Healthy Catering Alternatives That Are Just So Hip

Indeed, mobile cart vendors are hip to the issues around veganism and animal-based foods. The great news is food ingredient manufacturers are on board, too.

Do gourmet tacos – the kinds served at events in mobile carts – require animal products? They don’t if you use the right vendor.

Chalk this up to companies that know their market – vegans in California in particular are more numerous than just about anywhere else – as well as the advance of food supply companies that are developing great products.

Driven by concerns about human health as well as the health of the planet, meat and cheese alternatives are finding their way into both food stores and food vendors. It needs to deliver on taste, texture and overall appeal. Fortunately, a handful of companies have learned how to do this very well. Chilterns Catering for one is a healthy catering company based in Sydney.

They take the key nutrients found in both animal and vegetable products – amino acids, fats, carbohydrates, minerals and water – but source these things only from plants. For example, a not-chicken strip can be made with protein isolates, peas, sunflower oil, soy, carrots, vinegar, spices, garlic and onion (as well as flavorings, salt and colourings). The result, nutritionally speaking, is a complete protein in quantities equivalent to those in a comparable-size portion of chicken.

Tacos are often made with ground beef, and there is a vegan substitute for this as well. With half the fat of ground beef, a crumble-like ingredient is made of peas, oils (canola, sunflower), rice, tomato, spices (marjoram, basil, pepper, thyme, rosemary) and lemon juice.

More On Healthy Catering Ideas

Vegan cheese must meet taste, texture and “stretch-ability” expectations of diners, whether in tacos, pizzas or other preparations. Again, pea proteins are typically mixed with other ingredients (tapioca starch, palm fruit oil, brown rice syrup, seaweed/carrageenan, among others) to achieve diner expectations.

In each case, the differences between food service companies that fail to offer vegan choices and those that do are meaningful. A vegan generally is so for reasons that go beyond personal diet: it’s about how animals are treated, how they are raised, and the amount of the earth’s resources required to raise livestock. A vegan considers the prodigious use of agricultural land required to raise cattle, pigs and chicken as hugely outsized relative to that required to grow vegetables. And with increasing information on the over-use of hormones and antibiotics in feedlot conditions (where cows, pigs and chickens live, particularly in the weeks immediately preceding slaughter), the vegan is concerned with the amount of those factors entering their body and the waste stream that follows. By patronizing the company with vegan taco catering carts, the diner knows they are working with an enterprise that shares their values.

When a taco catering company that provides vegan taco catering competes with animal-products alternatives.

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Repair Work Of Burst Pipes In An Emergency

If you have ever had a water pipe burst, you will know that a flooding situation is a definite emergency, that requires immediate attention. Without a quick and abrupt solution being applied to remedy the water flow, you could face up to thousands of dollars of damage to your property in very short time indeed.

Burst Water Pipes Can Be Costly

A complicated plumbing issue like this can be quickly fixed by a professional plumber with all the right tools on hand. In some cases, these pipes are located underground as well as you may not see any type of symptoms of the burst or leaking pipeline till there’s large damage done to your property.

You might notice an increase in your water costs and also if there’s no rational reason for it, you could possibly have a burst pipeline. Or like the security camera footage video above, a burst water pipe can be an instant catastrophe.

Burst pipes could trigger structural damage to your house if not remedied quickly, over the long-term, it could create increasing damp, weakness in your home’s form and mold issues. The very best thing to do when you see a large increase in water use, flooding, dampness or mold is to call our group at Service Heroes.

Burst pipes can cause the below issues

  1. Flooding
  2. Architectural damage as a result of wetness
  3. Increasing Damp
  4. Mould issues

Our plumbing team are composed of highly seasoned, certified plumbers who are offered 24/7 to figure out your burst and also leaking pipes concern Sydney wide. It could require us to dig to repair your pipes, either means, we have the tools and knowledge to take care of any kind of burst water pipes problem.

Call our expert group currently to arrange a plumbing technician on site as soon as feasible anywhere in Sydney.

