Your close friend has been complaining of a bed bug infestation. Understandably, you’re concerned that bed bugs could be brought into your home during one of their many visits. Bed bugs can easily travel inside people’s clothes, bags, electronics, stuffed toys, etc. thus putting you at risk.
Avoid hosting your friend or visiting their home until the bed bugs are gone. If they do visit, place their coat, bag, and shoes into a designated quarantine area. Inspect and vacuum your home after they’re gone. Wash your clothes at 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
We’ll look at how to find out if your friend has bed bugs, and how to avoid getting bed bugs yourself. We’ll discuss what to do if your friend comes to visit, or you visit a friend’s infested home.
Table of Contents:
- 1 How Can You Tell If a Friend Has Bed Bugs?
- 2 How to Avoid Getting Bed Bugs from a Friend
- 3 My Friend Has Bed Bugs and Came to My House
- 4 Similar Posts:
How Can You Tell If a Friend Has Bed Bugs?
Having bed bugs is embarrassing. There’s no denying that bed bugs have negative connotations. Even though there’s no correlation, many people associate bed bugs with dirty or poor homes.
Because of this stigma, most people choose not to tell anyone if they have bed bugs. There’s a good chance that even if your friend’s home is infested, you won’t know about it.
It’s difficult to tell whether someone else has bed bugs, unless you examine their bed.
You may also see the bugs themselves, if they’ve hitched a ride with your friend. Bed bugs are small – about apple-seed sized – and reddish-brown in color. They have six legs and are flat-looking, unless they’ve recently fed. But they tend to hide away from prying eyes, especially in the daytime.
If you’re concerned, you can always ask your friend. Do it gently, and without judgment or condescension. They may be looking for someone to confide in.
What Are the Signs of Bed Bugs in a Friend’s Home?
Bed bugs usually set up harborages (hiding spots) in the bedroom. It’s their favorite place to live, because it provides them with easy access to their food source (humans).
During the day, bed bugs hide in tiny cracks and crevices where they’re out of sight. Focus your search on the mattress, headboard, and box spring. Examine any grooves, cracks or folds, such as the piping along the mattress edge. Don’t forget to look underneath. As well as the bugs, you may notice:
- Fecal spots (bed bug poop). It looks like tiny black ink spots from a marker pen. Fecal dots are flat and can’t be rubbed off easily.
- Shed bed bug exoskeletons. As bed bugs grow, they periodically outgrow their shell and cast it off. Bed bug shells look like translucent, pale brown insects, except of course they don’t move.
- These are tiny and hard to see, so you’ll need a magnifying glass and a flashlight. They’re white, oval shaped and about 0.5 – 1mm long.
- Blood stains on the bedsheets.
Bed bugs are most likely to be found within 8 feet of the bed. However, they can also be found in other rooms of the house, so it’s also worth searching everywhere.
Can You Get Bed Bugs From a Friend?
If your friend does have bed bugs, you might be wondering what to do now.
It’s only natural to feel quite worried and uncomfortable at this prospect. After all, bed bugs are one of the most difficult and traumatizing pests to deal with. You certainly wouldn’t want the bugs to spread to you.
It is theoretically possible to catch bed bugs directly from a person whose home is infested. However, it’s quite rare for this to happen.
Bed bugs are not like fleas or lice. They don’t live on people’s bodies. They can’t, because they cannot cling to skin or hair. When you move around, they usually fall off.
So, they wait until you’re asleep before climbing on to feed. Afterward, they hide away again.
However, bed bugs can set up harborages in clothes and bags. If your friend leaves his coat in his bedroom, for example, a bed bug could climb into a pocket. Then, when he visits your home, the bed bug may crawl out.
It only takes one pregnant female to find her way into your home, and you’ll soon be infested.
How to Avoid Getting Bed Bugs from a Friend
If you know your friend has bed bugs, there’s no need to panic. Fortunately, there are ways that you can ensure you don’t catch them. Let’s find out how.
Communicate with Your Friend
Have a conversation with your friend about the situation. Be kind and non-judgmental, as they’re probably quite embarrassed about it.
Make sure your friend is doing everything they can to avoid spreading the bed bugs. For example, they should:
- Launder all of their clothes (including coats, scarves, and hats) at 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Store clean clothes in sealed plastic bags, far away from the bedroom.
- Just before leaving the house, your friend should change into a clean and quarantined set of clothes. Then, immediately place the previous clothes into the washer.
- Thoroughly clean and store any backpacks, purses, suitcases, and briefcases in sealed plastic bags. Keep them away from the bed, such as in the bathroom or kitchen.
- Regularly vacuum the whole house, and empty the vacuum into an outdoor trash can.
- Avoid transferring any items from the bedroom to spaces where guests might visit.
- Routinely inspect the common areas, such as the living room. Remove and kill any visible bed bugs. Regularly steam-clean the couch if possible.
- Use bed-bug-killing products such as diatomaceous earth around the home, to control the bed bug population.
- Hire a professional exterminator to get rid of the infestation.
Avoid Having Your Friend Over
Inviting someone over who has bed bugs is a bad idea.
Even if they’re as diligent as possible, a bed bug may find its way into their clothes or bag. If that bug gets loose in your home, you could end up with an infestation.
Explain to their friend that until their bed bugs are gone, you’d prefer not to have them around. Instead, offer to go out with them to a public place. You could meet at a movie theater, park, café or bar, for example.
If you do want to have your friend over, there are some precautions you can take.
- Purchase furniture slipcovers for your couches and chairs in advance.
- When your friend arrives, ask them to remove their shoes, outerwear, and bag. Store them inside an empty closet or cupboard that contains none of your clothes.
- Do not allow your friend into your bedroom when they visit. If you think your friend may take offense, just say that it’s too messy for guests.
