Bed bugs have been common in history throughout the world. After an approximate 50-year reprieve, bed bugs have recently returned to voraciously infect hotels and homes throughout North America and Europe. Bed bugs are non-flying insects that move quite slowly. They prefer living indoors, hiding in floors, mattresses and wall cracks during the daytime. In the middle of the night, bed bugs may creep on to the bed and feed on a human host. Although not known to spread disease, bed bugs disturb and irritate people. Washable sleeping bags can be laundered to eliminate bed bugs, but where you store them is important in repelling further infestations.
Clean the sleeping bag to make sure no bed bugs reside within it. Wash the sleeping bag in a washing machine with ordinary laundry soap, setting the temperature setting to hot. Dry the sleeping bag at high heat for at least 20 minutes. Any lingering bed bugs will be killed with this washing and drying method.
Assess where you will be using the sleeping bag. A camping trip outdoors should not present any bed bug infestation as they cannot survive in temperatures below 25 degrees F. Make sure tents and camping equipment, such as pillows, have not been exposed to bed bugs. Avoid using bedding or clothes that may have been in a bed bug infested home.
Check hotel bedding for signs of bed bug infestation, including your own sleeping bag if you are traveling with it. Signs of bed bugs include black or rust-colored spots on the bedding from their fecal matter or from mashed bugs. Ask the hotel manager to switch rooms if you notice evidence of bed bugs.
Keep children at home, instead of sending them to sleepovers, if you are concerned about bed bugs in a particular household. If you must sleep in a sleeping bag in the proximity of possible bed bug contamination, you may choose to try a non-toxic bed bug repellent spray. However, some repellents are considered ineffective and others too dangerous to spray on bedding.
Check your own home for bed bug infestation if your sleeping bags continue to attract bed bugs. Look for the small bugs at night and check for black or rust-color markings in bedding. Vacuum all carpets regularly, seal cracks and crevices in walls with caulk, and keep the home clutter free. Call a pest control company specializing in bed bug treatment if you suspect a home invasion.
Always try to spot bed bugs before retiring for the evening. Wash bedding, sleeping bags or clothing in hot water if you suspect bed bugs. Bed bug bites are generally mild and do not cause significant health problems.