No matter where you live, having bed bugs in your home is a huge problem. Those situated in densely-populated areas, like Columbus, Ohio, may be more vulnerable to these pests, as they can more easily spread across multiple homes.
Here’s everything you need to know about bed bugs in Columbus, Ohio.
Bed Bugs in Columbus Ohio
Bed bugs can show up in many different areas, whether at home, school, or business. If they are not dealt with as early as possible, they can cause more trouble and be more difficult to get rid of. Those living in low-income households are often the most impacted because they don’t have the proper resources and money to eliminate these critters.
Densely-packed living areas, such as apartments, tenements, or nursing homes, are where bed bugs thrive. Find out more about what causes bed bugs here.
Signs of Bed Bugs Infestation in Columbus
One of the first signs that your Columbus home has been infested with bed bugs is if you find that you have itchy bites/rashes that seem to have occurred while you were sleeping. Check your mattress immediately for any brown or reddish spots. These spots are droppings or blood from the bed bugs themselves.
Check for bed bug fecal spots, eggshells, or skins in the areas where they might be hiding.
Bed bugs are also known to produce an offensive, musty odor, so you might have a bedbug infestation if you notice that.
Where to Report Possible Infestation
If you suspect that bed bugs may have infiltrated your Columbus home, it’s important to contact the Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force. This local government organization has access to health departments, social service agencies, pest control applicators, and landlord and tenant rights groups that provide solutions to bed bug infestations and educate on how to prevent them.
What To Do
Prevention is key when it comes to bed bugs. Since they are extremely difficult to eradicate, you must make it a point that they don’t get to your home in the first place.
The first thing you have to do to prevent the spread of bed bugs in your home is clean up clutter. Bed bugs cling to everything — old books, stuffed toys, soft furniture, you name it — so you must throw out everything you don’t need so they don’t have the opportunity to cling onto anything.
Next, seal all the cracks and crevices in your home to minimize the critters’ hiding spots. It would help if you also replaced old/peeling wallpaper.
Make it a point to always vacuum, especially the mattress, carpets, and soft furniture. Empty the vacuum bag into a plastic bag outside and leave it as far away from your home as possible. This eliminates the chances of escaping and making their way to your home again. But how long will bed bugs live inside a plastic bag?
Lastly, thoroughly examine any used furniture you want to bring into your home.  We also urge you not to buy used mattresses.
If you have gone on a trip, don’t throw your luggage immediately onto your bed once you’re home. Instead, examine everything in the bathroom to check for live bed bugs/eggs. Check your clothing as bed bugs are known to hitchhike onto travelers.
Dealing with bed bugs is tricky, and we would always recommend you go for professional pest exterminators instead of tackling the problem on your own. These experts have access to powerful pesticides that could be a health hazard to you and your family if handled incorrectly. Some OTC pesticides are known to “scatter” the bed bugs instead of actually killing them, which will only worsen your problem.
Bed Bug Exterminator Columbus and Central Ohio Bug Extermination are just some of the businesses in the Columbus area that cater specifically to the removal of bed bugs.
One of the first things to do if you notice that you have bed bugs in your Columbus home is to strip your mattress of its beddings and linens and throw them in the washer. Use hot water and dry them in the highest dryer setting. Do the same for stuffed toys. The heat will kill off any live bed bugs clinging onto them.
Use a stiff brush to scrub mattress seams before you vacuum. This will dislodge bed bugs and eggs and make it easier for the vacuum to pick them up. Empty the vacuum bag using the instructions as previously mentioned.
If possible, steam clean your home. When exposed to a temperature of 140 degrees, bed bugs will die.
Bed Bug Laws in Columbus
Because Columbus — and, more specifically, the whole state of Ohio — is highly prone to bed bugs, certain laws regarding bed bug infestations could penalize landlords. Based on the general landlord-tenant law, landlords must keep their rental areas habitable. They are also in charge of hiring exterminators to eliminate any bed bugs that may be present in the rental area, any immediate surrounding area, and common areas.
Furthermore, there is a specific law regarding Ohio bed bug infestations in hotels and motels. These establishments could be penalized if they use bedding infested by bed bugs. They are also required to sanitize and maintain all bedding, carpets, and floors to uphold their guests’ health.
Are bed bugs common in Columbus, Ohio?
Yes, bed bugs are notoriously common in Ohio, specifically Columbus or just about any major city within the state. Reports to local departments regarding these pests have seen an upward trajectory. This is because this area houses the I-71, where travelers frequent. Bed bugs can hitchhike onto travelers’ clothes and can quickly spread in the surrounding areas. A new strain of bed bugs has also made them resistant to some pesticides.
Should I move if there are bed bugs in my Columbus home?
Not really. Moving is not a recommended first step if your Columbus home has been infested with bed bugs because all you’re really doing is bringing them along with you to your next location. The best thing to do is eliminate the bed bugs before you move.
Bed bugs are highly notorious in Central Ohio, particularly in Columbus. It’s best to contact professional pest exterminators to eliminate this problem, as DIY techniques might not be sufficient. Remember: it only takes a few weeks for a single bed bug to evolve into a major infestation in your home.
While treatment is possible, it’s best to prevent them from coming to your home in the first place. Ensure that you have proper sanitary measures regarding your furniture and examine yourself and your belongings when you travel.
Alene Schill is a property manager from Columbus, Ohio, who has dealt with numerous pest control agencies. She helps families find the perfect homes and knows very well that bed bugs are an ultimate deal-breaker. She enjoys cycling around Scioto Mile during her spare time.