Friday, July 13, 2012
When I was a young girl, my mother always used to send me off to sleep at night with the phrase, "Good night. Sleep tight. Don't let the bedbugs bite!" Of course, when I asked her for further details, she explained to me that there were no bed bugs anymore, but that they had once been quite a problem for people. I was glad to hear these pests were a thing of the past, and my only brush with them was as cute cartoon characters with big eyes and shoes.
Sadly, times have changed, and bed bugs are becoming very much a part of the present. It's time for all of us to be aware that these little buggers can hitchhike into our homes in luggage, furniture, bedding, and clothing...and while anyone who travels is at particular risk, no one is immune. A common place to pick them up is in a hotel room (and they are as plentiful in posh hotels as less posh), but the cargo areas in an airplane can expose you, too. Visitors to your home may bring them along with their suitcases or belongings, and clothing ordered online or purchased in a store might be infested as well. (Many people are putting their new clothing in the dryer on high for 30 minutes right away to kill any insects that may be lurking there.) Used furniture can be a problem, too. Bed bugs have also been found in movie theaters, retail stores, office buildings, restaurants, etc.
It's a major issue all over the country, and these pesky little varmints are extremely difficult to eradicate (as in nigh on to impossible). Apparently it is now against the law to use the insecticides that once wiped them out, with frequent and global travel being another factor. At any rate, those who manage to rid themselves of the critters do so at great expense and hours upon hours of cleaning and heating and alcohol wiping of their belongings. Even then, a stray or two can escape and start the whole nightmare all over again. Of course, this is even worse in an apartment building or dorm, where the spread goes easily from unit to unit.
With that in mind, it seems to me that prevention is the way to go. Because my hubby and I will be traveling a lot more now that he's retired, I just purchased a packtite, which is essentially an enclosed heater that kills bedbugs. After each trip, I am placing my luggage in it to make sure I don't bring any little friends into my living space. It wouldn't hurt to have kids who are home from school or travels do the same before bringing their belongings into your house. And why not packtite new clothes, too? It's easy enough to do. It's also easy to check out every hotel room prior to unloading your stuff there––looking behind the bed board, under the mattress, and in the nightstands. If you see any signs of infestation, simply refuse the room and go elsewhere. Better a few minutes of easy prevention than months of eradication effort with no sure success.
Anyway, just wanted to share what I've learned with all of you! Better safe than sorry comes to mind, as does forewarned is forearmed. To say nothing of an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. And maybe even the early bird catches the worm (or bed bug, as the case may be). Enough axioms for you?? Okay. Done!