If you find out too late that your friend that paid you a visit actually has a bed bug problem in their home, you can prevent an infestation in your home by regularly steaming your couch. You should also regularly inspect your house, especially the areas your friend touched, if there are bed bugs that have set up shop.
If you find out way too late, you may need to hire professional exterminators to take care of the problem.
How can I tell if my friend has bed bugs?
First, you have to remember that this topic may be a sore one for your friend. There has always been a stigma regarding bed bugs. So, you should proceed with this conversation gently and without judgement. You should also know that having bed bugs does not mean that the person has poor hygiene, sometimes they are just unfortunate enough to have been exposed and taken the pests home unknowingly.
It is actually quite difficult to tell if a person has bed bugs without inspecting their bed at their home. You may start suspecting if you see bite marks on your friend’s face, arms, and legs. But it may be hard to be sure that those are from bed bugs because the bites can look just like mosquito bites or hives.
Sometimes the adult bed bugs can hitch a ride on your friend’s clothes, so it is possible to see these apple seed shaped and sized insects on them. Bed bugs also have flat bodies, six legs, and two antennae, but their bodies may be round especially if they have just fed.
What are the signs in my friend’s home that point to them having bed bugs?
If you are close enough to your friend that you have access to their room, you can spot these bugs on their mattress, bed frame, box spring, and headboard. Look closely at the seams and the edges for signs of blood stains on the bed sheets and mattress, fecal stains that look like black ink dots, discarded bed bug shells, and 1mm long oval-shaped bed bug eggs.
Check the furniture that are within six feet of your friend’s bed, especially if they are made of wood, because these are places that bed bugs like to hide in and lay their eggs.
If my friend has bed bugs, does that mean they are not clean?
No, having bed bugs does not equate to having poor personal hygiene. Unlike other pests like rodents, roaches, and flies, bed bugs are not attracted and do not feed on food. Bed bugs feed solely on the blood of humans, and animals if in a pinch. They do not care about food that has been left out on the counter. Even someone with a meticulously clean house can still be infested by bed bugs if they do not catch it in the early stages.
Is it possible to get bed bugs from my friend?
Yes, it is very possible to get bed bugs from your friend. Your friend may have some bed bugs hitchhiking on their clothes. In a severe infestation, bed bugs can find themselves on clothes that a person has left on the floor for several days or weeks. So, any infested article of clothing your friend wears inside your home can harbor these insects.
Even just one pregnant female bed bug can start her own colony and ignite a devastating bed bug infestation if you are not careful.
What do I do if my friend who has bed bugs visits my house?
Sometimes a friend comes to visit unexpectedly and there is no way you could have been able to tell that they had bed bugs. After a few days, you find out that they have bed bugs in their home. Here is what you can do to avoid an infestation in your home.
Make sure you clean everything
The first step to take after having guests over that have bed bugs is to inspect everything in your house and to sanitize as you go. The earliest you are able to do an inspection, the earlier you can catch a possible infestation in its early stages.
To kill two birds with one stone, just think of it as though you are doing your annual deep clean around your house. Remove all unnecessary clutter that may house bed bugs. Make sure you vacuum all the floors, carpet, and fabric furniture in your home. Do not forget to dump the contents of the vacuum in the garbage outside the house.
Remove all the curtains, towels, and linen in your home and place them in garbage bags. Seal the bags with tape tightly. Take the garbage bags and place them inside the washing machine before tearing it up and dumping the linen inside. Put it through the highest temperature wash cycle the material will allow and place them in the dryer also on the highest temperature possible. The heat will kill the bed bugs and their eggs.
Inspect your bed while paying close attention to the bottom of the mattress, bed frame, head board, and box spring. Make sure to check all the small gaps and spaces that can harbor the bugs and their eggs. Look for the bugs themselves, fecal stains, eggs, and shed exoskeletons.
After inspecting the bed, make sure to check the furniture that surround your bed because bed bugs like hiding there too.
If you have inspected your house but you are still worried about having missed some bed bugs, you can always hire a professional pest control service to do an evaluation on your entire property to make sure that there really are no bugs and eggs.
If you had a friend over that you suspect to have had bed bugs, you need to make sure that you do all the necessary steps to avoid an infestation in your home.
Clean your house thoroughly by vacuuming all surfaces, washing all the curtains, linen, and towels, and inspecting your bed and furniture for bed bugs and their eggs.
If you can afford to, hire a pest control company to do a professional evaluation of your property.
Image: istockphoto.com / AntonioGuillem