Friday, July 13, 2012

Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite!


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!

;)

18 comments:

karen said...

Ewwww... you make me never want to travel again! I actually have checked mattresses at hotels before but (obviously) I haven't seen anything. Such an icky, icky thought.

Momza said...

My daughter Danielle had an awful experience as missionary serving in New Jersey with bedbugs. Those critters made her life miserable...the bites, the infestation of her bedding and clothes was overwhelming. In the end, this is what she & her comp did to get rid of them: They put their shoes in the oven on LOW for 30 minutes. They put their clothing in plastic bags and set them in the freezer for several hours. They did have to get new mattresses/box springs that the mission paid for, and put the bed rail posts in little bowls of vinegar (I think that's what it was) and kept the top of the mattress from touching the walls. It was quite the ordeal.

Eva Gallant said...

I'm counting my blessings! Mr. Eva and I spent 3 weeks on the road last March, staying in different hotels every night, and 33 days on the road 3 years ago, again, different hotels every night and came away unscathed!

Darlene said...

Ugh, almost makes me wonder if I really want to make that long travel trip in Sept. I, like everyone, hate hate hate the thoughts of getting those critters in our luggage, and carrying them home with us. I've never even heard of that gizmo that you say you bought, but maybe that would be a good idea.

Grandma Yellow Hair said...

YIKES and I want to go to Maine in September. lol
Girlfriend you now have me itching as I write this comment.
OH my goodness what a horrible thing to catch and yes I think I too was told that upon going to bed a many a night. lol
I am off now to check on your mom
Love ya
Maggie

Brian Miller said...

this sounds like a great idea...my wifes boss had bed bugs bad at a hotel they went to....ugh...

Stef said...

Okay...so now I can't stop itching and freaking out a little. ...don't know what else to say. Itch...itch...

Grandma Honey said...

Very informative. I read your link all about how to check for bed bugs in hotel rooms. I printed it out and I will take it with us to Oregon in a few weeks. I also went to the gizmo site (as your Mom calls it) and I couldn't understand how that works....I think I need to go back and study it better.
But really Sue, thank you for this!

Pondside said...

I spend so much time in hotels that I am paranoid about bugs. Before I bring my bag into the room I go straight to the bed and pull all the bed clothes back - I check out the bed frame and the wall behind the bed. I get itchy just thinking about it!

Dixie Mom said...

You know, I've never been afraid of travel until I heard of this problem. I really don't want to have to deal with these. I hope your trips are great! Sounds like you are prepared. Thanks for the heads up on a product that might help!

yaya said...

Ok, now I'm itching..wait, it's OK, it's only poison ivy from picking berries. But still..ewwwww

Amy said...

Blech. I read this while eating. It didn't help the flavor of the food at all. Happy to see you found a way to prevent them. I hope times will be like when you were small and they are all dead. What brought them back, do you think?

anitamombanita said...

Makes me itch just thinking about the dirty little buggers.

Cristeen said...

fantastic post and Thanks for sharing this info. It's very helpful.
B&B in Jaipur

Karen Sue said...

my boss's son is a pilot and he has this ritual he goes through when he comes into his hotel room and what he touches and what he doesn't!

Terra said...

THEY CREEP ME OUT! and well, scare me and well...seriously couldn't we just somehow eradicate them? I want one of those things you bought...off to google!

Judi said...

Yikes... I am already a closet hypochondriac, and now I am delivered this bit of trivia!!
Thanks for the warning.
I just went out and bought a new bug free (I hope) suitcase.
Need to duct tape some plastic wrap around my belongings and maybe some bubble wrap as well.
It is a scary world out there!!

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