A bed bug infestation at your sleepaway camp or in your campground cabins would be devastating for a business, not to mention harmful to your guests.
Bed bugs aren’t just creepy. Their bites can be highly irritating to some people, causing swollen, itchy welts that may become infected, and they can carry dangerous blood-borne diseases. Recognizing the early signs of bed bugs in a cabin setting will help you take steps to eliminate them as soon as possible.
Where to Search for Bed Bugs in a Cabin?
Knowing where to look for bed bugs is as important as knowing what signs to look for. Bed bugs got their name for a reason. They like hiding in the warm folds of bed linens and mattress crevices where they can feast on sleeping humans at night and hide during the day. But beds aren’t the only place you can find them.
To be thorough, search for signs of a bed bug infestation in the following places:
- Mattress seams
- Ceiling corners
- Electrical outlets
- Behind posters, photos, and other wall décor
- Any cracks or crevices in wooden furniture, especially older furniture
- Closets/piles of clothes
If you’re in charge of supplying bedding for a camp, consider purchasing white or light linens and blankets. It will make it easier to spot the signs of a bed bug infestation.
Warning Signs of Bed Bugs in a Cabin
For better or for worse, bed bugs do leave behind plenty of evidence if you know what to look for. And let’s be honest, that evidence rates pretty high in the gross meter. Ick-factor aside, finding even one sign of an infestation means you have a problem and need to take it seriously.
Campers Walking on Eggshells
Bed bugs reproduce quickly. A single female can lay 500 eggs in her life cycle of approximately three months. Search for clusters or trails of small pale-yellow eggs or eggshells about one millimeter wide.
Exoskeletons in the Closet
Bed bugs molt or shed their skin several times during their life cycle. When they molt, they leave behind a tiny brown oval-shaped exoskeleton which may be hard to identify. However, if you’re finding mysterious bits of little brown debris in camp bedding, bed bugs are likely the cause.
Bed Bug Excrement
Tiny dark spots on sheets, pillows, or blankets may be deposits of bed bug waste. Look for pinprick-sized dark-colored specks on bedding and stored linens and in closets.
Small, rust-colored stains showing up on sheets, under pillows, or in other common hiding places may be what’s left of a bed bug after a camper accidentally crushed it in their sleep.
Pheromones released by bed bugs have a distinct, musty scent, often described as the smell of a wet towel. If one or more of your cabins smells like a camper forgot to take home their moldy beach towel, it’s time to do a close inspection for bed bugs in a cabin.
Eradicating Bed Bugs
The best way to treat a bed bug infestation is to prevent one. Keeping cabin rooms clean and free of clutter is a start. Purchasing mattresses and metal beds that don’t provide hiding places are also effective.
Remember, even the cleanest camps and cabins can become infested. Travelers may unknowingly carry the pests in with their luggage and bring them back out again, spreading the infestation to their home or next vacation destination.
If you do end up with bed bugs in a cabin setting, take the following steps to get rid of them:
- Set out disposable traps to learn how far the infestation has spread
- Clean out clutter, especially from under and around beds
- Remove all bedding, pillows, area rugs, and clothes
- Place all items to be cleaned in plastic bags or totes while still in the room and close the bag
- Wash items in detergent specially formulated for killing bed bugs, follow the manufacturer’s directions
- Place trash in bags and take directly to outside dumpsters
- Empty and remove any cardboard boxes from the room
- Once the room is cleared, vacuum everything thoroughly, including the mattress, box spring, behind outlet and switch plates, and all furniture
- Pay special attention to cracks and crevices
- Empty the vacuum’s collection canister into a plastic bag and dispose of it outside
- Use a fogger or other pesticide product formulated for bed bugs (follow all directions)
- As an alternative to pesticides, use portable heat sources to heat rooms and furniture to 113°F to kill bed bugs and eggs
- Lay out disposable traps to make sure no bed bugs remain
If more bed bugs get caught in the trap, start the process over again. Bed bugs are tenacious, and it can be difficult to eradicate them completely. It may take more than one time to free your cabins of this tiny menace.
ESS Universal manufactures and supplies high-quality, cost-effective commercial grade beds, mattresses, and furniture to camps, hostels, shelters, dorms and more. View our entire line of furniture products including our popular waterproof foam mattress for institutional use, single metal bed frames, single over single bunk beds, single over double bunk beds, and triple bunk beds. Download our catalog for detailed information on our complete product line.