Bedbug infestations are popping up all around the country. Recently, two Miami Beach hotels were named to the list of the nation's dirtiest hotels
. Are you concerned about bedbugs in your home or in a hotel where you're traveling?
Signs of Bedbugs
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provides the following signs that can help you identify bedbug infestations:
- Small dark spots on fabric. These may be bedbug excrement.
- Tiny white eggshells about 1mm in size
- Skins that nymphs shed as they grow larger
- Live bed bugs
- Rusty or reddish stains on bed sheets or mattresses caused by bed bugs being crushed
Getting Rid of Bedbugs
If you've found bedbugs in your home or business, there are some treatment strategies you can take. The EPA suggests the following strategies:
- Wash and dry bedding and clothing at high temperatures to kill bed bugs.
- Heat infested articles and/or areas through to at least 113 ºF (45 ºC) for 1 hour. The higher the temperature, the shorter the time needed to kill bed bugs at all life stages.
- Cold treatments (below 0 ºF (-19 ºC) for at least 4 days) can eliminate some infestations. Again, the cooler the temperature, the less time needed to kill bed bugs.
- Use mattress, box spring, and pillow encasements to trap bed bugs and help detect infestations.
- Using pesticides found in the EPA's Bedbug Product Search Tool
If you're worried about bedbugs in your home, there are proactive steps the EPA suggests that you take to lower the risk of a bedbug invasion:
- Check secondhand furniture, beds, and couches for any signs of bed bug infestation, as described above before bringing them home
- Use a protective cover that encases mattresses and box springs which eliminates many hiding spots. The light color of the encasement makes bed bugs easier to see. Be sure to purchase a high quality encasement that will resist tearing and check the encasements regularly for holes.
- Reduce clutter in your home to reduce hiding places for bed bugs.
- In hotel rooms, use luggage racks to hold your luggage when packing or unpacking rather than setting your luggage on the bed or floor.
- Check the mattress and headboard in hotels before sleeping.
- Upon returning home from travel, unpack directly into a washing machine and inspect your luggage carefully.