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Finally, a way to win the bed bug wars

Consumer Reports News: July 18, 2011 02:29 PM

In the tough battle of man versus bed bug, mattresses are tossed, drywall is ripped open, and closets of clothes are whisked to the dry cleaner. It’s a bit less frustrating to get rid of virtual bed bugs, as a new iPhone app from Protect-A-Bed shows. “We thought it would be fun to include a place where people can easily get rid of bed bugs, said CEO James Bell. “This is the only place where you have 100 percent assurance that bed bugs are gone.”

In the game Bed Bug Plague a rush of bed bugs tries to infest a mattress. The player’s goal is to build towers in their path that can crush the little pests. The game levels progress from bedroom, dorm room, rental property, to hotel. The app also includes information on how to recognize bed bugs and the symptoms they cause. Squeamishness aside, it sounds like good, clean fun.

But back to reality. Preventing bed bugs from entering your home is crucial. Before bringing secondhand furniture into your house, especially couches and beds, check for infestations. The Federal Trade Commission also suggests:

  • Enclosing mattresses and box springs in covers designed to protect against bed bugs or dust mites, or those labeled allergen rated.
  • Reducing clutter to expose hiding places.
  • Tightening light-switch covers, repairing plaster cracks and loose wallpaper.
  • Caulking crevices and joints in baseboards and gaps on shelves and cabinets.

When staying in hotels, put luggage on racks and inspect mattresses and headboards as soon as you check in. Once home, head for the washer and unpack. Items with bed bug stains should be washed then dried on the highest heat for at least 20 minutes—the heat kills the bugs. For more tips, see the FTC’s advice for treating infestations and how to hire an exterminator.

Kimberly Janeway

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