Bedbug Safety and Prevention Tips
Bed bugs are making a big-time comeback and can show up just about anywhere. They can be a challenge to prevent because of their small size, night habits, and ability to hitchhike. Here are some tips to get you started:
- Be on the lookout for signs of infestations such as: waking up with bites; seeing live bugs; or dark red or black spots on bedding, carpets, walls and furniture. Finding bed bugs early is the key to preventing their spread.
- Paint and caulk around sleeping areas – such as along baseboards, windows and bed frames – to seal hiding spots.
- Inspect used furniture closely before bringing in to your home. Look for signs of infestations in cushions, zippers, seams, and underneath including springs and frames. Use a magnifying glass if possible. Beware of items in alleys and dumpsters.
- Take a look around mattresses and furniture when staying in an unfamiliar place. Bed bugs can hitch a ride home on your clothing or luggage.
- If you are renting and suspect an infestation, notify your landlord immediately.
- Work with your landlord to get problems corrected quickly and prevent the spread of bed bugs.
- Do not attempt to eradicate an infestation yourself with over-the-counter pesticides. Misuse of pesticides and foggers, besides potentially being hazardous to your health, will not only be ineffective but could even make the problem worse.
Preventing Bed Bugs
Use these tips below to help prevent the spread of these small bugs that create big problems.
- Check your home for bed bugs to make sure you don’t already have them. They can be hard to spot, but the best place to check is in the corners of your mattress and in your pillow cases. Little spots of shedding skin and fecal matter can be seen if you have bed bugs. Bed bugs hide during the day, and come out to eat at night. They feed on blood, so look for small red marks on your arms, legs and ankles.
- The brass bed was invented as a means to prevent the spread of bed bugs. Bed bugs are excellent climbers, but need something to grab on to, and brass bed frames make it impossible from them to climb up and reach you.
- DO NOT TRY TO GET RID OF BED BUGS YOURSELF. If you find your have bed bugs, call an exterminator or let your building manager know immediately. Treating them yourself will likely not work completely, and you could danger yourself and neighbors as well.
- Make sure to check on any elderly relative or neighbors you have. Seniors often do not see bed bugs and can also have a hard time feeling the sting or their bites. Make sure to keep an look out for seniors you know and check for signs of bed bugs in their home.
- Bed bugs are a serious issue throughout Chicago, so please make sure the city is aware of any case of bed bugs in your home or building. You can contact our office to report bed bug sightings by calling (773) 784-5277.
If you need additional resources, please take a look at the City of Chicago webpage.
Our office has received an “uptick” of tick reports in the community. Please be mindful of these bugs as they can potentially lead to cases of Lyme Disease and other dangerous illnesses. Follow these tips below to help prevent you and your loved ones from these arachnids (they are not insects and are most closely related to spiders).
- Checking for the bugs:
- Check the legs and ankles first, before moving up the body. A systematic way of checking yourself helps eliminate the chance of missing ticks, especially the smaller deer ticks. (Ticks do not jump, they are picked up in passing. The majority of ticks will be on the lower half of your body.)
- Check beneath the top few inches of your socks. Men should roll the leg hair back slowly, and check at the hair roots for deer ticks.
- Check up the legs, on the backside of your knees, around the waist of your pants or shorts, before checking the arms.
- Also make sure to check your pets, especially dogs, for ticks. Dogs are often the first family-member to bring ticks into a household. Use the tips above on your canine after walks.
- Pay attention to timing and location. The risk of picking up a tick is worst in the morning and late afternoon; they don’t like to ‘hunt’ in the heat of the day. They also prefer Southern exposures, being uphill, and areas where brush meets grasslands.
- Rake up, shred and compost your fall leaves
- Keep bird feeders away from the house. Birds can carry ticks, and spilled seed attracts lots of potentially tick-carrying vermin.
- What to do if you find a tick:
- Make sure that your doctor or your animal’s veterinarian is aware of the issue. They would be the best to recommend how you can remove the tick.
- It is important to know that attempting to remove the tick yourself can often lead to part of the tick being left under the skin, one of the main causes of infections such as Lyme Disease.
- Holding a lighter near the tick can cause it to remove itself, but again, please check with your medical caregiver before attempting to remove the tick yourself.
- Reporting tick sightings:
- If you find yourself or a loved one infested with ticks, please reach out to your medical caregiver immediately.
- But also let our office know of the suspected location where the infestation occurred. Our office will work with the city to make sure that that area is cleared of the infestation to prevent future issues with other neighbors.
Thanks to Safer Pest Control Project, a City of Chicago delegate agency.
For more information, please visit www.spcpweb.org.