One of the original selling points of iron beds was not their romantic appeal, but their ability to be doused with kerosene and set on fire. Why? To kill bed bugs, of course. Wood beds didn’t hold up to this early heat-treatment very well.  Iron beds were developed in 17th century Italy and soon became popular in hospitals, dormitories, and other high-risk dwellings. (Fire is no longer an appropriate treatment for bed bugs. In fact it is Number 1 in my top ten list of ways not to get rid of bed bugs.)

Vermin Killer Bed Bugs

HOUSE-BUGS. The method of destroying them. (from The Complete Vermin-Killer, 1777) Spread gun-powder, beaten small, about the crevices of your bedstead; fire it with a match, and keep the smoke in; do this for an hour or more.

You still find lovely iron beds in bed & breakfast inns. However, since the practice of sanitizing iron beds with kerosene has fallen out of favor, you may also find bed bugs in your favorite B&B. Avoid these pests and avoid bringing them home by asking the B&B proprietor, how often the establishment is inspected for bed bugs and who performs the inspections. “I don’t know,” means never. In that case, you’re on your own to protect yourself. A thorough bed bug inspection isn’t the way most people want to start a vacation; so try these three simple tips to keep bite free.

1. Pull back the bed linens and check the visible edges of the mattress and box spring. You are looking for very small dark brownish to black spots and stains, or shed skins from bed bugs. If you find anything suspicious, request another room.

2. Keep luggage zipped closed and away from beds, upholstered furniture, or closets. The bathroom is your best bet for a bug free zone.

3. Keep items that can’t be washed in zip lock type bags—books, electronics (including laptops), jewelry and toiletries.

If you travel regularly on business, download our Bed Bug Free Travel Tips. Remember to call the professionals if you suspect your home has been invaded by bed bugs. Thrasher Termite & Pest Control receives the highest ratings for bed bug removal in San Diego County.