7 Wood Burning Fireplace Safety Tips

Who doesn’t love the warmth of a fireplace on a cold winter’s night? However, enjoying the benefits of a fire also comes with great responsibility. Making sure that your fireplace is safe each year is a great start. Have safe fires all winter with the following fireplace maintenance and safety tips:

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Have the chimney inspected every year and have a professional clean it when necessary.
While this may seem like a needless expense, it can be helpful to your insurance rates to have your chimney W.E.T.T. (Wood Energy Technology Transfer) certified. As well, having your chimney cleaned and inspected on a regular basis can prevent costly repairs and fire damage.

Install a chimney cap to help ensure that animals or birds don’t block the chimney.
Chimneys can make the perfect place for raccoons, squirrels and other small animals and birds. Chimney caps with screens can prevent them from entering the chimney and causing an obstruction. As well, a chimney cap can prevent rain from penetrating into the chimney and eating away at the mortar and bricks.

Use a fireplace grate.
Concrete is a very durable surface, but even still, prolonged direct exposed to fire will ruin it. A fireplace grate allows for better protection of the fireplace by saving the floor from direct heat, saving you money on replacement costs and lengthening the fireplace life expectancy.

Have a fire extinguisher nearby and install both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Chimney fires are responsible for millions of dollars each year of home and content damage. Having a fire extinguisher nearby and having early detection of problems by a smoke or carbon monoxide detector can help you ensure the safety of your family.

Clean out the ashes after each fire
Give the ashes at least 24 hours to cool down before removing them from the fireplace. Store the ashes in a non-combustible container outside of the house until you can dispose of them properly.

Clear the area around the fireplace of flammable objects and materials.
Everyday objects like plastic toys & plants, papers and liquids like nail polish & removers are extremely flammable should be kept far away from your fireplace. Even a tiny spark can cause these objects to start on fire.

Do not close the damper until the embers have completely burned out.
Embers can remain hot for up to two days after a fire. The damper should stay open, even if there isn’t a fire burning, to prevent carbon monoxide from staying in your house. NEVER LEAVE YOUR FIRE UNATTENDED!

If you follow the above tips, your family can enjoy the crackling and beauty of a wood burning fire, all while feeling safe and protected.

5 Tips for Buying Electric Wires

If you want to get some wiring projects done in your home, you need high quality electric wires. So, it’s important that you choose quality product. This is very important from safety perspective. Plus, good quality wires will save you on the electricity bills down the road. If you are looking for buying tips for electric wires, this article can help. Read on.

In your local market, you can find a lot of electric sellers for this type of product. Therefore, it may be a bit tricky for you to choose the right seller. However, to make it easier, we have listed some features that you may look for in the wires you want to buy.


Image result for electric wiresUsually, two types of materials are used for making electric wires: Aluminum and copper. If you need them for home wiring, we suggest that you always opt for copper quality. Aside from this, you should go for wires with multiple strands rather than single-strand wires. The important thing is that the wire should have a quality mark called ISI. Secondly, you should look for the electrolytic grade. It is recommended that you buy copper wires with an electrolytic grade of 99.97%.

Size of the wire

Usually the most common size of the wires is between 1 sq mm and 4 sq mm. For AC points, the recommended size is 4 or 6 sq mm. For light points, the commonly used size is 1.5 sq mm and so on. It’s very important to go for the right size or you may be wasting your money on unnecessarily thick wires.

Insulation of the wire

Usually, good electric wires come with three layers of insulation. The first layer offers protection from water. The second layer offers protection from heat and the third layer gives protection from fire. Typically, fire and heat resistant products come with a quality mark of HRFR. Ideally, you should look for wires that can withstand a temperature of over 100 Celsius.

Wire insulation color

Since there are three phases, you should choose three different colors for the wires. Mostly, black is for the neutral wire. Green is used for the earth wire. But keep in mind that the color for the neutral and earth can be different based on the country you live in. For instance, in America, the live wires can be blue, red or black. On the other hand, the neutral is white or gray. In India, on the other hand, the green is the earth wire.

Length of the wire

You can check the length by looking at the pack. On the coil pack, you can read the length as well as the rates of the wires. Usually, the length is written in meters and most coils have 90 meters.

Cleaning Grout Between Tiles – Floors, Bathroom, Shower, Kitchen

Image result for Cleaning Grout Between Tiles - Floors, Bathroom, Shower, KitchenGrout that gets dirty, grimy, or has any build-up of black, brown or gray mildew or mold can be very unsightly and embarrassing. It can be very hard to clean between tiles properly because grout is porous and it’s hard to get into the small spaces to scrub it clean.

