People often associate house insects such as spiders and cockroaches with bad hygiene and rightfully so. In the houses that are cleaned, vacuumed and have the trash taken out every day you will rarely find roaches or ants. However, if your neighbor is not that tidy, you will still have a hard time getting rid of those parasites. And there is a whole category of insects and bugs that are just inquisitive by nature and fly, crawl or jump in, searching new unoccupied habitats. So there are basically two types of insects that can infiltrate your house – low-hygiene attracted (roaches, ants, fleas, flies and some types of spiders) and those that just happen to get into your house because of adverse weather (for winter hibernation) or general favorable conditions (your house being a suitable place to live in). The second group is much larger – spiders, grasshopper, mosquitoes and so on.
Let’s take mosquitoes as an example: it matters little whether you wash the clothes or vacuum the floors daily if you live next to a lake or a river. You will still have lots of mosquitoes and you will need to take special precautions against exactly these insects.
I would generally classify bed bugs to the second group even though they seem to be like some of the representatives of the first (fleas) and can cause much discomfort at night. Still, there is little direct connection between bed bug infestation and hygiene. That’s not to say that keeping a high standard to hygiene is still worth the effort. Whereas, you won’t probably totally prevent your house from bed bug infestation, you will be able to identify it as such within several hours instead of weeks or months. When you have all kinds of insects in your room, it’s hard to say what bit you because the marks are almost the same. But if you know for a fact that you have just occasional flies and nothing else, you will be alarmed if you woke up one day with small red itching bites on your legs and arms.
However, there are some tips that will help you better your chances of keeping you house safe from bed bugs. Some of them could be considered as hygiene suggestions, while others are just prudent measures:
- Inspect things or clothes that are brought from a potentially contaminated place. Look out for bed bugs or their tell-tale signs, like fecal spots and nests. It is fairly simple to kill these annoying bugs by throwing them out of your house or processing the clothes in the hot water washing machine cycle;
- Just like in the case of blood-sucking forest ticks, check the clothes and baggage of travelers, especially if there is an outbreak of bed bugs in the region;
- Inspect the outer cracks in the building;
- Get rid of other carriers of parasite agents such as mice, rats, birds, and bats. They can bring to your house not only bed bugs but a bouquet of even more harmful insects;
- Inspect, and carefully clean, all second hand furniture, beds, mattresses and linen. The use of second hand contaminated bedding is number one cause for bed bug infestation and you would do well not to use it;
Apply basic sanitation measures if you have discovered infestation, such as:
- vacuuming the floor;
- emptying the vacuum cleaner container outside;
- washing clothes in hot water;
- sealing wholes in plastering to prevent nesting;
- brushing the mattress;
- using a zipper mattress cover;
- getting a new bedding;
- using glue boards is less effective but possible;
Hygiene is very important in being in control of your house but you will probably still need the help of a professional if you have a bedbug infestation on your hands.