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Do you remember the great bed bug invasion of 2010? The Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention described it as an alarming resurgence, and people were in a panic about these invasive little critters infesting their homes.
I was no exception. I heard bedbugs could climb onto your clothes at the movie theater. I heard they could jump onto you while you rode the bus. I heard they could hitch a ride while you were sitting on a plane. I started refusing to let anyone sit in “street clothes” on my bed, and everything had to be thoroughly washed whenever I came home after a trip.
Well, it turns out that bedbugs have more hiding spots than I ever realized. Here are just a few of bed bugs’ favorite spots to hang:
Yes, your office could be a bedbug hotel. In a survey conducted by the National Pest Management Association, it was found that office buildings are the third most common spots for bed bugs to be found, according to Consumer Reports. (Homeless shelters and nursing homes top the list).
However, don’t fret just yet. Just because the NPMA found bedbugs in many offices does not mean that you should panic. It’s unlikely that bedbugs can truly flourish in a non-bed environment, so a true infestation won’t be happening in your cubicle.
But if you are concerned about bedbugs at your workplace, make sure to hang your coat up off the ground as well as away from other people’s coats and belongings. And of course, change out of your clothes before hopping into bed.
Libraries, Used Bookstores
Eeek! My kids and I love going to the library and the used bookstore for discounted treasures. But bedbugs can hide in the binding of these books. This list tells you the warning signs of bed bugs in your books, especially dark spots (bed bug poop!) on the pages.
If you are concerned about welcoming any uninvited guests, heat-treat your borrowed and used books. Leave them in the back of your car on a hot day, or stick them in the oven for an hour. (Books are generally safe in high heat, but don’t leave the oven unattended.)
As mentioned above, nursing homes are a hotbed for bedbug activity. In fact, pest professionals have reported a 50% increase in bedbugs in nursing homes since 2010, according to Consumer Reports.
Part of the problem is that older individuals tend to have less of a reaction to bed bug bites, as their immune systems are weaker. Additionally, their poor eyesight could make it hard for them to see bedbugs, which are tiny to begin with. This could mean that nursing home residents have bedbugs without realizing it, which means the problem cannot be quickly treated.
If someone you love is in a nursing home, and you are concerned about bedbugs, you can use a bed beg monitoring device, such as ClimbUp Interceptors, which will tell you if any bed bugs (or other creepy crawlies) are near your loved one’s bed, as well as what direction they may be coming from.
You can also use bedbug-proof bedding, which will protect the mattress and keep bed bugs from being able to enter and make a nest.
Schools, Daycares, Dorms
Here’s another place that bedbugs like to congregate … around kids. Whether you are concerned your son’s elementary school or your eldest daughter’s college dorm, there are many things you can do to help prevent your risk of bringing bedbugs home. Make sure to wash any clothing or stuffed animals that your child takes to school in hot water, as cool water doesn’t kill all the bugs, especially if you air-dry.
And tell your college kid(s) not to fold and sort their laundry in communal laundry rooms, advises Brick Underground. While it’s unlikely you’ll get bedbugs from shared washing machines (especially if you use hot water and especially if you heat-dry), the little critters could be hiding in cloth carts or hampers in the dorm laundry room.
If your child is really concerned, they can lay out a clean white sheet on the floor of their dorm room, and then fold their laundry on top of it. This will make it easy for you to see if any bed bugs hitched a ride from the laundry room.
However, experts say that there is really not much reason to obsess about a bedbug following you home from work or school. And even if you do see one bedbug, that doesn’t mean you have an infestation on your hands! So take precautions, but don’t stress too much.
Lastly, and check out the Bed Bug Registry to you want to see if a hotel, apartment or other public location has been linked to bedbug activity. Bedbugs have been around for thousands of years, but they are no match for today’s technology!