Standard bathroom and kitchen sprays often won’t clean it properly, despite a lot of scrubbing. White and gray-colored grout with dark tiles can be a nightmare, as any discoloration really shows. It makes the entire bathroom, shower recess, or kitchen look grimly and neglected.

This article reviews your options — including natural and relatively mild home remedies using natural ingredients. It also includes bleach cleaners for stubborn stains, heavy mold and mildew build-up, and resistant black marks.

Your tiles may be dirty and stained for a whole host of reasons and it pays to have some alternative weapons in your arsenal for fighting against dirty and discolored grout.

Once it has been cleaned, it pays to clean it regularly as a preventative measure. Regular spraying with lemon juice, vinegar, or alcohol keeps mold and mildew at bay. Always quickly clean up any spillages of liquids and foods that can stain — such as curry, coffee and red wines. Treating the areas when wet makes the stain much easier to remove.

This article provides tips for routine regular cleaning to keep your lines clean and sparkling.

 Baking Soda and Water

  • Add a little baking soda to some water and make a thick paste.
  • Use the toothbrush to apply the baking soda paste to the grout, and rub vigorously.
  • For deep stains, leave the paste on and scrub again.
  • Redo areas that remain stained, and use a little lemon juice to remove the last residues.

Vinegar, and Baking Soda and Vinegar

This is the best way if you want to avoid using harsh chemicals.

  1. Add some white vinegar to a spray bottle.
  2. Sprinkle the baking soda along the grout lines.
  3. Spray with vinegar and while the baking soda is fizzing scrub with an old toothbrush. The alkaline baking soda reacts strongly with the acid vinegar to produce a powerful fizzing bleach action.
  4. Wipe the grout with a damp sponge.

Hydrogen Peroxide

  1. Mix about a cup of hydrogen peroxide with two cups of warm water. Add to a spray bottle.
  2. Thoroughly spray the stained areas to wet with the peroxide and leave on for about 5-10 minutes.
  3. Use an old toothbrush dipped in the peroxide mixture to scrub along the grout lines to remove the last remnants.

Lemon Juice

Fresh lemon juice is a strong acid and bleach.

  • Simply squeeze some fresh lemon juice and pour along the grout lines. Leave for about ten minutes.

This will clean any dark marks or stains in the grout line. Citric acid works in a similar fashion.


Stained grout caused by mildew and be cleaned with rubbing alcohol added to a spray bottle.

  • Simply spray the shower tiles with alcohol. The alcohol kills the mildew and removes the stain.

Bleach and Baking Soda

This combines two powerful cleaning actions.

  1. Make a paste by combining half a cup of bleach with one and a half cups of baking soda.
  2. Scrub with an old toothbrush.
  3. Let it sit on the grout for about ten minutes, then remove it with a cloth and hot water.

Chlorine Bleach

  1. Dilute following the manufacturers instructions.
  2. Add to a spray bottle and soak the grout lines.
  3. Leave on for 5 -10 minutes and then rinse off.

Oxygen Bleach (Powdered version of OxiClean)

This bleach is non-toxic, does not produce any fumes, and is safe for fabrics and colors, unlike many stringer bleaches.

  1. To clean floor tile grout, mix the recommended amount of oxygen bleach with some warm water and mix to dissolve.
  2. Pour the solution onto the floor tile and spread out so that the lines are filled with the bleach solution. Leave the solution on the grout for least 15 minutes (30 minutes or longer for bad stains).
  3. Scrub the stained areas lightly get rid of any residue, adding more solution as required.
  4. Once the grout is clean you can add a little bleach to the mop water every time you clean.

Always clean any food, wine or coffee spillages up quickly before it has time to satin the grout.

Grout Cleaning Machines, High Pressure Sprays, Steam Cleaners

For badly stained floor tiles, you may need to hire a special purpose grout cleaning machine that using high pressure sprays of steam cleaning. Special chemicals enhance the power of the machines to remove stains.

8 Aromatic Indoor Herbs that Purify Air Naturally

This is a collection of some house plants that can help clean the air in the room — from pollution, bad smells or odors, and that will lower carbon dioxide naturally.

