Summer camp and bed bugs, what moms should know
As summer comes to an end, our campers are enjoying the last of the s'mores, saying goodbye to new friends and packing up their trunks. Before you bring those foot lockers and suitcases into your laundry room, you'll want to be sure bed bugs aren't hitching a ride into your home. Bed bug infestations are on the rise in the last decade, and camp cabins and other close sleeping quarters are frequented by these pests. You can significantly reduce chances of bringing them into your home by following a few simple precautions and pest prevention tips.
First and foremost, if you suspect your camper was exposed to bed bugs, do not unpack inside your home. Instead, unpack trunks or suitcases in an area you can contain your contents, like outdoors or in the garage. A bathtub is the next best alternative. It is easier to spot crawling bed bugs in containted areas.
- INSPECT: Inspect each individual piece of clothing and place into plastic, sealable bags until items can be washed.
- WASH/DRY ON HIGH HEAT: Set washing machine on the hottest water cycle that is appropriate for the clothing and use detergent. Thoroughly dry clothes on high heat or the highest setting appropriate for a minimum of 30 minutes and until completey dry.
- DRY CLEANING: Your camper probably isn't coming home with clothes that require dry cleaning, but in the off chance, those should be placed into a sealed plastic bag. Be sure to mention the possibility of bed bugs to your dry cleaning service so they can take appropriate precautions.
- SOFT LUGGAGE: For suitcases or bags that can be washed, first scrub seams with detergent and brush, using the hottest water appropriate for the fabric before placing in a wash cycle with, again with hottest water setting appropriate.
- HARD LUGGAGE: Luggage that cannot be washed may be heat treated, with 120 degree exposure for at least three hours. Alternately, luggage can be freeze-treated, at 20 degrees or lower and maintained the temp for at least five days. Note that if you place in a household freezer, those temperatures vary between 20 and 30 degrees and should remain a minimum of two weeks.
- PESTICIDES: Never treat clothing with pesticides.
How can you identify and treat common bites and stings?
Even the most diligent homeowners find themselves facing biting bugs and stinging insects from time to time. While you are here, check out the Guide to identify & Treat Bites & Stings. It's a great quick reference guide [Infographic] that you can download or print.
Back to bed bugs... What happens if you do bring these nasty critters into your home? Bedbug treatments and pest control consist of a very thorough inspection followed by a detailed application of product. Liquid residual insecticides, aerosols and dusts are used together to eliminate an infestation. Because they are sensitive to heat, steam can also be an effective tool to combat bed bugs.
Bedbug treatments can cost upwards of $2000. Customers with a Cingo Plan can rest easy knowing that if kids happen to bring these critters home, they are covered at no additional cost. Learn More >>