travel long distances both by walking and by hitching rides. If you want to put anything outside or in another building you need to make sure that you first treat it to get rid of the bed bugs (vacuum items that can't be placed in the dryer for 20 minutes or more and dry items that can) and then placed in a black trash bag and sealed with duct tape. A second bag will make it even more secure.
Preparing for Guests.
Guests who come into the home for short visits aren't likely to take bed bugs home with them because many of the areas that they visit aren't likely to have very many of these pests. However, it is best if you can make sure that you aren't sending them home with more that they bargain for. It is best to vacuum all furniture in the living room and dining room before the guests arrive and then seal what the vacuum cleaner collected into a trash bag and tape it close. Disposing it in an outdoor trash bin right away is also the best option, though you do want to make sure that you have sealed it in a way that the bed bugs aren't likely to escape.
Leaving the Home.
Leaving the home isn't a really likely time that you will spread them, but it is a good idea to do a quick look at your clothes for the pests. Every now and again a bed bug might be trying to hitch a ride to a new home via the clothing that you are wearing. Kill any of them you find and know that you are protecting others. Some worry about their cars, but this isn't usually a huge concern because cars get too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter while many spring and fall temps also get too cold at night to keep bed bugs alive.
Protecting Those That Spend More Time At Your House.
Some people who come into your house are likely to spend more time there than the casual guest. This may include close friends, grandchildren, visiting cousins, and other family members. In these cases it is important that you are careful not to send them home with the bed bugs.
- Have them bring items over in a plastic bag rather than a suitcase or back pack. This will make it easier to make sure that their luggage isn't hiding any unwanted travelers.
- Before they leave you should do a visual inspection of the clothing that they are wearing to make sure that they aren't taking any bed bugs with them on their person.
- You should throw all clothing, bedding, and other soft items that they have with them in the dryer for at least 20 minutes prior to them leaving. It is best to then seal them in a plastic bag with duct tape so more bugs can't get on them.
- For frequent visitors it is a good idea for them to get borax or diatomaceous Earth and put it down around the base boards in their house. Have them put it behind the couches, chairs, and beds. This will kill any bed bugs that might possibly come over before they have the chance to multiply.
For When You Travel.
The other time that you need to be concerned about spreading bed bugs is when you travel. Bed bugs have gotten so far because one person brings them to a hotel where they go home with three others and so on. Make sure you aren't adding to this by being careful how you travel.
- Carefully vacuum your luggage before you begin. Make sure that you get every crack, crevice, and pocket. Then place it in the trunk of your car. You want to take items to it rather than leave it out for other travelers to use.
- Inspect each item that isn't clothe before putting it in your suit case. If you are collecting items in the house then you should inspect them and seal them in a plastic bag. Once you have collected the items that you want in that bag take it to the suitcase in the back of your car and add it to your collection of bed bug free items going with you.
- Put all soft items in your dryer for 20 minutes on high heat. Then either run them to the suitcase right away or add them to a sealed plastic bag to make sure that they don't get bed bugs again.
By following these steps you can make sure that you don't give bed bugs to others. You don't want to spread the problem. More and more people are getting bed bugs and each who does really needs to work hard not to spread it to others.