Preemptive action: what else can I do?(3 posts)
This past weekend I was at my parents house, and within an hour of having returned to my own home, my mother called me to tell me she'd found a bed bug in their house. My parents have never had bed bugs and do not live in an area known for them, but they had recently had visitors who subsequently found out they had bed bugs at their own home, which put them on the alert.
Afraid I might have carried a bed bug from my parents house, I immediately unpacked my clothes and put them in the washer, including the clothes I had on. I washed them with hot water and tumble dried them completely. I took a vacuum hose (don't have a steam vacuum) and ran it over my luggage as thoroughly as I could, then placed it in a trash bag. I did the same with my shoes. Though my luggage hadn't touched my bed, I also went ahead and washed/dried my sheets and comforter to be sure, and vacuumed the mattress and floor.
I haven't seen any signs of bed bug bites or any actual bed bugs, and I feel like I was pretty proactive in trying to eliminate the risk. Still, I'm paranoid. How normal is it to pick up bed bugs on one two-day visit to a house that has them? Is there anything else I can do at this point?
There is a FAQ on what to do if you have been exposed, in the Travel FAQs. While you have done some of these things, have a look and see if there's more you can do.
The other thing is to be alert going forward. It can take a while to notice bed bugs. Early detection is so important, and you can implement some inexpensive monitors (like BBAlert Passive) to help you monitor. If you're really worried about having brought one home, you might look into Bed Bug Beacon active monitors. However, keep in mind that it is possible to visit someone with bed bugs and not bring them home.
There's a FAQ on monitors here.
Finally, did your parents confirm that this was a bed bug somehow? You'd be surprised how often other pests are mistaken for bed bugs. If not, and you can get a photo, we can help ID it.
Thank you for the link. I will try some of the other methods, such as hand-washing my luggage, later today. I am also planning to vacuum out my car. I think the chances I brought something home are slim, but I want to do everything possible.
My parents have not confirmed what they found was a bed bug, but they are going on that assumption because of their visitors. I asked them to send me a picture, but they're terrible with technology and the picture they sent doesn't reveal anything.
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