PUBLISHED ON March 7th, 2012
Sharing a living space with one or more individuals comes with an array of dynamics: Who will do the grocery shopping? The cooking and cleaning? These days, another such matter that needs to be addressed is the all-important topic of bed bug pest control. A bed bug infestation can develop rapidly and spread easily throughout the entire household; therefore, effective bed bug prevention requires the dedication of not just one but all parties involved.
Just as with romantic relationships, communication is critical when agreeing to share your living space with others. Cooperation amongst all involved to make a concerted effort toward bed bug prevention is the best way to hinder the appearance of these unwelcome visitors. Everyone in your home must agree to make bed bug control a priority and be willing to take a few relatively easy steps toward preventing an infestation.
The following steps and guidelines for bed bug pest control should be included in any prevention plan and agreed upon by all parties sharing a living space:
One of the most basic methods of bed bug prevention is to consistently manage and contain clutter across all spaces of your dwelling. Each person living in the residence should be committed to keeping dirt and clutter at a minimum, as these pests thrive in homes that offer numerous hiding places (such as out-of-control clutter). Some roommate situations may even benefit from a mutually agreed upon and consistent schedule for thoroughly cleaning the common areas of your home, such as the kitchen and living room. Of course, bed bug control is only effective if all roommates take responsibility for keeping their private living areas clean, as well.
Effective bed bug pest control also requires being careful of what you bring into your home. Second-hand finds from garage sales, thrift stores and especially free boxes on the sidewalk can all carry hidden bed bugs, which you more than likely won’t notice until the infestation has already taken hold. To be safe, it’s best for all roommates to agree not to bring secondhand items into the residence; if this can’t be avoided, however, then they should at least agree to thoroughly clean and inspect each piece for bed bugs before bringing it indoors.
Other bed bug prevention practices include sticking to furniture and items made of non-porous materials, as these pests are notorious for preferring to hide in items made of paper or wood rather than metal or plastic. And these unwanted roommates especially like to hide in headboards, so it’s best if all roommates agree to eliminate these altogether. It is also recommended that all mattresses and box springs be protected by bed bug-proof encasements in order to prevent sleeping areas from harboring an infestation.
If a bed bug outbreak does occur, it should be a top priority to immediately alert everyone living in your home. If you live in a rental unit, the facility manager or landlord must also be informed as soon as possible. Once it has been established that an outbreak has happened, action must be taken immediately for bed bug control and containment. All of the items in the infested area must be cleaned right away to remove all bed bug adults, eggs and larvae; at this stage, a professional bed bug pest control company is the only way to ensure proper elimination of bed bugs.
Once you and your roommates have devised a bed bug prevention agreement, it helps to post it in a common area such as the laundry room or on the refrigerator, to serve as an easy reminder for all residents. The unfortunate fact is that none of us are free from the risk of a bed bug outbreak. However, the great benefit to living with one or more roommates is that you can work together in your bed bug control efforts. As long as everyone involved is on the same page and committed to the cause, everyone’s risk will be greatly reduced, if not eliminated altogether.