- When your friend leaves, remove the furniture slipcovers where your friend sat. Wash them at 140 degrees Fahrenheit and dry them on high heat.
- Thoroughly vacuum the closet where their clothes were. Also, vacuum any rooms your friend went into, and the chair they sat on. Dispose of the vacuum bag into an outdoor trash can.
- Conduct a thorough visual inspection. If you find any bugs, immediately squash them and dispose of them outside.
To be extra thorough, you can also remove your clothes and launder them when your friend leaves.
Take Precautions When Visiting
Visiting a friend who has bed bugs isn’t quite as risky as having them over to your house. If you follow our precautions, you should avoid bringing any bed bugs home with you.
- Avoid wearing clothes with many pockets, folds or places where bed bugs could hide. Opt for something simple, like a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt.
- Before you leave, prepare a clean change of clothes and leave them just inside your front door.
- Bring a large plastic trash bag with you. When you arrive at your friend’s home, remove your coat, shoes, and a backpack or purse. Place them inside the trash bag and tie it off tightly, so that bed bugs can’t get inside.
- While visiting, sit on a non-upholstered chair if possible, such as a wooden dining chair. Bed bugs often hide inside couches.
- Do not go into any bedrooms. Stay away from areas where people sleep, as this is where bed bugs are most likely to be.
- Do not bring any items from your friend’s home back to yours. Bed bugs could be hiding out in almost anything, even gadgets and toys.
- When you get home, immediately change out of your clothes and place them into a plastic bag. Change into the fresh set of clothes that you left by your front door. Then, launder your old clothes at 140 degrees Fahrenheit, and dry them on high heat.
Keep your home clutter-free and clean while your friend is dealing with bed bugs. If any make their way into your home, this will give them fewer places to hide.
My Friend Has Bed Bugs and Came to My House
If you follow our advice, you don’t have much to worry about if your friend does visit.
However, in some circumstances, they may arrive unexpectedly, and you might not be able to turn them away. Alternatively, you may not find out they have bed bugs until after they’ve gone.
If you were visited or went to a house with bed bugs, here’s what to do.
Clean Everything Thoroughly
If your home has been exposed to bed bugs, the first step is to inspect and sanitize everything. The sooner you assess the situation, the easier it will be to deal with.
This is the ideal time to spring-clean. Get rid of any unnecessary clutter, as this provides space for bed bugs to hide. Thoroughly vacuum every floor, rug, and couch in your home. Dispose of the contents outdoors.
Launder all of your clothes, bedsheets, curtains, and towels on as high a heat as possible. Temperatures of 140 degrees and above are fatal to bed bugs.
Examine your bed. Pay particular attention to the mattress, headboard and box spring, examining all crevices. Bed bugs are only about as thick as a credit card, so they can fit into very tight spaces.
Look for the bugs themselves, fecal spotting and shed casings. After inspecting the bed, search the rest of the bedroom. Check inside power outlets, nightstands, and the gap between the carpet and the wall.
Get a Professional Evaluation
If you’ve identified signs of bed bugs, or if you want to be sure, it’s time to call in the professionals.
There are many do-it-yourself bed bug products available. They’re somewhat effective at keeping the bed bug population low. Unfortunately, though, home measures are rarely enough to get rid of infestations completely.
The only surefire way to rid your home of bed bugs is professional treatment. Exterminators are well equipped to deal with them. Most even have guarantees, so you can claim your money back if it doesn’t work.
The first thing the exterminators will do is carry out an inspection. They’ll confirm whether you do have bed bugs, and if so, how big the infestation is.
Next, they’ll give you a quote for treatment. The price will vary depending on:
- Where you live
- The company you’re using
- The extermination method that is chosen by the company
- How large your home is
Most exterminators use professional heat treatment. This involves heating your entire home to at least 140 degrees Fahrenheit for several days. This kills all bed bugs and eggs inside.
They may also use this in combination with other methods, such as pesticide treatment.
It’s vital that you start professional treatment as soon as you can. The longer you wait, the bigger the infestation will grow.
You’ll need to stay with someone, or in a hotel, while your home is being treated. Avoid staying with the friend who gave you bed bugs. If you bring any bugs back home, the infestation will return with full force.
It’s polite to inform close friends and family of what’s going on at this point. You don’t have to, but they’d likely appreciate the heads-up, so they can have their own homes examined.
After the treatment is over, the infestation should be gone. However, bear in mind that professional treatment doesn’t prevent new infestations. If new bugs find their way in, your home could become infested again.
Stop the Bed Bugs Coming Back
There’s no 100% effective way to prevent bed bugs from returning. This is their nature. Even if every bug is gone, a new one could find its way in and repopulate your home. However, do the following to make it less likely:
- If your friend is still battling a bed bug infestation, follow our above guidelines. Don’t have them over to visit if you can help it. If you can’t, take every precautionary measure possible.
- Install mattress encasements on all the beds in your home. These prevent bed bugs from getting to the mattress, and hiding out in the crevices. The surface of the mattress encasement is entirely flat, so that you can see the bugs more easily.
- Move your bed away from the wall and the window. This will stop any bed bugs from climbing up to reach your bed.
- Install interceptor traps under your bed legs. These are special devices that trap bed bugs and stop them from climbing up the bed legs.
- Never place any clothing, coats, bags or shoes on your bed.
- Regularly launder your bedsheets, towels, and clothes on high heat. Inspect your mattress periodically.
Of course, there’s no guarantee that the above options will work. Bed bugs are hard to remove without professional help.
Most exterminators will treat cars as well as houses and apartments. Telephone your local company to find out how much they’d charge.
No matter which option you choose, you should get started right away. The sooner you start treatment, the easier (and cheaper) it will be to get rid of the infestation.