Buses and subways are a convenient and low-cost way to get around, but since so many other people use them, your favorite public transit option may be infested with bed bugs. A 2011 study of professional pest controllers found that a shocking 18% of them had treated a bed bug infestation on public transit. Fortunately, this doesn't mean that bringing the bed bugs home with you is inevitable. Here are three ways to avoid getting bed bugs on public transit.
Avoid upholstered chairs
Soft, upholstered chairs may be more comfortable than the alternative, but if you don't want to get bed bugs, you need to avoid sitting on them. Bed bugs can hide in the seams of the upholstered seats or even inside the cushions. Once they're inside, it's impossible to see them, and even scarier, even the most thorough cleaning methods won't be able to reach them. To keep yourself safe, stick to hard, smooth chairs that are easy to visually inspect. If only upholstered chairs are available, as is often the case, you should stand until you reach your destination.
Hold onto your bags
If you sit your bags on a seat or on the floor, it's easy for bed bugs to crawl inside. The bugs can then take refuge inside pockets, seams, or other hard-to-see areas, so you can introduce them to your home without even realizing it. To avoid this, it's important that you always hold onto your bags instead of sitting them on the floor. If you're sitting down, keep your bags on your lap.
Treat your clothes when you get home
Despite taking precautions on your commute, bed bugs may hitch a ride on your clothes. To keep them from taking up residence in your home, make sure to put your clothes into the washing machine as soon as you get home. Use the hot water cycle, and once the clothes are washed, put them in the dryer on the hottest setting. After thirty minutes in a hot dryer, all bed bugs and eggs will be killed.
If your clothes are too delicate to handle being washed and dried in this way, you can put them in the freezer, instead. You'll need to leave the clothes in the freezer for at least twelve hours to kill any bed bugs that followed you home.
Your favorite public transit method may be infested with bed bugs, but if you take these precautions, you can avoid bringing the pests home with you.
To learn more, contact a residential pest control company like Mr. Bug Killer Inc.