Resources for Communities – Bed Bug Prevention

We’ve been initiated.

And are now true blue Hamiltonians.

We spent a good chunk of the summer battling bedbugs in our community house. After 4 visits from the exterminators, likely 20 hours of vacuuming and a gazillion loads of laundry, we have now been free from bug sightings or bitings for about a month. I’m feelingly increasingly optimistic that we have overcome. A week or so ago, I baked a cake which I decorated as a bedbug, and we ATE IT, as a declaration of our vanquishing our creepy little foes (I know, kinda gross, but very satisfying).

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At our latest house meeting, we put together a bedbug prevention plan, which we hope will, y’now, prevent further infestations. So here is the list from our brainstorming session!

– wash bedding weekly
– keep bedrooms uncluttered
– have bedbug covers on every mattress
– dust with diatimaceous earth, which is a very fine algae that dehydrates and kills bedbugs within about 48 hours. We use food grade DE, so as not to cause any harm to our parrot Bert. We dust around the baseboards, all the nooks and crannies of our bed frames, in between our mattresses. We also dust under the cushions of the main floor couches and easy chairs.
– put a this goopy circle of petroleum jelly on each couch or soft chair leg, and bed legs.
– metal bed frames are better than wood.
– make sure your blankets don’t touch the floors of your bedroom, and that your bed doesn’t touch the walls.
– don’t leave clothes lying around on the floor of your bedrooms.
– vacuum the couches after big social events, or after a friend who comes over who you know has bedbugs. Inspect couch cushions regularly.
– when you visit someone or somewhere that might be infested (which includes movie theatres and buses!), throw your clothes in the dryer for 30 minutes upon your return. It might feel like a hassle, but it is nothing compared to the hassle of trying to get your house free of bugs.
– when travelling, don’t put your suitcase on the floor in the hotel room. Instead place it on a table. Upon returning, unpack suitcase outside the house, take clothes directly to the laundry, and then vacuum out your suitcase, and optionally dust it with diatimaceous earth.
– regularly run your purse/backpack through the dryer for 30 minutes.
– if you buy anything used (ie Value Village, garage sales), launder it immediately, or if it’s not launderable, closely inspect, wipe down or vacuum it.

I expect there are those among you who have great prevention strategies as well, and we would love to hear them! Send them to us in the comment section.

Bedbugs are pandemic in Hamilton. We wrestle with the tension of being hospitable to our friends, many of whom are struggling with bedbugs as well, and keeping our home uninfected. The reality is that hospitality can be hazardous and costly. We feel like it’s worth the risk, and with a little pro activity at our end we can diminish the risk and enjoy our friends with more peace of mind.

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