Hurricane Relief: How to Stay Clear of Bed Bugs
Hurricane Florence, a Category 4 Hurricane, draws closer to the East Coast and targeting the Carolinas with some are calling “catastrophic flooding”. As this storm gets closer to the main land, those that are not evacuating are seeking shelter at local relief centers or boarding up their home and hoping for little to no damage. Although in Cleveland, OH, we will only get the aftermath of rain showers to follow, we wish safety upon those that will be affected by this extreme dangerous hurricane.
If you are still seeking shelter from Hurricane Florence with a furry family member, here is a list of Pet Friendly Evacuation Shelters in the Georgia, North and South Carolina areas.
While staying in local hurricane relief centers, it is important to be grateful and thankful to those that volunteer their help, but you will also have to ensure that after the storm, you do not bring bed bugs back home. An adult bed bug, not to be confused of other insects, are the size of an apple seed and are of mahogany brown color. Their molted shells will be a clear yellowish color and eggs will look like little white dots.
With a higher population density comes easier transportation for bed bugs, which can cause an outbreak or infestation in an entire building, such as a relief center from inclement weather. It only takes one person to place their infested bag or belongings on a pile of clean towels or a community couch to cause an outbreak.
Here are some tips and tricks that can help you prevent bed bugs from infesting your belongings while you take shelter from Hurricane Florence:
Check Community Beds Immediately
Bed bugs are notorious for taking refugee in mattresses and take any being that is pleasantly sleeping on that bed as their food source. Be sure to check and inspect the following places on any bed before placing your belongings on it or sleeping..
- Mattress creases,
- Around or underneath the mattress,
- Bed frame
- Cracks in the frame,
- Box spring,
- Behind baseboards,
- Folded areas of the bed
Rule of Thumb: Do not sit place your belongings on any furniture before you thoroughly inspect it.
If you have an infestation in your home (and you may not even know it), a bed bug travels with you, whether it be on your purse, clothing, a suitcase, or any other item that is ideal for hiding. A person that may have bed bugs in their home, could place their infested suitcase on a piece of community furniture. It only takes but a few minutes for those bed bugs to travel to that couch, table, or bed. Now when you place your belongings on it, it will more than likely become infested with bed bugs.
Always inspect any community piece of furniture before sitting there or placing your belongings on it. Some places to look:
- Cracks or holes in wood
- Underneath seat cushions
- In the creases or seams of a couch
Place your personal items or luggage on items that are hard plastic or have concrete surfaces. These type of surface lacks warmth and places for a bed bug to hide.
Stay Clear of Suitcases
For those taking shelter in relief centers from this nasty hurricane, a suitcase or bag is needed to take your necessities and sacred items with you. Unfortunately, suitcases are a hotspot for bed bugs due to their numerous creases and dark places to hide. For those people that may have an infestation at their home, it is likely their bed bugs have already invaded their suitcase.
So when you are in a community room or a place where others have their things, do not touch or rub against other peoples suitcases or other belongings. It only takes one fed female to start a population of bed bugs.
Before and After the Relief Center
After taking refugee in a local relief center, where you are sharing a place with, what may be, hundreds of others, it is recommended to take the following steps to ensure that you do not bring bed bugs back into your home.
Step 1: Place a clean set of clothing for each family member in a sealable bag when packing to go to the relief center. These will be your outfits that you will wear after you leave.
Step 2: After you leave the center, change into your outfits that were in the sealable bags. This ensures all clothing that you are wearing into your home do not have a chance of being infested.
Step 3: Immediately go to the laundromat and dry all clothing or fabric items that were taken to the shelter on the highest heat level available for at least one hour. Even if you didn’t use something, you will want to dry it anyways.
For those affected by the incoming weather and Hurricane, we, at Bed Bug BBQ, wish you safety and the best luck in your travels or sheltering. We hope that this bit of bed bug knowledge will take, even if it is a little, some relief in your ventures.
If you would like to read more on Bed Bug Outbreaks and Prevention, you can find more articles here.