Bed Bugs…BUSTED!

Send the kiddies safely off to school, and SLEEP more soundly… 

Bed Bugs Attack

 

“Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite!”  GET REAL! Who can sleep after even mentioning BED BUGS? If you have just sent your kids packin’ to college, you may not be sleeping very well as it is. And worrying about their living conditions states away certainly doesn’t help. COLLEGE KIDS PRACTICALLY LIVE OFF OF THEIR BEDS, in close quarters with a high level of social interaction, and are not known for their cleanliness. So you can imagine how easily bug problems can be missed and spread. But don’t freak out…Knowledge is power!

Let’s review some common-sense tips on how to detect, and potentially avoid bed bugs with just your wits and the tools you already have! (If you already know a lot, skip to the summary.) 

(Excerpted from CDC Website, about Bed Bugs)

 What are Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are small, flat, nocturnal insects that feed on the blood of sleeping people and animals. They are reddish-brown in color, wingless, and range from 1 to 7 millimeters in length. They can live several months without a blood meal. Infestations of these insects usually occur around or near the areas where people sleep or spend a significant period of time. These areas include apartments, shelters, rooming houses, hotels, nursing homes, hospitals, cruise ships, buses, trains, and dorm rooms.

They hide during the day in places such as seams of mattresses, box springs, bed frames, headboards, dresser tables, cracks or crevices, behind wallpaper, and under any clutter or objects around a bed.  They tend to live within 8 feet of where people sleep. Bed bugs travel in the seams and folds of luggage, overnight bags, folded clothes, bedding, furniture, and anywhere else where they can hide. Most people do not realize they can transport stow-away bed bugs as they travel potentially infesting new areas, including their homes, as they relocate.

How to Identify a Bed Bug Infestation:

One of the most noticed signs are bite marks that appear on the face, neck, arms, hands, and any other body parts. The bite marks are similar to that of a mosquito or a flea – a slightly swollen and red area that may itch and be irritating. When bed bugs bite, they inject an anesthetic and an anticoagulant that prevents a person from feeling the bite. These bite marks may take as long as 14 days to develop in some people so it is important to look for other clues when determining if bed bugs have infested an area. These other signs may include:

  • the exoskeletons of bed bugs after molting
  • bed bugs in the fold of mattresses and sheets
  • a sweet musty odor
  • rusty-colored blood spots from their blood-filled fecal material that is often excreted on the mattress or nearby furniture

A comprehensive Integrated Pest Management program  to control bed bugs may include methods such as:

  • using monitoring devices
  • removing clutter where bed bugs can hide
  • applying heat treatment
  • vacuuming
  • sealing cracks and crevices to remove hiding places
  • using non-chemical pesticides (such as diatomaceous earth) and
  • judicious use of effective chemical pesticides
  • bed bug infestations will not go away without intervention, and intervention is most effective when populations are low

The Huffington Post printed a great article specifically on the issue of bed bugs in college dorms.  Here are some highlights… (FULL Article)

Ways students can protect themselves:

  • When going on vacation, place luggage on luggage racks rather than a bed. And if you have to use a bed, vacuum your suitcases upon return from a vacation.
  • If you’re purchasing used furniture for your apartment, make sure you thoroughly investigate it before you bring it into your home. The last thing you want to do is PAY for bugs!
  • If a bed is provided in your room, thoroughly inspect it for signs before you move in, and periodically check your mattress and surrounding areas for signs of bugs. (see below)

WHAT TO DO if you discover (or suspect) a bed bug infestation:

  • DON’T PANIC! While bed bugs are not thought to transmit disease, infestations decrease the quality of life by causing discomfort, sleeplessness and embarrassment. Please don’t start rumors until an infestation is confirmed. Also, skin allergies or other bug bites can be mistaken bed bug bites….
  • Yet be on the safe side – watch where you place your clothes, shoes, bags, etc. and limit sharing of belongings.
  • If at school, tell your R.A. you suspect a problem, so that they may arrange for proper, professional diagnosis and extermination if needed. Do not try to exterminate on your own.
  • Seek medical attention if your bites are causing you distress.
  • SEEK PROFESSIONAL DIAGNOSIS & EXTERMINATION SERVICES.
vacuum mattressSummarySo, use your smarts (as well as a flashlight and good vacuum) to check out your sleeping quarters regularly!   Change your bed sheets often and look at the mattress for signs of bugs. And one of the best things you can do to keep your MATTRESS fresh and free of allergens, dust mites, and to nip bugs in the bud – is to VACUUM it!