Some of them also repel biting insects, while others invite useful wasps that kill the parasites on the other plants.

Most of those plants below will live in perfect coexistence near each other (except the mint, if planted in the same box or pot).

They will also not grow too tall and wide, so you can fill small spaces around your windows and not risk stumbling upon them all the time.

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  • Some use this herb for cooking, other use it as an herbal tea.
  • As with all plants having needle-like leaves, the rosemary is evergreen. It can be held indoors for the entire winter season and still give off a pleasant aroma.
  • Most needle-leafed plants are very good purifiers, especially for humid winter air. They breathe carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen. Rosemary is no exception here.
  • The most important function of this herb is its ability to improve cognitive function and shield the brain from free radicals.
  • Also, the presence of this plant in the room is enough in the long run. Rosemary still exhales some of its essential oils in the room (you don’t need to boil it in a tea infusion to benefit from it).


You need to confirm that you aren’t allergic to lavender before you decide on this one. If you’re not, this herb makes very good house plant because:

  1. It is an excellent insect repellent.
  2. The aroma relaxes the lungs and helps for calmer night sleep.
  3. The aroma (also) helps one relax if you suffer from anxiety.

If you don’t want to buy an oil lamp for aromatherapy or sleep with a lit aroma candle beside your bed, have a pot of lavender growing on your bedroom window instead. It loves sunlight, so don’t deprive it or it will refuse to bloom.

In late autumn, the sunlight will be insufficient. So, gather the seeds when the plant withers and reseed them at early spring.

The soil should be sandy and not too rich (don’t use compost and fertilizers with it). The plant is best kept in a pot with good drainage. Don’t drown the roots, or you risk losing the whole plant.


Basil is a very well-known herb and spice.

  • While it is most commonly grown in Asia and North Africa, it can easily be cultivated for all climates and be domesticated.
  • It grows about 1-2 feet long with small white blossoms and wide leaves.
  • The fruit is a small, 4-seed nut that dries and drops by itself at autumn and can be reseeded in the next spring.
  • The rich aroma and the pleasant peppery taste make up only one side of the coin. It can be also used as herbal tea and as all other plants will reduce the carbon dioxide in the room.
  • Gather some leaves for the salad and leave enough smaller leaves for it to grow.


Mint — the best herbal tea for winter, and the best plant for indoor planting.

There are many subspecies also called mint. This includes plants suitable for cooking with dry beans, plants suitable for baking with meat, others suitable for extracting fragrant oils for perfumery and scent lamps, and dozens more.

All these subspecies have a few things in common:

  • They make the air easier to breathe if you have lung disease.
  • They have a very pleasant aroma.
  • They attract one small wasp when blooming. The wasp kills some parasites on other plants or injects eggs inside them.
  • They make excellent herbal tea or a tasty cooking spice.
  • They love sun and water, but are incredibly easy to grow.

You can cut a branch and leave it in a glass of water for one week. It will grow very potent roots and you can plant it everywhere. Also, from the main root system, additional spin-offs will often grow, which you can then use or replant elsewhere.

The mint is often partly rooted and removed in my own terrace garden, because the root is quite invasive and strong. (It smothers and kills other plants around the mint.)


  • Jasmine opens its flowers up between 6 and 8 PM, when the temperature is lower. The aroma in and around your house when dining is very pleasant.
  • Having jasmine tea is also very good. (Just bruise some petals in a cup and pour boiling water. Cover for 10 minutes with a small dish). In China and India, it is mixed with green tea leaves and tumbled until the green tea absorbs all the fragrance from the jasmine. In fact, jasmine tea bags bought from store are actually green or Oolong tea with a jasmine scent.
  • Even if jasmine is not completely robbed of all its healing properties, it is better used as an evening house fragrance and air purifier.

I strongly recommend you grow this plant. It is not very expensive and smells great.


Geraniums come in more than 200 varieties. All of them contain the following positive qualities:

  • Excellent aroma, if you can tolerate it.
  • Mosquitoes repellent.
  • Doesn’t attract most parasites, which suck plants dry.
  • Looks excellent when blooming.
  • Purifies air.
  • A detached cutting can be grown by just re-planting it. It takes about a week to grow new roots.
  • They don’t need much care. Geraniums can live without water for two weeks on cold days.
  • More sun means more blossoms.

