What's bugging you?

With the upcoming holiday season many of us are traveling to see friends and families. That is what makes the holidays so special, but there is a new guest in town this holiday season, and it’s a guest that I really would prefer not to be friends with while traveling. The guest I am referring to is bedbugs. Within the last year, bedbugs have taken over homes, apartments, and hotels. They are even found in library books that are returned.

Bedbugs are small and they are even harder to detect because they don’t come out until night. They wait until the night hour to attack their victims. Bedbugs are reddish brown, oval, and flat. During the day they hide in the box spring, around the edges of the mattress, headboard, and bed frame.  Now after saying all that, I really don’t want to travel this holiday season but there is hope and there are precautions you can take so that you don’t bring these delightful critters back to your home.

· When checking into hotels ALWAYS check your bed before laying in it. Check the edge of the mattress, check the head board and the bed post. Also other signs you may look for include rusty or reddish blood smears on bed sheets or mattresses.

· Always use luggage racks instead of putting luggage on the floor. Don’t use dresser drawers or leave shoes on the floor.

· Also, if you can avoid it, try not to use a suitcase when traveling. Use a duffel bag that can be washed when you return home.

· When you return home, unpack everything from your suitcase (don’t do this in your bedroom) and wash EVERYTHING and then dry on a high heat setting.

If you follow these tips you should be bedbug free over the holiday! Enjoy your holiday season and don’t let these critters become the life of the party in your house!  If you have any questions about bedbugs contact a professional and don’t try and kill them on your own. Any other questions can be directed to your local county extension office.

Source: Ric Bessin UK Extension Entomology Specialist and www.epa.gov/pesticides/bedbugs

Sara Talbott is the family and consumer science agent at the Anderson County Extension Office.