Don’t jump to conclusions
Just because there are bug bites on you, don’t assume there are beg bugs around.
“If you’re misidentifying the problem of bites from some type of insect, you won’t be able to control it, so evidence is key,” he said.
Set some traps
Bed bugs survive by consuming blood, so Donato suggests checking bedrooms first by looking inside the box spring and under mattresses, but if you don’t spot the bugs, set up a trap.
Pitfall traps are sold at hardware store and prevent bed bugs from climbing up the legs of a bed. Donato also suggests using dry ice to draw the bugs out. “The carbon dioxide mimics mammals, so you can set up a little trap and see if you can collect them that way,” he said.
Don’t try to solve the problem yourself
Another mistake Donato often sees are people trying to deal with an infestation on their own. “The pesticides that are often available to folks are labeled to sell, and you can find a ton at Lowe’s or Home Depot right on the shelf, but they’re often used incorrectly and that’s a problem,” he said. “You shouldn’t be doing this on your own.”
Bed bugs have become resistant to bombs and sprays, and Donato said that commercial products will typically drive the bugs into an adjacent dwelling, which won’t solve the problem.
Donato said the county health program offers assistance and information on how to deal with an infestation, and tells residents or landlords what local professionals to seek out for extermination and pest control.
Property owners have the legal responsibility to address the issue, and state healthy inspectors can be brought in to provide help or enforce remediation.
What is treatment like?
When a home or apartment is treated for bed bugs, the process can take anywhere from several weeks to months with multiple sprays and cleanings to completely eradicate the dwelling of bugs.
Clothing items, fabrics and pillows must be washed and sealed, and larger furniture items are sometimes bagged to trap bugs.
With nearly 12 reported cases in Hunterdon County each year, and additional unreported cases, Donato says education and prevention are of the utmost importance. “No one is exempt from this,” he said.
Bed bugs like to travel
Bed bugs spread from place to place by hitching a ride on someone or something. Jackets and backpacks are an easy way for bed bugs to hitchhike their way into your home.
Donato says you should keep an eye on items that are brought home from school, and wash any possibly exposed items in high heat with a 10 percent bleach solution. He also recommends clothing-safe insect repellent such as the flame resistant product offered by CRC.
Keep your home clean
Donato says because bed bugs are thin and small and like to hide out in cracks and crevices. He recommends keeping your home clean, steam-cleaning as often as possible, as well as emptying vacuum cleaners after each use.