When you are in the home of someone that you know has bed bugs, the steps you need to take should assure you that you will not be taking any bugs back to your own home.
Make sure you do not sit on that person’s bed or any fabric furniture, like couches or futons. Do not take any chances by sitting or leaning on wooden chairs or furniture, as bed bugs like to hide out in those as well. If you are staying in the house for a while, bring your own chair or stool so you have a place to sit.
Is it possible to get bed bugs from someone else’s home?
All your house needs is one pregnant female bed bug to start an infestation. A house’s cleanliness is not a factor bed bugs consider when choosing a house to infest. All they need are human hosts nearby, and places they can hide in after feeding.
Bed bugs can start a colony in your home starting on your bed or through another object. The most important thing for them is to know where you sleep so they know where they need to go when they need to feed.
A quick visit to a friend’s house may seem harmless, but it is more than sufficient enough to spark an infestation in your home. This is because bed bugs do not need to crawl all the way from one house to another to spread. They can just find a hole or a gap in a person’s luggage and they can find themselves on the other side of the country if they want to. Once that bug finds its way into your house, it will start to lay up to five eggs a day, and in a matter of months, you are facing a full blown infestation.
Fortunately, even if it is a possibility, it is not 100% certain that you will bring home bed bugs after visiting a friend with bed bugs. So, there is no need to completely ban a family member from visiting your house or you never visiting said friend just because they have bed bugs.
What do I do to prepare myself before I visit someone with bed bugs?
If you are close friends with the person you are visiting, it may be best to talk about the elephant in the room. Make sure you are talking in a calm, non-judgmental voice as you ask your friend whether they have bed bugs. If they finally feel comfortable enough to tell you their situation, you can opt to say that you are not comfortable stepping inside their home. Say this in a calm manner that they will understand. Offer them help if they need it for ridding their home of bed bugs.
If you absolutely need to enter their home, avoid placing your things on their bed on any fabric or upholstered furniture, as these are the most commonly infested items in a person’s house.
You can wear plastic protective booties over your shoes. If you do not have those, just bring a second pair of shoes, and make sure you bag the ones you wore in the house and seal it tightly.
Refrain from sitting on fabric furniture or linen. Be wary of cracks on wooden furniture or surfaces because bed bugs love to hide in those. If you can, bring a foldable chair or a small stool with you so you have a place to sit while inside the house. The best place to set the chair is in the kitchen, on the tiled floor or on a non-upholstered chair.
Bring as little with you as possible, because the more things you bring with you, the more things to potentially get infested. Try using a fanny pack to carry your essentials, as this is always strapped to your body, and you will not need to place it on any surface.
After you exit the person’s home, inspect your clothes, shoes, and belongings if you have an unwanted hitchhiker. If you find a bed bug or any other insect, grab a wep wipe and crush it. Wipe down the area where you found the bed bug with another wipe as a precautionary measure.
Remove your plastic protective booties and place them in another plastic bag, seal it, then dispose of properly.
Once you get to your own home, get into your garage and remove your outside clothes and place them in a plastic garbage bag and seal it tightly. Take the bag to your laundry room and place it inside the washer. Open the garbage bag and dump the exposed clothes. Put it through a hot wash cycle then place it in the dryer for 30 minutes at the hottest temperature the fabric material will allow. The water, soap, and heat will kill any bugs or eggs that might have hitched a ride on your clothes.
Avoid places known to have bed bugs
The best way to avoid bringing bed bugs home with you in this situation is to avoid going to infested places. Temporarily declining invitations to visit homes or buildings that have bed bugs is the smart thing to do.
When you are visiting someone who you are aware has bed bugs, make sure you take the necessary precautions to not bring any of those pests home with you.
Upon entering their home, wear plastic booties over your shoes. Do not sit on any of their upholstered or fabric furniture. Avoid leaning on wood furniture. Bring a foldable chair or stool so you can sit while inside the house. The best place to stay in an infested house is in the middle of the kitchen.
Once you get home, wash all the clothes you wore inside the infested house in hot water, and place it in a dryer for 30 minutes. Check your shoes if there are any bed bugs that hitched a ride.
Image: istockphoto.com / PIKSEL