Clutter Cooperation Bed Bug Supplement – Bed Bug Supplement
Bed bug clients can be overwhelmed when faced with the task of tackling the clutter in their home. Not all clutter is equally important, however. Here’s how to prioritize.
January 31, 2022 By Larry Pinto, Richard Cooper and Sandra Kraft
It is often said that bed bug infestations are not related to poor housekeeping, as is the case with cockroaches and mice. But one aspect of poor housekeeping in residences does contribute to bed bugs: clutter. Clutter includes piles of clothing, books, magazines, toys, boxes, bags, newspapers, food containers, shoes and the like on the floor, piled on furniture, in closets and virtually anywhere else.
Clutter provides bed bugs with innumerable places to hide, as well as protection from insecticides and other treatments. Good housekeeping reduces clutter and eliminates many bed bug hiding places, making control easier. Residents may be willing to reduce the clutter in their homes once they understand the clear relationship between clutter and bed bugs.
Unfortunately, clutter reduction is not so easy in many of the sites with the worst bed bug problems. A classic example is high-density, inner-city housing, where people and possessions are crammed to overflowing in small apartments. Where else can the residents put their clothes and possessions besides where they have them now…piled in closets and under the bed and stacked on the floor in the corners of rooms? Many apartments do not have separate storage rooms for residents or, if they do, the security is suspect and residents refuse to use them. Sometimes the only way to significantly reduce clutter in a crowded apartment would be to dispose of possessions, something that few people, understandably, are willing to do. Residents can be overwhelmed when faced with the task of tackling the clutter in their home.
Not all clutter is equally important, however, and it may help to communicate to the resident which clutter must be eliminated to control bed bugs versus clutter whose elimination is desired but optional. Priorities for eliminating clutter are: Items under beds, chairs and sofas. Nothing should be left under furniture used for sleeping or resting. Items next to, or within 3 feet of, beds, chairs and sofas. This includes clutter on the floor or on furniture such as nightstands, end tables and coffee tables. There should be a clutter-free zone under and around sleeping and resting areas. Items on top of beds, chairs and sofas, such as piles of clothing, papers, extra blankets, throws, pet bedding, stuffed animals, etc. If pillows or stuffed animals are part of the decor in these areas they should be placed in a hot dryer at least once a week until bed bugs have been eliminated from the home.