If you are still not convinced or you just don’t have too much botanical knowledge, this is the best houseplant for beginners.

Even more: Rose geranium can be used as a helpful herbal tea to aid those with diabetes melitus (type 2), as it lowers the blood glucose levels very quickly.

Coffee Plant

  • Coffee plants can be domesticated easier than an avocado seedling.
  • There are above 120 subspecies of coffee plants, with sub-gene arabica being most famous and easy to grow at home. They are spread and grown worldwide, but you probably don’t know how good this plant can be indoors.
  • It blooms in white and smells so refreshing in the morning that you will probably skip your morning coffee beverage and just breathe instead and be satisfied.
  • The normal coffee plant can grow to a small tree (3 meters), but indoors in a pot, it is quite compact — 1 meter (3 feet).
  • They take about four years to start blossoming. At that point, if you allow sufficient sunlight and help germination from small wasps and bees, you can grow your own coffee beans. Roast and grind them to coffee 🙂 One plant provides about 50 grams of dry coffee mass (around 2 ounces), which is enough for about a week’s supply.


  • Otherwise known as European honeysuckle or just common honeysuckle.
  • This plant is very useful for indoor stairs, especially if your rooms have sufficient sunlight.
  • It is a forest semi-parasitic plant growing over tree trunks and it can be domesticated and dwarfed.
  • You can grow it in pot with a wooden log or dry branch planted in the soil, so the vine can climb on it.
  • It has very sweet scent, especially at night.
  • Can be grown from a seed, and takes about 2 years to start blossoming indoors.

The Many Surprising Uses of Listerine

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Listerine has a long and rather complicated history. Created in 1879 by Dr. Joseph Lawrence and Jordan Wheat Lambert originally as a surgical antiseptic. No one imagined its amazing future back then. In 1895 it was given to dentists as a mouthwash. In 1914 it became the first mouthwash available over the counter. It would be the reason mouthwash would become a popular oral hygiene product. It’s adds worked hard to convince the population that they needed to do something about their bad breath and it worked wonders!

From 1921-1970 Listerine was also marketed as a product that could help prevent colds and sore throats. In the 1930s there were even a few ads suggesting it was the perfect way to get rid of dandruff. Over the years it has had a few purposes and several claims of it being a wonder product that can do a lot of good for a lot of things. While many of these claims aren’t backed up with scientific evidence or research, it seems that it certainly is worth trying and won’t hurt to see if it works for you!


Listerine has cured many fungal infections, according to many. It can be used for nail and toenail fungus, jock itch, athletes foot, and even trucker’s bottom. To apply it you can use a new spray bottle, apply a little to a cotton ball or cotton square and then rub the area, or you can soak it. Soaking it is recommended for nail fungus which is harder to get at. Soak for 20 minutes. The best kind to use is the original amber colored Listerine, but any flavor is supposed to work.


It was once advertised as a dandruff cure. Whether or not that is backed up by any science, I certainly don’t know. However, there are lots of people who claim it works wonders. Simply massage it into the scalp before you get into the shower and then shampoo as normal. Cradle cap, which is a sever case of dandruff usually found on a baby’s scalp, can also be cured with Listerine. Gently pour over the scalp and make sure to avoid getting it on the face. Wash your baby as normal.

Miscellaneos Personal Uses

After Shave- Many people say that Listerine is the perfect aftershave. Not only can you pick one you like the smell of and feel fresh, it sooths irritated skin, and leaves you feeling soft and smooth.

Body Deodorant- This germ fighting mouthwash can also fight germs in other places and through that process leave you feeling fresh and odor free. Use a spray bottle or cotton ball to apply to the underarms or other smelly areas.

Wounds- Because Listerine is an antiseptic it is good for wounds and can be used like many other wound care options.

Lice- While this one is the scariest, many people claim that Listerine is a good way to kill lice. Whether or not it works, I can’t say though it might be worth a try because it is less expensive and safer then many lice treatments. It is also claimed that it is a good way to prevent the spread of lice by treating the scalps of those without.

Skin Issues

Many different people have claimed to have success with Listerine in treating a wide range of skin issues. For applying you can use a cotton ball or square, a squirt bottle, slosh it on the area, or even add it to the bath.

