Recently, I traveled to Belize. It was an absolutely delightful trip, and my travel buddy and I rented a car and drove throughout the entire country – Mayan ruins, rain forests, banana plantations, and some of the most wonderful people I have ever met, residing in small villages throughout the land. We did settle into a resort for 4 days and nights toward the end of our trip, and had a delightful stay right on the beach – great food, great weather, and a fabulous Gulf experience!
When I returned home, I had some bites on my legs which didn’t give me much concern – I had been in places with mosquitoes, little sand fleas, etc. When I continued to get bites, however, things became a bit more concerning, and I went to the doctor. The verdict? Bed bugs! Obviously, I had picked up the little “buggers” somewhere in Belize, and now had brought them home. Now, to get rid of them!
Doing the Research
Of course, the doctor’s office gave me an entire packet of information on ridding my home of bed bugs, and I took it very seriously. Because, I had only been home for two days and had not finished my laundry, so that is where I began! Washing every piece of clothing and all of my bed linens was a chore, along with towels, wash cloths – anything I had touched! I even put my suitcases out on the deck, because it was freezing, and, if they sat there long enough, any bed bugs or eggs would die. I left them out there for a week, just to be certain!! Then there was the furniture – could they be in there too? I called an exterminator and left for an entire day, while they “bombed” the place.
The Bed and Mattress
This was, of course, the biggest concern. I was certain those little suckers were in my mattress, hiding in the crevices, and maybe the “bombing” had not gotten them all. So paranoid was I, in fact, that I had bought a sleeping bag and was sleeping on the living room floor while my almost brand new mattress remained unused. I guess I was just wishing they would all die for lack of food. My research had told me the following, which is really scary:
- One adult female can lay as many as 500 eggs in her lifetime
- Bed bugs can lie up to 10 months, and by that time, each adult female has laid up to 500 eggs
No wonder, it’s so hard to get rid of them!
The Final Solution
I was prepared to purchase a new mattress and box springs. I had already purchased new pillows and was using them with my sleeping bag (I didn’t dare put them near my bed). Finally, however, as I spoke with others who had had bed bug infestations, I got the best advice ever, and here it is for anyone else who may be suffering from this infestation.
- I purchased a complete enclosure protector for my mattress. These can be found at most department and bedroom retail stores or online. The important thing is to measure you mattress and be certain you get the right size and thickness to fit the mattress.
- I pulled the mattress off of the bed and encased it in the bed bug mattress encasement.
- I called the exterminators back and had the place bombed again. I was not getting any new bites, so I knew that my furniture and sleeping bag were clear, but I wanted that bedroom bombed again!
- After the “bombing,” I finally put the mattress back in place (still encased Bed Bug Blocker Zippered Mattress Protector), put on clean bedding and finally slept in my own bed once again.
I still have the enclosure on my mattress. I plan to keep it on until the 10 months of possible life span is up. I am bite-free; my home has no infestation at all, and have learned one important thing: whenever I travel from now on, I will be certain to check my hotel room for bed bugs. I have done the research and know that, with a flashlight and some basic investigation techniques, I can check for bed bug evidence. I will never enter a hotel room again without doing a full check while my suitcase sits in the bath tub, impenetrable by these little monsters!
The name of the author has been withheld and listed under administrator for anonymity.