Contrary to a very common belief, pesky bed bugs can even take up residence in the cleanest of homes. They are highly efficient hitchhikers that are easily transported into properties in clothing, luggage, furniture, beds, etc., which is something you should keep in mind before buying second hand couches or beds for your rental cottage, or when you buy a cottage that comes with furniture included. Bed bugs are very agile and small pests, often escaping detection once they have crawled into belongings, boxes, and suitcases. The eggs are also very difficult to see with the naked eye.
Even though these bugs live in many different types of protected locations and crevices, beds are the more common places to locate them. Bed bugs are known for hiding in tufts, crevices, and seams of box springs, bed frames, headboards, and of course, the mattress itself. They can also survive as long as 12 months without any food, so even when you do not occupy your cottage regularly, it does not mean these pests are not hiding in wait for their next meal.
Bed bugs are sensitive to both cold and heat, and a cottage that remains unheated throughout the winter may begin the season with a bed-bug-free environment. However, once you start bringing in yard sale mattresses and furniture, the risks start to increase. Winterized cottages are more likely to experience problems since the temperatures remain optimal for the breeding and survival of bed bugs throughout the winter months.
They can be difficult to spot, so having a professional bed bug inspection can be the first step to resolving your issue. Infested areas are usually characterized by dark stains and spots (the dried excrement of these bugs). You may also find evidence of eggshells, molted skins, or even the bed bugs themselves. Another tell-tale sign of these pests is reddish or rusty blood spots on mattresses, walls, or bed sheets.
To establish whether you have a bed bug infestation at one of your cottages, dismantle the beds, followed by standing the box springs and mattresses on one edge to examine the lower and upper surfaces. Look out for things such as molted, light brown skins (of the nymphs) or the bed bugs themselves. Dark spots or stains of the bug’s excrement will often be found along the seams of the mattress or in any areas where the bugs have lived.
Box springs offer many places for these pesky pests to hide. Successfully treating a mattress with a box spring is hard. However, it is not always necessary to discard the infested components. Bed bugs seem to be more attracted to fabric and wood when compared to plastic or metal, so make sure you examine the box springs, mattress, and any crevices or cracks in the bed frame.
Upholstered chairs or sofas are also common bed-bug hotspots, particularly the ones that are used as extra sleeping surfaces, so always check your sofa beds or pull out coaches carefully, paying extra attention to the tufts, crevices, seams, and skirts.
Other common areas where you may find these bugs include under and along the edges of wall-to-wall carpeting, ceiling-wall junctures, cracks in the molding of wood, behind picture frames, wall mounts, outlets, and switch plates, amongst clothing, inside smoke detectors, televisions, phones, and clocks.
The treatment process for a bed bug infestation is often tricky since many general house cleaning measures will do very little when it comes to managing bed bugs. Bed bugs and, more importantly, their eggs are not that easy to dislodge. For the best results, scrape and move the end part of your suction wand across any infested areas, including the edges, tufts, and seams of mattresses and bedding, along the perimeter of wall-to-wall carpets, under furniture, and any other areas where you have detected signs of bed bugs.
Make sure you throw the contents of the vacuum into sealed trash bags so that the bed bugs and their eggs cannot escape. Consider steam cleaning your mattresses and carpets to eliminate eggs and bugs that vacuuming might have missed.
Bag and launder infested garments and bedding at a minimum temperature of 120°F, or even throw them away since you won’t be able to treat these items with insecticides.
Items such as sofas and mattresses can also be tightly wrapped in durable plastic and then placed in a sunny and hot location for 2 to 3 days.
Tiny cracks that have developed in your walls are popular locations for bed bugs to hide. They may build nests in cracks or places where the wallpaper is starting to lift. It is recommended to conduct a very thorough inspection when it comes to the walls of your cottage. Glue down any wallpaper edges that have started to lift (or remove the paper altogether). Fill wall cracks, regardless of how tiny they may look, with caulk or plaster.
The DIY bed bug treatment tips mentioned above have worked for many people, yet they are not always as efficient and effective as what a professional pest control service can provide. If you are unsure of whether you will be able to deal with a bed bug infestation at your cottage, find a local pest control service that has an excellent reputation when it comes to exterminating bed bugs.
Even the very cleanest cottage can fall prey to a bed bug infestation, so make sure you regularly inspect your cottage, especially throughout the rental season. Check the sofas, upholstered furniture, and mattresses. If possible, also buy new bedding and pillows at the start of every new season, and use mattress covers for each bed.