Psoriasis- While it is unsure why Listerine would work in helping psoriasis or many of the other skin conditions it is said to help many people claim that it makes a huge difference.

Allergic reactions- Many also claim that it works well on allergic reactions including those to poison oak, ivy, and sumac. Some who have frequent problems use it regularly throughout the summer to avoid breaking out.

Shingles- Much like with other skin conditions many people say that it relieves the symptoms of shingles and stops the itching.

Rashes- A wide range of rashes are said to be healed by it, both those listed above and mysterious ones as well.

Acne- Many people claim that if you dab Listerine on blemishes they will clear up leaving your skin soft, healthy, and acne free.

Bug bites- Because it is known to stop itching of all sorts, many people claim it is also wonderful at bug bites. Just dab it on the bite and enjoy the fact that the itching stops.


There are many claims that Listerine was marketed in the past as a floor cleaner and a toilet cleaner. This isn’t true, but that doesn’t mean that the product can’t make a good cleaner. It kills odors and disinfects. Because of this it works well cleaning toilets, as a floor cleaner, and even an all purpose cleaner. You can put it in a spray bottle and water it down (half and half is a good mixture) and use it all over the house. It is also supposed to kill mold and mildew.

Another thing that it can do well is to disinfect a washing machine. Add a cup of it to the washing machine for cleaner, germ free clothing. This can be especially handy at a laundry mat. You can also use a cup of Listerine in an empty load just to clean your washing machine at home.

LivingShack is Offering Finest Quality and Energy Saving Ceiling Fans in Singapore

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LivingShack emerged out as world class Ceiling Fans authorized online store and rated as top companies with presence in many varieties in rotating device. With innovated and oriented ceiling fans range, it has managed to make a good collection for immense appreciation and customer base dealing in different brands. They are offering an enterprise grade range of high quality and designer ceiling fans in Singapore.
With constant focus on innovation, model, design, and affordability, LivingShack has become the trusted name offering Ceiling Fan with Light in Singapore. The demand for air conditioning system as cooling solution has not affected the need and popularity of rotating device. Being inexpensive, energy safer, easy to use ceiling fans are still widely in use across the globe.

Not majority believe this but proper regulation of cool air from the conditioning system’s is important to be circulated inside the room and rotating device is the best tool for this circulation. Thus ceiling fan not only lowers the electricity bill but also ensures that AC delivers optimal cooling thereby reducing the power costs of the air conditioning system as well.

When you ought out and consider buying ceiling fan you always look for vital factors among which energy efficiency, overall cost and trendy design are the most significant Ceiling Fans in Singapore. They understand customer’s requisites and thus ensure that they deliver innovative fans offer all such qualities in addition to robust engineered motor and high quality blades. Being the best supplier yet affordable rotating device are available and serves its customer with best fans that can satisfy their basic need in most ideal manner.

There are several brand linked with LivingShack namely KDK, Fanco, Acron, Cresatr, Designer and many other well known name in the market. The functionality of different ceiling fans from different traders will help serve you with dual purposes. Ceiling fan with light or remote are the additional functions of the rotating device. The online store ensures that its products are easily reaching the customers as soon as possible and in time. LivingShack ensures that their products are easily available to end users along with most energy saving fan with designer and trendy look that perfectly match with the contemporary décor in the homes and as well in the offices. The designer series of different variety of trades is available in numerous colors, styles and sizes thus customer is having good choice offering from a wide collection of devices.

LivingShack excels in highly efficient ceiling fans supplier ensuring the device structure. Mechanical equipment and circuits in each fan are ideally developed to deliver faultless performance for years. Experience the wonderful shopping of rotating device substitute to modern day air conditioning at reasonable cost.

How to Check for Bed Bugs and Bed Bug Bites

Bed Bugs are Here

In the last few years, bed bugs have become an epidemic in the United States and Canada. Despite the stigma that bed bugs follow poor housekeeping, these tiny pests invade even the tidiest homes and upscale hotels; luggage and clothing make the ideal vessels for these bugs, moving them from home to home and hotel to hotel. What’s worse, many people do not know how to check for bed bugs and so delay pest control efforts. This delay in identifying the pest problem contributes to an explosion in the bed bug population

So how do you know if you have bed bugs? And what do bed bugs and bed bug bites look like, anyway? I will provide you with several steps for identifying and handling the pests in your home, as well as information on identifying bed bug bites.

