Then there is the emotional toll. Even though cases have been reported across the country, there is still a stigma attached to bedbugs. People discover they have them and get embarrassed, worrying that neighbors will think their homes are unclean. Take my mother’s apartment complex, for example. The few tenants who have fallen victim to these bugs are terrified the neighbors will find out.
Even if you don’t have neighbors to worry about, bedbugs can still take an emotional toll on your life. Many people have trouble sleeping once they know their home is infested. The Columbus Dispatch
recently interviewed Rod Bodwalk, who has had trouble with bedbugs in his apartment. Bodwalk threw away his mattress and ripped up the carpet. He sleeps in a sleeping bag and stays up at night to catch the bugs on a piece of duct tape. Bodwalk told the Columbus Dispatch: “You can’t imagine after working all day and then not being able to go to sleep. They would wake me up every night between 2:30 and 4. I’d feel them crawling over me and reached over and get the duct tape and smash them.”
Once the bugs are finally gone, some people suffer from anxiety and develop a fear that they’ll catch them again. Last year after discovering bedbugs in her New York apartment, my friend moved, leaving all of her stuff in a dumpster. To this day she won’t come into her apartment without inspecting her clothes for bedbugs first. She’s terrified she picked them up on the subway. She has even had a few nightmares that bedbugs are crawling on her in her sleep.
Bedbugs spread quickly. You can pick them up in a public place and carry them home with you. The CDC
says bedbugs can travel more than 100 feet in a night to find a new home. But there are still things you can do to prevent or stop the spread of bedbugs. The National Pest Management Association’s site, Pest World.org
, has a list of everyday prevention methods.
•Vacuuming out suitcases before bringing them in the house
•Regularly inspecting your sheets for blood spots
•Storing your suitcase in a plastic bag while on vacation
•Using a flashlight to inspect any room you spend time in
•Inspecting secondhand furniture for infestation before bringing it home
•Inspecting pet beds and crates on a regular basis
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