With summer in full swing, chances are good that your kids are going to want to have plenty of sleepovers during the next few months. Sleepovers can be great bonding experiences for kids and can allow them to develop memories and friendships that they will have for life. Beware of the dangers of unwanted guests though, as bed bugs are hitchhikers and can easily go from your child’s best friends’ clothing into your furniture and carpets or from your child’s sleepover gear into your home.
Rising Bed Bug Problem
Bed bug infestations have increased about 500 percent over the last few years. A stigma surrounding bed bugs that they only infest dirty houses is partially to blame for the rise, so don’t get caught up in this. Bed bugs can infest any home and are great at hiding.
Check for Bed Bug Bites
Bed bugs bite odd places, like the stomach, the back, the back of the neck, and the hands. Bed bug bites are usually in a straight line or triangle shape, unlike the random bites of mosquitoes and other summer bugs. Checking yourself and your child for these types of bites regularly can help you stop an infestation before it gets out of control.
Check Your Surroundings
Bed bugs generally hide around beds, so this is the first place that should be checked. Adult bed bugs are about ¼ inch long, flat, and resemble flax seeds. They can usually be found between box springs and mattresses or around the edges of beds, but may also hide in couches, carpets, outlet covers, or other harder-to-see places. In addition to the bugs themselves, signs of bed bug infestation like tiny blood spots and black specs of feces will usually be found on the sheets and in between the mattress and box spring.
Handle the Problem
If you do find bed bugs, call an exterminator. Bed bugs are hard to get rid of and can go up to a year without feeding, so a bed bug infestation is best handled by professionals. All sheets should be washed in hot water and dried in a dryer, as bed bugs can’t live in extreme temperatures.