Thursday, October 01, 2009

Bed bugs, college and green solutions

I had a new experience while delivering my oldest daughter to college this year. We were told to be careful and keep on the look out for bed bugs! The last time I heard about bed bugs was my dad saying, “sleep tight - don’t let the bed bugs bite”. I never took that saying literally!

But I’ve learned that over the past thirty years, bed bug infestations have become an epidemic in college dorms, hotels and household bedrooms across the nation. Mainly nocturnal, bed bugs grow to about five mm in length and are reddish-brown in color. They leave bite marks that can be easily confused with flea or mosquito bites.

Finding bed bugs in your home can be a fairly shocking event, though it seldom points to unsanitary living conditions. Exposure to these pests can occur virtually anywhere, from hotels to movie theaters. The increase of globalization, travel for work and university, coupled with the early 1970s banning of the powerful insecticide, DDT, has led to a rise in bed bug infestations.
Once they’ve made their presence known, bed bugs are difficult to be rid of. They can hide inside walls and furniture, and become dormant, living up to a year without feeding.

Exterminators often visit the same home every three to six months, despite the fact that these bugs will build up a resistance to pesticides over time. Constant exposure to pesticides can be dangerous to your health and your loved ones, leading to severe illness.

One thing you should know is that bed bugs hate steam and intense heat. The Steamboy Floor Steamer, manufactured from the Canadian-based company, Reliable, is a powerful choice in wiping out these bugs and their eggs, without the exposure of harmful chemicals. This steamer comes with microfiber covers that allow for cleaning on a diverse array of surfaces, from hard wood floors, tile, linoleum and direct use on mattresses. The cleaner is built with a triangular, swiveling head, making cleaning under furniture and in corners easy and effective.
Here are some other great tips to help rid you of these difficult pests:

1. Make sure to clear all rooms of excess clutter. This means removing piles of newspapers, books, clothes and toys if you have young children. Once driven from walls, mattresses and bedsprings, bedbugs will hide just about anywhere.

2. Don’t unpack in the bedroom. Take clothing and linens directly from the suitcase to the washer, and submerge items in hot water, drying afterward for about ten minutes.

3. Vacuum suitcases before bringing them indoors. The vacuum cleaner is also a great tool in clearing a room of bed bugs, eggs and larvae from furniture, curtains and all parts of the bed, including bed frame and slats.

4. After allowing areas that have been steam treated or sprayed with all-natural insecticide, wrap all mattresses, box springs and any and all furniture cleaned in plastic coverings, leaving the plastic on for two weeks to ensure that all bugs have perished.

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