Bed bugs have become an increasingly bigger problem since 2000. The problem is that these bed bugs are resistant to the pesticides usually employed to keep their numbers low. Another problem is that bed bugs multiply extremely quickly and can easily get us to transport them from place to place.
Unfortunately, moving is a great way to transport bed bugs. If you don’t want these pesticides in your new residence, you will need to follow the tips in the rest of this article. They will help you keep bed bugs away from your moving day and out of your life for good.
What Are Bed Bugs?
We hear a lot about bed bugs in the news. This is especially true since their resurgence began twenty years ago. The more common bed bug problems become, the more you will hear about this pest.
However, do you know exactly what a bed bug is and what they look like? If the answer is no, you are not alone. Many people are not 100% clear about the identity and characteristics of bed bugs.
Bed bugs are parasitic insects. They are extremely small, about the size of an apple seed. In fact, you may struggle to see them. If you do, they will look like tiny, red-brown dots moving on your mattress or bed linens. Bed bugs do not have wings, so they cannot fly. They do crawl extremely quickly and are nocturnal.
These pests feed on the blood of mammals. The bed bugs we find in our homes prefer human blood. They may also develop a preference for a certain blood type. However, the research is inconclusive in this area.
Bed bugs are most often found in our bedrooms. That is where their favorite meal—us—spends a lot of time. In the bedroom, you will find them hiding in corners of your bed frame, under mattresses, and in furniture cushions.
Why Are Bed Bugs a Problem When Moving?
Bed bug infestations can happen at any time. These clever pests can hitch a ride very easily. The stereotype is that your bed bug infestation began because of travel. Bed bugs are notorious for hiding in luggage. But you can also get a bed bug infestation from moving.
Moving with bed bugs is a more common problem than you think. Going from one residence to another is not a guarantee that your bed bug problems will end. That is why experts recommend that you treat any known bed bug problem before you move.
But if you move without knowing you have bed bugs, the problem is easily transferred to your new home. Bed bugs can hide in furniture, luggage, and boxes. Female bed bugs lay between 200 and 250 eggs in their lifetime, which lasts a few months. That is a huge number of potential eggs hiding in your moving van. Because bed bug eggs hatch in six to ten days, you may not know you have a problem until it is too late.
How to Prevent a Bed Bug Infestation
Bed bugs are extremely hardy. That they lay such a huge number of eggs ensures that they will survive no matter how vigorously you try to remove them. It is always better to try and prevent a bed bug infestation than fix the problem after it has begun.
Here are a few tips to prevent bed bugs from ruining your moving experience. The tips are broken up into three sections—packing, moving day, and unpacking. Doing the recommended actions in each section will greatly reduce your chances of moving a bed bug problem into your new home.
Packing is one of the most important stages for bed bug prevention. If you pack correctly, you won’t have as much to worry about in the other steps. Consider doing the following things as you pack.
- Purchase each mattress and box spring in its own, newly bought, mattress encasement. Do not use the mattress encasements until moving day.
- Pack all of your belongings in clear, sealable, plastic bags. Store each item separately, and clearly label the bags.
- Separate freshly washed items from non-washed items. Make sure to wash and day all machine washable items on the hottest settings. Then mark “clean” on the bags with the freshly washed items.
- Any items that cannot be washed should be stored in their own plastic bags. A good pest control company like Fox Pest Control, can help you determine what to do with these items.
- If you have an existing bed bug problem, do not leave furniture or other items on the curb for your neighbors. You will just be contributing to other bed bug infestations. Put bed bug-infested items you don’t want in plastic bags that clearly state, “bed bugs.”
- Use a flashlight and magnifying glass to inspect all larger, non-washable items for bed bugs.
On Moving Day
The packing process is just the first step. It is a highly important one, but you will need to continue the process on moving day. Yes, moving day is going to be a busy one. Yet, you should do the following things to keep bed bugs from adding even more stress to the day.
- Wash all pets, and then keep them outside or in their carriers so that they cannot pick up more bed bugs.
- Put the mattress encasements on all mattresses and box springs.
- Take a shower and put on clean clothes before traveling to your new home. The old clothes should go in a clear, plastic bag labeled “dirty.”
Finally, moving is done. Now it’s time to unpack. If you’ve done your job right, there shouldn’t be as much to do at this stage.
- Wash and dry all items in “dirty” bags.
- Inspect furniture for signs of bed bugs before bringing them to the new home.
You may also want to contact an exterminator to have them treat your new residence for bed bugs. This precautionary measure is a great way to keep bed bugs from infesting your home.