Your home is your castle, and there’s nothing worse than having unwanted guests on your turf – especially the insect kind. A bed bug infestation, in particular, is bad news because the insects flattened bodies allow them to fit into the smallest of spaces – roughly the width of a credit card, according to WebMD. That means there are many ways that you can bring bed bugs into your home. Here are 17 of them.
Secondhand furniture is a common way for bed bugs to spread.
Bringing home secondhand furniture is a risk because if the items are infested, the bed bugs will spread through your home, according to the EPA. And, despite their name, bed bugs don’t only reside in beds. They can hide between cushions on sofas and in the seams of chairs and couches, according to the EPA.
Secondhand clothing poses a bed bug risk.
Thrift shoppers, take note: Bed bugs can reside in used clothing. Put any secondhand garments in the dryer on a medium or high setting for one cycle once you bring them home, according to Scientific American. This will zap the bugs.
Hospitals can be havens for bed bugs.
If you think hospitals are gross, here’s another reason to be squicked out: According to a survey by the National Pest Management Association, more than a third of US pest-management companies responded to bed bug infestations in hospitals in 2012.
Your gym could be infested with the insects.
When you leave the gym, you might be bringing home more than ripped abs: You could pick up bed bugs from other gym-goers personal belongings, like gym bags, yoga mats, and clothing in lockers, according to Terminix.
Even movie theatres can be hot spots for the insects.
Cushions in movie theatres may also be home to bed bugs – as well as the clothing and belongings of other theatre-goers – which can, in turn, spread to you, according to the Travel Channel.
Bed bugs can hide on aeroplanes, too.
Speaking of upholstery, the seats on aeroplanes – as well as the belongings of other passengers – can harbour bed bugs and allow them to spread to you and your stuff, according to MentalFloss.
Bed bugs can sometimes hide in the folds of curtains.
Secondhand curtains may also be a culprit, as bed bugs may hide in the folds and hitch a ride into your home, according to the EPA.
The insects love to hitch a ride in luggage.
Borrowing your buddy’s suitcase for your upcoming Europe trip? Make sure you inquire if he’s had any bed-bug issues lately, because the insects can hide in luggage, according to WebMD. Likewise, if you bring luggage into an infested hotel room, the bugs can get inside and come home with you.
Shared laundry facilities can spread bed bugs.
If you use a laundromat or a shared laundry room in a dorm or apartment building, we’ve got bad news: Bed bugs can jump ship from other peoples clothing and infest yours, according to the EPA.
Bed bugs love to hang out in college dorms.
College dorms in general are another hotspot for bed bugs, according to Scientific American.
Cracks in your home could allow bed bugs to spread from other units.
An apartment or condo that’s not properly maintained – whether by you or your landlord – could invite a bed bug infestation. If a nearby unit is infested, the bugs can move through wall voids and enter your home through crevices and cracks around light sockets and baseboards, according to the EPA.
Bed bugs can spread through vacuums.
Some people think vacuuming up bed bugs and their eggs is an easy way to get rid of them. However, a vacuum can spread bed bugs to other rooms or homes – say, if a house cleaner uses a vacuum in an infested home and then uses it in yours, according to Scientific American.
Even electronics like phones and radios can harbour bed bugs.
It’s not just soft materials that bed bugs call home. Surprisingly, they can stow away in telephones and radios, according to WebMD.
Coat closets can be bed bug havens.
Be careful where you hang your jacket. Coat closets in offices, schools, and other public places can allow bed bugs to spread from one person’s infested item to those of others, according to the EPA.
Taking home a library book could mean taking home bed bugs.
Say it isn’t so: Although it’s not common, it is possible to bring home bed bugs in a library book, according to Bustle.
Break rooms and office lounges can spell bad news.
You might want to skip your next coffee break. If your break room or office lounge has upholstered furniture, bed bugs may be hiding in the furniture – which may then spread to you, according to the EPA.
The insects stow away in footwear, too.
Even shoes are a potential hiding spot, according to Scientific American. Whether you’re buying used shoes, borrowing a pair from a friend, or walking through an infested location, your kicks can bring bed bugs back home with you.
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