What You Would Do If a Friend's Home Had Bed Bugs (Part 2)

Bedbugs on a bed sheet
Roger Eritja / Getty Images

This is the second part of an article following up on a poll on this site which asked: What would you do if you overheard a conversation about bed bugs in a friend's home. (Read Part 1 which explains whether the following were good responses: Not worry about it – you keep your home clean. | Think, "Wow, their house must be really dirty!" | Stop inviting them to your home.)

Decline Any Invitation to Their Home (18%)

  • Temporarily declining invitations to visit in any home – or other building – that has a bed bug problem is simply smart. Although bed bugs are called that because they are most frequently found on bed mattresses, they are also commonly found on sofas and other upholstered furniture, particularly if the problem is extensive, belongings have been brought in from an infested site and set on or near that furniture, or the item has been picked up second-hand and not thoroughly inspected or treated for possible bed bugs. If you then sit, lie, or have your own possessions on or near an infested item, the bed bugs can – and often will – move from that item to your own, then travel home with you when you leave. If you find out while you are visiting, or afterward that the home has a problem, do not bring your purse, backpack or other bag or suitcase back into your home. Empty the bags; thoroughly check all items for any signs of bed bugs, and immediately wash clothing in hot water. For more information, read Do's and Don'ts of Bed Bug Control.

Call a Pest Control Professional Immediately to Inspect Your Home (4%)

  • Hearing that friends have bed bugs in their home needn't cause you to have your home immediately inspected … unless you were visiting in that home recently. If so, you should Immediately – with a capital I – call a pest control professional. While many pests can be controlled by homeowners themselves, bed bugs are so difficult to find and to eliminate that professional service is recommended. (See Why are bed bugs so hard to kill? for more information.) This is because many products that are available to homeowners, such as bug bombs and foggers, are not only ineffective for bed bugs, they can make the problem worse by further dispersing the bugs and causing them to burrow deeper into crevices. Additionally, if the bed bug infestation is not completely eliminated – including all eggs, the infestation is likely to rebound. If you do decide to hire a professional, it can be helpful to understand what will be expected of you. 12 Steps to Prepare for Bed Bug Service provides information on some of the most common requests or recommendations made by PCOs. (These should also be followed prior to using any over-the-counter pest control products yourself. When using any pesticide, read and follow all label directions and safe-use guidelines prior to purchase and use.)

Get in on the Conversation so You Can Learn More (59%)

  • As this two-part article shows, there is a great deal to learn about bed bugs to help prevent their entry into your home. So becoming a part of any conversation can be helpful – as so many of you responded. However, it is also important to remember that there is a lot of incorrect information that is passed from person to person and even posted on the Internet. If you've ever laughed at the line in the insurance commercial that "They can't put anything on the Internet that isn't true," keep that lesson in mind when researching information about bed bugs – or any other pest and its control – and ensure that there is true expertise behind the words.