The One Thing You Do Every Day That Could Bring Bed Bugs Inside Your Home
Don't make this mistake and end up with a nasty and costly infestation.
You might be under the impression that bed bugs can only be transferred to your bed after you've laid on another infested mattress or sat on a couch crawling with the insects. But unfortunately, that's just a common misconception about bed bugs. These dreaded pests can latch on to just about any item and hitchhike their way around until they find a plush mattress or comfy cushion to settle into. In fact, experts warn that there's one thing you do every day that could be bringing bed bugs into your home. To make sure you're not accidentally opening up your home to these insects, read on.
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Bed bugs can travel through mail and packages.
If you open your mail and packages indoors, you could be bringing bed bugs into your home, experts warn. "Bed bugs love places that are enclosed because they offer them a place to hide. They particularly love cardboard boxes and envelopes, so it's possible for them to sneak inside packages and mails," says pest control expert and entomologist Ryan Smith.
Another pest control expert, Jack Miller, explains that "bed bug infestations happen similarly to how a virus spreads," so if the person putting your package together has bed bugs or your mail comes in contact with another parcel that has bed bugs, they can easily be transferred over. "It's all in the luck of the draw, and some people aren't so fortunate," Miller warns.
Always open your mail and packages outside.
"As a precaution, always open mail and packages outside your home to check for any creepers and prevent them from infesting your house," Smith advises. Open your mail at your mailbox or slice open your packages on your stoop to avoid a costly and gross infestation.
Although the experts acknowledge that this is an inconvenience and may not be possible every time, opening your packages and mail outdoors can save you a lot of trouble down the line.
Always inspect your mail and packages for bed bugs.
After opening your mail or packages, experts suggest you do a quick scan for bed bugs or any other creepy crawlers, for that matter. "A thorough examination of new purchases is essential, especially bedding or mattresses," says pest management expert Jordan Foster. He also suggests washing any shipped clothing before wearing it and drying it at more than 130 degrees Fahrenheit since bed bugs and their eggs will die at that temperature.
If you do find bed bugs in your parcel, you need to take "immediate action," Miller warns. Since a bug may have already gotten past you and into your home, he says you should wrap your mattress with a bug-proof encasement for a bit, constantly vacuum (and throw out the bags after use), and wash the clothes you were wearing at the high heat Foster recommends.
Bed bugs can also enter your home via your suitcase or secondhand furniture.
After traveling, you could be bringing home more than just souvenirs with you, seeing as thousands of hotels and Airbnbs across the country have bed bugs. The bugs may be on you, or they could be on your luggage, which is why Smith suggests you leave your luggage outside or in the garage until you can properly check it for bed bugs.
Smith also says that picking up curbside furniture or thrifted items could be risky as well. So you should always disinfect these items before bringing them inside your home.