Most non-professionals tend not to know too much about bed bugs. After all, what is there to know? It’s all in the name: bed bugs. But how do they get to a bed in the first place? For bugs that are famous for staying in one relatively small rectangle for their entire lives, they sure seem to get around!
Bed bugs are notoriously canny travelers. In fact, the number one way they spread from bed to bed is by sneakily hitchhiking from traveller to traveller, infecting every hotel, home, and (unfortunately) car in their wake. Here’s what you should know about the blood-loving, bed-burrowing backbiters’ tourist proclivities, and how you can keep from giving them a free ride into your home.
Why Do They Travel?
Bed bugs don’t wind up traveling because they want to, necessarily. It’s more of a logical consequence of their behavior. Bed bugs don’t like being exposed. They naturally seek out dark, warm, and enclosed places. They’re known for infesting beds because beds meet all their criteria.
When bed bugs travel, it’s usually because their hiding place is transported while they’re inside. Furniture, beds and bedding, boxes, bags, backpacks, wardrobes, and clothing are prime hiding places. The reason they’re a notorious problem in hotels is because they love to hide in suitcases. Hotel bed bugs squeeze into the bag. When the owner of the suitcase goes back home, they take the pest with them!
How Do They Get In?
Bed bugs like remaining motionless, but that doesn’t mean they won’t move. As you might suspect, the pests are nocturnal, so they move around and hunt for prey at night. Usually, what will happen is an unsuspecting transporter will pick up a hitchhiker or two in a suitcase or piece of furniture. The unfortunate victim will pack the pest’s hiding place into their car.
At that point, the bed bug will move from its hiding place into another inside the car itself. From there, they can infest the car for a long period of time, or eventually get into the home. Bed bugs are most active in the early morning, around 3 or 4 am. They don’t move particularly quickly, but they can climb sheer surfaces easily. Look for them in nooks and crannies, especially dark, warm ones.
What Can They Do in My Car?
Bed bugs feed over long periods of time, and they can’t latch onto people like ticks can. The only truly vulnerable target in a car are sleeping passengers. That’s not to say having bed bugs in your car is harmless. The psychological stress shouldn’t be underestimated. You don’t want to drive around bloodsucking pests like you’re their personal chauffeur.
Worst of all, bed bugs in a car rarely stay there long. Instead, they’ll find good hiding places in transportable items like boxes and bags. When you move those items, the bed bugs will come with them. Bed bugs in a home almost inevitably end up finding a bed, and then you do have to worry about them feeding. Unlike mosquitoes or ticks, bed bugs aren’t known to transmit diseases, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be comfortable providing a bloody meal while you’re sleeping.
How Do I Stop Them?
Preventing bed bugs is all about vigilance and cleanliness. Clean out and vacuum your car frequently. Shampoo floor mats, and replace them if they look frayed or damaged. Look for places where the pests might hide. Clean them especially thoroughly. Don’t miss the small crevices. Consider what you’re putting in your car carefully, especially when you’re traveling. Inspect bags and suitcases after staying somewhere new.
When you return home, take everything out of your car and inspect it. Don’t leave boxes and bags in your car overnight. Throw anything you suspect may harbor bed bugs into your dryer for about 20 minutes. To be really sure, look for them in and around your bed for a few days after a trip. If you find any, clean out your car again along with your bed.
All these anti-bed bug tips may sound paranoid, but a little extra work now could save you from a lot of work later. We can deal with infestations no matter the size, of course, but we bet you’d rather not have to call us in the first place. Don’t worry, we don’t take it personally.
If you do end up with bed bugs–in your car, your home, or anywhere else–don’t hesitate to give us a call. We have the experience and expertise to solve any kind of pest problem safely, quickly, and effectively. Don’t let the bedbugs bite; and don’t let them ride, either!