Utilize a powerful, sealed-HEPA vacuum cleaner with disposable HEPA bags to do this job correctly. Your goal is to pull out fine, creepy particles like dead skin cells, dust mite eggs and excrement, as well as bed bugs, their eggs and fecal matter. The vacuum must be of the highest quality so as not to expel those particles back out into the air! Dispose of your bag immediately to eliminate the contamination. Miele vacuum cleaners are the best choice for this task, and they even produce the SBD10 Mattress cleaning attachment (pictured above) to reach the awkward crevices where dust and bugs accumulate.

Now that you’re in the know don’t neglect your mattress and don’t send your kids off to school without an education about bed bugs and a good vacuum to keep their dorm clean! But DO get a good night’s sleep!

Top Tops for Summer Trips

How a Vacuum and other clever products can save your sanity!

Summer is going sooooo fast! But many of you may still have some fantastic plans for what’s left. Maybe you’re packing up the family truckster and venturing cross-country to camp. Perhaps you prefer sunbathing pool-side at the beach club or are the “stay-cation” type. Whatever the case, the last thing you want is for messy mishaps or post-trip cleanup to suck the fun out of your precious family time!

How often had you said that “you need a vacation from your vacation?” Catching up on missed work is one thing…But spending spending too much time shaking sand (out of everything you own) or searching for “that funny smell” in the car is just infuriating. Spend more time sipping pina coladas or gawking at the Grand Canyon by following a few simple rules and keeping a few clever products on hand!

RULES for a SUCK-CESSFUL VACATION:

1) Plan ahead to deal with messes, then tackle them right away

2) Use multi-tasking products

3) If you smell something, say something

MUST-HAVE PRODUCTS & HOW TO USE THEM:
* Available at Queen Vacuum

*1) Small Vacuum Cleaners

– If you have the luxury of electrical hookup, keep a smaller-sized (plug-in) vacuum with extension hose vacuum in your cabana, cabin or RV. Use it to tackle excessive sand, creepy bugs and to suck out the air in space-saving bags (see below)

– Use a battery powered handheld wet/dry vac (even better with a car-charging adaptor) to gather dirt and food crumbs in these same places, plus the car! These little leftovers can really leave a post-vaca vehicle smelling funky fast – so tidy up periodically through your trip.

 

*2) Moso Natural charcoal sachets
– Odors are not meant to be just covered up. Since they are often indicative of an unhealthy situation, the source and/or gaseous byproduct ought to be removed. Made only of odor-absorbing charcoal, Moso sachets are perfect to keep inside duffel bags of camping gear or cabins to get rid of dampness, musty odors and unhealthy mildew. Adding no additional scent or chemicals they work wonders in a hot, stuffy car (especially if a dog is riding along.) Just place them out in the sun for a couple of hours to refresh. 

 

3) “Space Bags”, multiple sizes
– Using these vacuum-sealing plastic bags consolidate bulky items like sleeping bags, eve, coats and other clothes. They’ll seal out dust, water and bugs as well in the months/year between their next use.

 

4) Old Washcloth and Towel
– Keep a couple of these in the car. Paper towels are good too, but the wring-able fabric helps more on a big spill. They’re also great for brushing off sandy feet and beach chairs before loading in.

 5) Natural face/body wipes– Make sure they’re gentle enough for your face. But don’t worry they’ll work great on the rest of you – or even sticky spills on inanimate objects too!

*6) Organic alcohol + essential oil spray (preferrably lavender)
– I know, thinks sounds a little odd. But I keep a little spray bottle in my purse, beach bag, desk, car – everywhere! Why? Although this product is typically labeled as natural “deodorant” the two lonesome (yet amazing)

ingredients allow this spray to morph into hand sanitizer, antiseptic, bug repellant, air/fabric deodorizer, and cleaner for dozens of surfaces!

