“Ah girl, you know Aunt Tan’s daughter brought back bed bugs with her after her travel? She was bitten quite badly, and it spread to other areas of their home! They also spent quite a sum engaging a pest exterminator, you know?”
I bet many of us has heard of these bed-bug horror stories, or might even experience them personally ourselves. What’s supposed to be a relaxing trip ended up being a nightmare with having to deal with these unwanted ‘souvenirs’.
With Covid travel restrictions lifting and borders reopening in many countries, read on to find out how you can better protect yourself and your home or bed frame in Singapore from bed bugs when you travel.
Even if you’re not travelling, bed bugs infestation can still happen at home. Your house has no history of infestation of bed bugs? That’s great! But don’t rejoice just yet. Bed bugs are great travellers; if they can survive the airplane ride back to your home, they can certainly survive that short trip from the place you visited earlier in the day back to your house.
First, learn how to identify bed bugs from other pests such as fleas and ticks. Bed bugs are tiny, flat insects which are usually reddish-brown in colour. They can neither jump or fly, but they can crawl fast.
They love hiding in mattresses, bed frames, carpets, furniture and amongst the clutter. One easy and obvious sign of bed bugs infestation is the brown and black stains found on your mattresses or linens. Did you know? A single female bed bug can lay 2-5 eggs per day and can produce up to 500 eggs!
Without a professional pest exterminator, it is difficult to fully exterminate bed bugs. Infestation of bed bugs not only affect our lives; it can be costly as well to hire a professional exterminator.
Follow the tips below to lower the possibility of bed bugs infestation whether you are travelling overseas or around in Singapore, and also how to deal with bed bugs!
First thing first, inspect the mattress in your hotel. Whether it’s a super single bed size, queen bed size or a king bed size, inspect every area of it, especially between the seams.
Look for brown or black stains. If you spot any of these, request for a change. Besides mattresses, inspect other areas of the hotel too as they can be hiding in other places as well. Once all is clear, consider placing your bag or luggage in a plastic bag so that you can keep bed bugs from hitching a ride when you leave.
Upon reaching home, wash all your clothing (yes, including those that you did not manage to wear during the trip) and vacuum your suitcase or bag before storing them. If you have a garment steamer, use them to steam your luggage. This can kill any bed bugs or eggs laying around.
That’s right, clothing stores can be infested by bed bugs too!
As with the mattresses, look for any brown or black spots on the clothing before trying it on. To minimize the chances of bedbugs hitching a ride home with you, hang your clothes on the hooks instead of laying them on the carpet floor or cushion seats inside the fitting room.
If you are getting a new piece after trying, inspect that piece of clothing again. Pay special attention to the seams of the clothing and look for stains and sticky white eggs.
It’s also a good practice to wash your newly bought clothing in hot water upon reaching home. These clothings are mass-produced in factories and would probably have accumulated tons of dust and bacteria before reaching your hands. Therefore, washing your new clothing not only kill any bed bugs that you might not see, it get rids of the dust and bacteria too.
Sun your mattresses regularly. Put it out for at least 3 – 4 hours under the sun. You can also invest in a good mattress cover for your mattress as covering your mattress with it can prevent bed bugs from infesting your mattress.
Tidy and declutter your house on a regular basis as well so that it eliminates hiding places for bed bugs. Look around the house for crevices or cracks and seal them up. Doing this can prevent any bed bugs from your neighbouring unit to move into your home through these crevices.
If you have any secondhand items such as sofas, check for any signs of bed bug infestation before purchasing or bringing it home. If you own pets, inspect areas where your pets usually sleep for any signs of bed bugs.
In the event of bed bugs:
- Inspect the infested area and its surrounding. This would give you an idea of the area of infestation.
- Anything you remove from the room subsequently to a new place should be kept in a sealed plastic bag and treated to prevent the spreading of bed bugs. For larger items such as furniture, try eliminating the bed bugs.
- If furniture is to be discarded, do it responsibly so that others will not attempt to bring it home. You can either warn others of bed bugs or destroy parts of the furniture so that it’s unusable.
- Place the legs of your bed in small plastic containers. This can contain bed bugs within your mattress or prevent bed bugs from other areas to infest your bed as they’re not good climbers.
Home cleaning methods
You can kill bed bugs easily with high heat Wash your fabric in hot water for 30 minutes. For the rest of the items such sofas with no removable cushion covers, use a steamer. You can also leave your sealed items in the freezer. It is recommended to leave your item for at least 4 days.
For mattresses, it’s usually recommended to discard the current one and purchase a new one. Sleep is important so choose your mattress wisely with this guide!
If the above methods do not work: Engage a professional from a pest control company. Although there are various methods to try out at home, it would be best to get professional help to contain the bed bugs and to prevent them from infesting other areas of the house.
Besides checking your beds regularly, remember to declutter and clean your closets to keep other nasty pests away!