Dealing with Bedbugs
I was told this might happen, but I was ever hopeful that it wouldn’t… Waking up and being covered in bed bug bites, was one of the most depressing moments on deputation. We stayed at a bed and breakfast during a Missions Conference and we weren’t completely sure that it was bed bugs until we went to a second hotel and woke up with more bites. This confirmed two things, we did indeed have bed bugs and they were in our belongings.
We had an 8hr drive before we arrived at our home in Pensacola, Fl. We didn’t want to risk bringing any bugs into our house so we headed straight to a laundry mat where we washed everything in our suitcases, any pillows, blankets. Anything that could be washed, we washed. We didn’t bring any suitcases inside, instead we made up a tea tree solution and sprayed down our suitcases outside. Because I was pregnant we weren’t able to “bomb” the car so my husband sprayed the seats with the tea tree solution and sprayed the floor board with a bug spray.
By the time everything was washed, scrubbed, sprayed and put back together it was another 8 hrs later. We had to move quickly because we didn’t want there to be any surviving bedbugs but also because we had to leave 2 days later for a Missions Conference in Texas. We had thought about getting a hotel during the conference as a precaution, we didn’t want to risk staying with someone and giving them bedbugs. However, with no more bug bites or signs of bed bugs we decided that we had sufficiently rid ourselves of them.
You can imagine how mortified we were, 4 days later, to realize that our daughter’s stuffed animals, which were the only items to not go through the dryer, contained more bed bugs. To say I was freaking out would be a huge understatement. Long story short the pastor’s wife helped to calm my fears, our host was more than gracious and not worried at all, and the bed bugs were only in the stuffed animals so we were able to contain them.
This was a stressful part of deputation but as with all things, the Lord gave us the grace and means to get through it. I hope and pray that no other missionaries have to deal with bed bugs while on deputation, but just in case I have listed below what we used to get rid of them.
1. Wash AND Dry
Make sure you wash EVERYTHING but, more importantly, put everything through the dryer. It’s the heat that kills the bed bugs.
2. Trash bag in the sun/ Natural Heat
This was the advice the pastor’s wife gave us for things that couldn’t go in the dryer. For example, a baby doll. Bag those items and place them in a window in the car where the heat can kill them.
3. Tea Tree Solution
Buy an empty spray bottle and fill it half way with rubbing alcohol and about 20 drops of tea tree oil (Usually found in the vitamin section of a store).
4. Bug spray
As mentioned above, we also used a bug spray meant for bed bugs. They do make “bug bombs” meant for bed bugs. We had thought about using that in the car but decided it would be better we didn’t.