Bed bugs are small, flat, oval-shaped, brown insects that closely resemble apple seeds. They may appear reddish — especially after they eat — or translucent, white, or yellowish during their larval stages.
Although bed bugs are not known to transmit diseases, their bites are itchy and painful, making them a nuisance in any setting. But in commercial facilities such as camps, shelters, hostels, and dorms, a single sheet with bed bugs can quickly turn into an expensive infestation.
The best way to fight a bed bug infestation is to prevent one from happening in the first place. What prevents bed bugs? What should you do if you spot one in your facility?
How Can You Prevent Bed Bugs from Spreading?
Bed bugs multiply and spread extremely quickly. But you can prevent and control the spread of bed bugs with these seven helpful tips.
1. Visually Inspect Bedding and Furniture Regularly
A key step in bed bug prevention is early detection. It’s important to visually inspect beds and furniture — especially furniture in shared living spaces — at least once a week.
Examine each item and the surrounding area carefully, keeping your eyes peeled for six-legged intruders. This step allows you to catch early signs of bed bugs before they turn into a full-blown infestation.
2. Wash All New Clothing
Infested clothing is a common cause of bed bug infestations. Make it a standard practice to wash all clothing and luggage that is brought into your facility. This step allows you to eliminate potential sources of bed bugs before they can spread.
3. Wash Linens and Bedding Frequently
In addition to regular inspections, you should also wash all used linens and bedding frequently. Everyone knows that you should wash bedding between guests, but this isn’t enough to prevent bed bugs from taking up residence in your facility.
It’s a good idea to create a facility-wide laundry schedule to streamline the process and stay on top of the high demand. You should aim to wash all your linens at least once a week.
4. Keep the Area Decluttered and Tidy
Clutter and debris give bed bugs even more places to hide. Keeping your facility clean and tidy is a good way to prevent bed bugs. In addition to picking up debris and decluttering, you should vacuum regularly to remove bed bugs that may be lurking in carpets and rugs.
5. Seal Up Cracks and Crevices
Bed bugs are only a few millimeters long and can hide in small cracks and crevices around your property. Take the time to seal up cracks or gaps in the walls, baseboards, and flooring.
Sealing cracks can discourage bed bugs from spreading. This step also makes it easier to deal with small infestations when they do occur since the bed bugs will have fewer places to hide.
6. Invest in Pest-Resistant Beds and Mattresses
What prevents bed bugs the most effectively is eliminating any potential living surfaces.
Traditional beds and mattresses have tiny gaps where bed bugs can sneak in and rapidly multiply. Therefore, the best way to prevent bed bug infestations from taking hold is to invest in pest-resistant beds and mattresses for your commercial facility.
Beds and mattresses from ESS Universal are sealed on all sides to ensure that no pests — bed bugs or otherwise — can make a home. Choosing pest-resistant mattresses can help prevent and control the spread of bed bugs and save you money by eliminating the need for frequent replacements.
7. Train All Staff On Bed Bug Prevention and Detection
The battle against bed bugs isn’t one you can fight alone. Teach your staff what prevents bed bugs and how to carry out the best practices for detection, containment, and elimination. This training is particularly useful in large commercial settings where you can’t have eyes on all areas.
What to Do if You Spot a Bed Bug
Now that you know what prevents bed bugs, it’s important to know what to do if you spot one. If you find a bed bug on a piece of bedding, clothing, or furniture, it’s essential to quarantine and treat the affected items immediately.
Exposure to sustained temperatures of 115 degrees Fahrenheit or higher is the most effective method of killing bed bugs without chemicals. To kill bed bugs on linens and clothing, simply wash the items in your washing machine and then place them in the dryer and select the highest setting.
Furniture is a little trickier to treat and may require professional help. You might be better off just tossing the infested furniture. That’s why bug-proof beds and mattresses are such a smart investment for commercial settings.
If bed bugs are a common occurrence in your facility or you can’t seem to stomp them out, enlist the help of a professional exterminator to set up a comprehensive pest management plan.
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.