7) Used plastic grocery bags
– If your’re packing snacks for the car ride (or on the beach with carry-out garbage) pack some of these to corral apple cores, wrappers, recycling and the like. They’ll also keep wet bathing suits, muddy sneakers or “accidents” quarantined.

Maybe one day we’ll be able to take the cross-country road trip of our dreams or a really exotic vacation. Until then, we’ll be living vicariously through you! We can’t wait to hear your feedback about how YOU used these tips to make your trips more suck-cessful (and any other cool tricks you’ve discovered!) 

Is Your Vacuum an Animal? Learn how to TAME that wild, wayward creature!

If you are up to date on television and printed advertising, and/or a fan of the Home Shopping Network, you may believe that an “Animal” vacuum is the long-awaited solution to your challenging home cleaning routine! Perhaps you already own one and sing its praises every day. Perhaps you own one and feel like chucking it out the window for the amount of trouble it gives you.
For those of you in the market for a new machine and eyeing up those aforementioned “Animal” vacs – pay close attention! There is a lot of misconception and blatant misinformation out there regarding the best machines for pet-owning households. We will work on straightening some of that out right now! And if you already have a vacuum you’re generally pleased with, yet often struggle to keep it performing like you expect, you’ll enjoy the helpful tips laid out in this article too.

  

WHAT EXACTLY IS AN “ANIMAL” in the world of vacuums?
If it is a Dyson brand vacuum, that means it’s PURPLE. That’s right, color is the only real difference between any Dyson of the same model series. The main body, motor, filters, brush roller; all the same! What do change are the accessories packaged with it. A Dyson DC65 “Animal” will have an additional turbo tool and possibly a low-reach, bare floor tool (versus a standard DC65 model.)  There’s nothing at all wrong with that setup, per se. Most other brands follow this naming pattern. An “Animal,” “Pet” or “Cat & Dog” model vacuum will usually come with a special set of tools to remove pet hair from challenging surfaces like upholstery and stairs. The issue is that most consumers are under the false impression that the vacuum has more suction, a bigger motor, or better filtration; not necessarily true.
For example, a Miele C3 series Cat & Dog, Marin or HomeCare canister vacuum would ALL handle pet hair incredibly well. Why? In addition to a large capacity filterbag, these “siblings” are also power-teammodels. That means that in addition to raw suction power they are equipped with a robust electric power nozzleto deep clean carpets and rugs. But with the “Cat & Dog” you’ll also enjoy a BONUS handheld turbo brush to easily blast through embedded fur on above-floor surfaces like upholstery, auto interiors, pet beds and more! Lastly, instead of the standard HEPA media exhaust filter (used for allergen control) the Cat & Dog’s filter cartridge is chock-full of odor absorbing activated charcoal to combat stinky dog smells. All C3 series canisters are otherwise the same size, with the same motor and suction power. See the pattern?
Why does your vacuum behave like an errant puppy?
Your particular vacuum may not be an “Animal,” but it sure may act like one sometimes. Has yours ever chewed up a delicate carpet, eaten your shoelaces or puked stuff back out on the floor? Regardless of the brand or type of vacuum you have it is bound to misbehave at some point.However, more often than not, it’s not really the vacuum’s fault. As the owner, YOU are in charge of keeping your vacuum healthy and giving it what it needs at regular intervals. If you don’t take your dog outside in time he’s likely to have an accident inside. Similarly, if you don’t change your vacuum’s bag or filter in time, it will clog and spit debris out. Develop good habits of “grooming” your vacuum’s brushroller to remove excessive hair and string. Also, don’t run your vacuum where it doesn’t belong. Many vacuums are too powerful and aggressive to safely clean delicate area rugs or bare floors. You wouldn’t take your Rottweiler through a stroll through a nursery….not worth the risk, right? Also schedule to bring your vac in for regular, professional checkups (with yours truly) or at the first sign of “illness!
CONCLUSION
Sure, you may feel disappointed or even cheated that an “Animal” model isn’t any different than its relatives. Trust me; the special tools packaged with one can make all the difference in pet hair removal. But they’re only helpful if you use them. AND you still must maintain the vacuum as required in order to keep it working at peak performance, Animal or not!