Beware the Uninvited Holiday Guest: Tips for Dealing with Potential Bed Bug Problems

Are you expecting guests this holiday season? If so, you might find yourself in the uncomfortable situation of having to play host to some unexpected tag-a-longs: bed bugs. Bed bugs are becoming an increasingly problematic issue for people everywhere. If you want to minimize your chances of having a bed bug infestation this holiday season, follow this guide.

1.) Ask guests not to bring their own linens and pillows.

Take a quick trip to a home goods supply store and stock up on a few extra pillows, blankets, and sheets. That way, you have plenty of bedding to go around for your house guests. Let guests know that you have everything they need so that they don't bring their own. That could go a long way toward keeping someone from accidentally transferring bed bugs from their house to yours. Keep in mind that many people aren't aware that they're even harboring the bugs—a lot of people will dismiss the bites as a contact rash for a while, especially if the infestation has just gotten started.

2.) Put stuffed animals in the dryer.

If some of your guests have children, there's likely to be a stuffed animal or two that has to come along for the trip. Unfortunately, plush toys are a favorite hiding spot for bed bugs—which means that they can easily hitch a ride to your house. On the bright side, cleaning them is also fairly easy: run every stuffed  through the dryer on medium to high heat for 30 minutes. That should kill any bed bugs that might be hiding inside their fur or stuffing.

3.) Inspect your home after the visit.

Even your best efforts at keeping out bed bugs can fail because they're notoriously good at hiding in even the thinnest crevices. After your guests leave, do a visual inspection of the guest rooms. You can frequently find bed bugs (if they're there) by looking around for tiny dark spots or stains on bedding. Those show signs that mature bed bugs have been feeding at night. Also keep a sharp eye out for small white eggshells, clear casings from shedding bugs, and live brown insects. 

4.) Call an expert if you find a bed bug.

A little advance planning this holiday season can help you avoid the whole issue. Unfortunately, if you do find a bed bug after your guests are gone, you can bet that there are more hiding out somewhere. Whatever you do, however, don't go pitching your mattress and pillows out the door right away. In fact, dragging infested bedding or mattresses through your home could make the problem worse by letting the bed bugs spread instead of keeping them contained to the guest rooms.

Instead, call a professional pest control company for help. Because bed bugs are evolving rapidly, and experts are seeing new resistant strains of bugs that don't die when exposed to a lot of the readily-available chemicals. You'll save yourself a lot of time, effort, and money by getting an expert involved from the start. For more advice on how to prevent or treat a bed bug problem, talk to a pest control expert like Arab Termite and Pest Control in your area.