Checking for Bed Bugs

Bed bugs leave several tell-tale signs that experienced travelers and savvy homeownerslook for bed bug infestations before setting their clothing or luggage anywhere near the hotel beds. Likewise, savvy homeowners keep a vigilant watch for the pests: quick dis is key to quick, easy pest removal.

What Bed Bugs Look Like

Adult bed bugs have a reddish-brown color with a generally flat, oval-shaped body. They grow to about the size of a watermelon or apple seed. Young bed bugs, or nymphs, have a more golden or honey-toned color. While they may be a bit smaller, they can do just as much damage. Bed bug nymphs indicate the presence of bed bug adults.

How to Check for Bed Bugs

  • Check the top of your mattress and its seams, your curtain, couches, linen, and even unused clothing for live bugs, dead bug bodies, or bug parts, like skins or legs that may have been torn loose or shed.
  • Look for dark red spots about the size of poppy seeds or fecal matter, which bed bugs leave after eating.
  • Look for eggs, which look like grains of rice.
  • Examine furniture, including drawers, headboards, bed frames, and desk areas, as well as the floor area beneath the furniture. Note: because bed bugs are flat, they can crawl into tiny crevices in furniture to hide. Be rigorous!
  • Remember to check the extra linens in hotel room closets, pull-out beds, or cots, as these often move room to room and may have been in an infested room at some point.
  • Use your nose. Where there are bed bugs, there is usually a musty, sweet odor, too.

How to Prevent Bed Bugs While Traveling

  • Keep luggage and clothing off the floor and bed of a hotel rooms until you have used the tips below to confirm the lack of a bed bug infestation.
  • Keep suitcases, clothing, and all other personal items off the floor for the duration of your stay; bed bugs are mobile and may crawl in from nearby rooms. Before leaving, give your items a quick once-over to ensure sure no bed bugs have found their way into your things.
  • Wash all travel clothing, towels, and linens in the hottest water the fabrics allow whenever possible and immediately upon your return home. Likewise, dry these items on the highest heat setting possible. Shake out then vacuum your luggage and purses. Discard the vacuum bag or contents immediately. Rinse or wipe-down other personal items with a washcloth; remember to wash immediately the washcloth and your hands when finished.

How to Prevent Bed Bugs at Home

  • Clean your home regularly. While a clean home is no guarantee against this pest, it can help to expose an infestation or remove dormant bugs or eggs.
  • Seal up any cracks in the walls or flooring that might allow bed bugs to enter or hide. If you live in an apartment, ask your landlord to seal up any holes that lead to other apartments. You can only control your home, not the homes of others, who may bring the bugs and spread them to you through these small passages.
  • Offer guests the use of your washing machine and dryer for their clothing and soft luggage during their stay, just in case they picked something up along the way.
  • Keep your bed frame away from walls and your sheets tucked in. The goal is to make the mattress as inaccessible to the bugs as possible.
  • Cover your mattress and box spring with a plastic cover. The cover not only keeps pests out, but keeps pests in, too. Though bed bugs take a long time to starve to death, they do die eventually.

Checking for Bed Bug Bites

Bed bug bites have a few specific signs, but to an untrained eye, the bite may resemble a common mosquito or non-poisonous spider bite. Additionally, bed bug bites may take up to two weeks to appear. While everyone responds differently, most people will see the bite within a few hours.

Bed Bug Bite Signs and Symptoms

  • Bites often resemble small red bumps. At times, these red bumps may inflame into large welts. While some people feel little itchiness from the bites, others will find them much more uncomfortable than mosquito bites.
  • Bites occur in a fairly linear line of three or four. This line represents a bed bug eating and walking over the course of a few hours or the night. Several bed bugs may leave several of these small bite clusters.
  • Bites will last longer than a standard mosquito or non-poisonous spider bite.
  • Bites take hours or days to appear, corresponding with a recent vacation or signs of bed bugs in the home.

Easing the Itching

Several treatments for the itching of bed bug bites, or the bites themselves, are on the market.

