The Five Best Ways to Prevent Bed Bugs so You Can Sleep Easier
According to the 2015 Bedbugs Without Borders survey, produced by the NPMA and the University of Kentucky, bedbugs are "found seemingly everywhere" and in higher numbers and in more places than ever before, from day care centers to college dorms.
Even the cleanest of homes could become subject to bedbugs if the home owners aren’t careful. They are present in all fifty states.
What makes things worse, is that bedbugs are difficult to remove from a home once they are present. They hide in the most unusual places and don’t respond to standard methods of pest removal, so the best thing anyone can do is to try to prevent them from entering the home first. An infestation can be both uncomfortable and expensive, with the going rate for extermination in the $1,200 range.
Check The Environment
Bedbugs can hitch a ride home on clothing, suitcases, wood furniture and more. If you are in a room with bedbugs, chances are they will find a way to invite themselves to your house. Checking your environment for the critters is the first step. Do a basic inspection of your hotel room, visually inspecting the headboard, mattress, box spring and pulling back the sheets. You may spot the begs themselves or little brown spots that indicate their waste.
After a trip, unpack your suitcase in the garage and put them through a hot wash or regular wash with a warm or hot dry cycle. If you suspect a suitcase or bag to have possible contamination, seal it up, air tight in a bag, and let it sit for two or more weeks.
Cover and Protect
Since one of the favorite places for bedbugs to hang out is the mattresses (the better to crawl out at night and bite their victims), protecting the mattress and box spring with encasements so they can’t get in. You can also purchase a device that prevents bedbugs from climbing up to the bed from the floor. While these steps won’t prevent bedbugs from getting into your home, they will keep you safe from nighttime bites and make the issue easier to remedy.
Be Careful with Second Hand Furniture
While most people wouldn’t think twice about not picking up a used mattress, the real danger might be the cute chair left on the curb, the great stool you found on Craigslist or the set of pretty wooden frames from the Goodwill. Bedbugs have been known to hide in almost any porous surface or crevice they can find, from a roll of wallpaper to a jewelry box. Be wary of used items and inspect them thoroughly before bringing them home.
Most bedbug infestations start out with just a few bugs, so if you can get on top of the "beasties," you can prevent an invasion. Regularly clean and inspect your home. Use a flashlight at night to check in, around and under under the bed, behind the headboard and behind picture frames and furniture. If you spot what you think is a bedbug, snag it with a piece of clear tape and call an exterminator immediately. If bedbugs are confirmed, quick treatment is crucial. Don’t try to tackle it by yourself, because you may inadvertently spread the bugs.