The key to beating bed bugs is prevention. If you must enter other peoples’ homes for your job, be aware. Know what bed bugs look like. Know where you might find them and what signs to look for – fecal spots, casts, bites, live bugs or eggs.
Prepare a Bed Bug Prevention Kit (photo) to keep in your car and use as needed.
Bed Bug Prevention Kit:
Plastic storage bin with cover
Tape (duct or packing)
Clear plastic bags
A change of clothes and shoes
A stool (simple design, easy to wipe off)
Change of clothes and shoes
If you have to inspect for bed bugs or take a sample, also include:
Narrow spatula, putty knife, card or hair dryer
Leak-proof plastic jar
Many jobs require home visits. The steps to avoid bed bugs are not the same for every job. Think out YOUR job. Which of these steps apply to what YOU do?
What to wear
Light colors make it easier to see bed bugs.
Clothes and shoes of simple design – fewer hiding places for bed bugs.
In the Home...
Bring as few items as possible into the home.
Wear shoe covers.
If a client asks you to take off your shoes: you can wear a second pair of socks. You can take them off and bag them to wash later.
Work in well lit areas.
Avoid “hot spots” - bedrooms and the living room.
Try not to sit, or set anything down, on beds or upholstered furniture.
Inspect yourself for bed bugs before you leave. Also inspect items you took in with you. If you find any, pick them up with a wet wipe and crush them. Tape can also be used to pick them up, wrap them up and throw them away.
Your job may or may not require that you take a sample if you suspect bed bugs.
After You Leave...
Remove shoe covers, seal in a bag and throw away outside the home.
Inspect your clothes and shoes before you get in your car.
Wipe shoes down with a wet wipe.
Keep a plastic storage bin (with a cover) in the car. Items you have taken into the home can be placed in the bin when you are done.
If you are still worried that you may have picked up bed bugs, change clothes. Put the old clothes in a sealed plastic bag. Sort clothes for washing as you bag them: hot, warm, hand wash, dry-clean. Wash them as soon as you get home.
When you get home…
Remove clothes on a non-carpeted floor; wipe the floor with a wet cloth when done.
Do laundry right away. Use the highest temperature the fabric can handle. If you cannot wash or dry clean an item, it can be put in the dryer, set to hot, for at least 30 minutes.
If you drop off dry cleaning—tell the dry cleaner that the item may have bed bugs.
If you have to transport clients with bed bugs…
Have them change or launder clothes first
Use seat covers. A white or light color sheet (photo) will work. After use, fold inward to contain any bugs and seal in a bag to be washed later. Clear plastic bags can also be used. After use, fold up to contain any bugs and dispose of in the trash.
Bag client belongings. DO NOT use black trash bags. Use clear bags (photo). It will be easier to see any bugs.
Keep home visit equipment in storage bin
Inspect yourself and belongings before getting in
You can help stop the spread of bed bugs. Share what you know with clients, coworkers, friends and family.
Social Services | EMTs/Fire Fighters | Ramsey County Public Health Bed Bug Guidelines | Bed Bug Basics (pdf)
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