  • Hydrocortisone Cream (rinse hands well after application and do not touch eyes)
  • Tea Tree Oil
  • Betamethasone Valerate
  • Benadryl
  • Please Consult with a Physician for Additional Assistance

What to Do If You Find Bed Bugs in Your Home

If you find signs of bed bugs, or the bugs themselves, do not waste any time getting to work. The longer you wait, the worse the infestation becomes. You have two options: call a professional, or do it yourself.

Getting Rid of Bed Bugs Naturally

I recognize that not everyone has the financial wherewithal to hire a professional to take care of the pest control, so I’ve included steps to a natural, earth and budget-friendly approach. However, managing even a small infestation of bed bugs is very difficult without the tools and knowledge of professionals. Prepare yourself for several cleaning attempts or the eventual cost of a pest control service.

  1. Wash everything, from linens to curtains, in the hottest water possible, then dry everything on the hottest setting possible.
  2. Vacuum everything, being careful to remove the vacuum bag from the home. If the vacuum has a container and not a bag, be sure to rinse it with scalding-hot water after bagging and dumping its contents away from your home and the homes of others.
  3. Take a washcloth dipped in a water and rubbing alcohol solution and wipe down as many surfaces as will take the solution safely and without damage. Immediately wash the rag in hot water.
  4. Consider purchasing a plastic mattress bag to starve mattress infestations.
  5. Leave no stone uncovered or drawer unopened. Clean everything: no amount of cleaning is too much.
  6. Use Diatomaceous Earth. This substance is natural, cheap, chemical-free, and 100% safe for pets and children. You can find it at natural food, garden, and farm supply stores. The DE sticks to bed bugs and many other pests and dehydrates them. Sprinkle it into drawers, seams, or on the surfaces of infested areas. Sprinkle it along baseboards, on closet shelves, under the headboard and on the bed frame, under the mattress, or in any crevice where a bug or its eggs may be hiding.
  7. Seal all exits to and from the infected region of the home. Use thick lines of DE across doorways to keep the bed bugs from crawling room-to-room.
  8. Use a solution of 1 part water to 1 part dish soap to spray any bed bugs you see.
  9. Wait, and be vigilant!

Getting Some Professional Help

Due to the explosion in bed bug populations, most regions will have professional services to assist in pest control management. These services generally rely on the vulnerability of bed bugs to heat, cold, and poison. As a result, you have a few methods from which to choose for professional pest management.

  • Insecticide
  • Steam
  • Heat
  • Cold
  • Combination

Insecticide and Bed Bugs

The trouble with insecticide is that pests, including bed bugs, eventually build up an immunity to the stuff. Additionally, insecticide poses health risks for family members and often adversely affects the environment. However, insecticide is still an effective means of treatment for bed bugs, though it may be wise to save it for a last resort or for use in combination with one of the safer methods below.

Steam and Bed Bugs

Because bed bugs are sensitive to heat, focused steam will instantly kill them and their eggs. This method has a fatal flaw, however, in that it relies on proximity to work. A pest control professional waving a steam wand who misses an area of about six inches on a mattress will often cause reinfestation. However, this method poses no health risk and only moderate risk to most of your household goods.

Heat and Bed Bugs

The heat method also relies on the vulnerability of bed bugs to heat by converting the infected area of the home into a large oven. With temperatures up to 120°F, the bed bugs cook to death. However, though this method seems simple, it has some drawbacks. For one, certain items including the mattress may not heat evenly to the required temperature. Additionally, the heat poses risks to some household goods, which means that several unsafe items, like hairspray or paint cans, will require separate cleaning and removal from the infected region of the home.

Cold and Bed Bugs

Much gentler than the heat method, the cold method poses less risk to household goods. It also requires much less energy to use and, like the heat methods, has no risk of building up immunities in its targeted pests. Unfortunately, this method has the same weakness as the steam method: it can target bugs themselves, or regions of infestations, but the chances of killing off the entire infestation with it is much less likely than with some insecticides.

Combination Treatments and Bed Bugs

Despite the risk of eventual immunities, many professionals like to combine hot or cold treatments with insecticide. The hope is that by using the safer, more environmentally-friendly option first, the infestation will require less insecticide later. Though this method has its obvious downsides, it’s hard to argue with its rate of effectiveness. For those with a tough infestation, this may be the best way to limit chemicals in the home while still using the muscle needed to kill off the last dregs of an infestation.