Tips to Protect your Home and Family from Bed Bugs
For years, parents have had to be vigilant about trying to protect their children from head lice; now, they may need to be just as cautious about their children bringing bed bugs into the home. Bed bugs have apparently made a comeback as the modern nemesis and are turning up in the most unexpected places.
Whether your child has just returned from an expensive private camp or been on an overnight outing with a friend, it seems that a bed bug is just waiting to catch a ride into your nice, clean home. What is an already overloaded and harried parent to do?
Make Some New Habits
Although there are no simple answers to this question, the following tips might make it less likely that your family will get to star in the next great thriller, “The Revenge of the Bed Bugs.” The whole family needs adopt some new habits that might prevent bed bugs from joining the family circus. These ideas should help:
• Set up a tiled area or wooden box for shoes just inside or outside of the door. Train everyone to remove their shoes before entering the house.
• Prepare a hook on the wall or a space on a counter for purses and backpacks. Leave these in this area at all times and only remove the objects needed for use.
• Change clothing in the bathroom or other tiled area, and wash any new articles of clothing purchased from a retail outlet immediately.
Fight the Great Fight
Bed bugs know how to survive from years of experience. In order to thwart their determined effort to live in your house, it is necessary to put extra energy into defending your territory and protecting your young. The following actions work great as preventative measures:
• Make a weekly visual check of mattresses to see if you spot any tiny reddish brown dots that might indicate the arrival of bed bugs.
• Make the washing of bed clothing a weekly ritual, and use the high heat setting on the dryer.
• While the sheets are washing, vacuum the mattresses, being careful to get all seams and crevices.
• Coat the posts of headboard and footboard with petroleum jelly to provide a barrier for these pests.
• Use a steam cleaner on carpeting, draperies and upholstery at least once a month.
Bed bugs are easier to treat if they are caught early so keep your ears open when out in the neighborhood. This is one instance where gossip might prove to be your best friend. If you hear of other parents in the area who are already involved in a bed bug battle, keep your distance for a while, and decline any invitations for sleepovers for the kids. Bed bugs have great fun jumping from one house to another, and you want to make sure that they never make the leap to yours!