Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite. I remember hearing this growing up and the thought of bed bugs seemed as old as my grandparents. But, if you’ve been listening to the news, you know that bedbugs are back.

There has been an outbreak of bedbugs in our country, but don’t panic. First of all, bedbugs won’t make you sick, they don’t transmit diseases, and if you have them, it doesn’t mean your home is dirty. They may or may not bit you, but basically are just annoying.

With that being said, why an outbreak now? Officials think it is because we are using fewer and fewer home pesticides. Also, the fact that we are so mobile means we are able to spread bedbugs easier.

If you plan to travel, you can check your hotel room for bedbugs. The adult bedbugs are brown and about the size of a lentil while the baby bedbugs are yellow and smaller. Look behind your bed board and in the mattress seams.

Even if you don’t see bedbugs at the hotel, play it safe and wash your clothing in hot water when you return. Use the hot cycle for drying clothes and vacuum your suitcases out just for good measure. If they’ve already gotten in your bed, try encasing the mattress in a plastic bag to suffocate them. Avoid using outside pesticides – if the problem is really bad, call a professional.

Finally, before you travel, check to see where outbreaks are occurring. If you think I am being a bit overcautious, know that both the Empire State Building and the Niketown store in New York City were infested, with Niketown being temporarily closed to treat the problem. I also read today that some barracks at Camp Lejeune (in Jacksonville, NC, where I live) are infested.

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