Some bugs are clever travelers. They’ll hitchhike into your home on clothes, in luggage, on pets, in boxes, newspapers, magazines, or bags, on furniture, and even in your kids’ hair! Here are 5 well-traveled pests and tips on keeping them out of your home:
When you go on vacation, have out-of-town relatives visiting, or students coming home from college – now is the time to worry about bed bugs! They’ll sneak into your home unnoticed – most often in luggage and clothes – hide out during the day, and then creep out at night to feed (bite!).
Prevent bed bugs by being vigilant when traveling – check your accommodations for signs of bed bugs (dark spots on mattress corners and/or bedding), avoid putting luggage directly onto hotel beds and furniture, wash all of your clothes in hot water immediately when returning home, and leave luggage outside of your home, if possible (seal in plastic bags and leave in outdoor storage or your garage). Same applies to visiting relatives and students returning home from college. Also, remove any under-bed storage to reduce areas bed bugs are likely to hide out.
Now that school is back in session, lice infestations will be on the rise. Prevent the spread of lice by limiting shared clothing, hats, hair brushes, and other belongings, avoiding head-to-head contact, and by vacuuming carpet and furniture often. For existing lice infestations, use a lice treatment as soon as they’re discovered, disinfect combs, brushes, or towels that have come in contact with lice by soaking them in hot water for 5-10 minutes, disinfect bedding by removing it and washing in a hot water cycle, and wash and dry clothing, linens, or towels that have come into contact with a person infected with lice during at least 2 days prior to treatment.
Be vigilant about ticks as we move into fall. They attach themselves to humans and pets, making transport inside easy and often unnoticed, and can even infest your home (with the case of the brown dog tick). Their bites are painful and can cause skin irritations, but they also transmit several diseases including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which can cause serious illness or even death.
Prevent ticks by checking pets often and treating them with a tick control product, commonly included in topical flea treatments, keeping pets out of wooded areas or overgrown vegetation, by cutting your grass regularly, keeping plants and shrubs trimmed, and by clearing out leaves and other yard debris.
Fleas thrive in hot, humid conditions. They can cause a lot of discomfort for your pets, even severe allergic reactions, and are easily transported into your home. Avoid a flea infestation by checking your pets often with a flea comb, applying topical or oral flea medication regularly, and limiting your pets’ time outside during warmer months.
German cockroaches are among one of the most prevalent pest issues in residential structures, and often the hardest to control. While they thrive in filth, even the cleanest, tidiest homes are at risk. To prevent this, avoid bringing items into your home that roaches often travel in – boxes, newspapers, paper grocery bags, food cartons, dry pet food, furniture – and remove & wash any clothing and/or luggage immediately if you’ve encountered another home or accommodation where roaches were present.
If you’re seeing any of these traveling pests, be sure to contact us for an inspection. Call Alexandria Pest Services at 703-923-0925 to schedule a professional evaluation. We can help you get rid of these invaders in your home or office!