How to Prevent Bed Bugs
If you are facing a bed bug infestation (or are hoping to head one off), there are many ways that you can control their spread.
On the other hand, bed bugs have many ways of spreading undetected. They travel on clothing stored in boxes or suitcases, backpacks, and shoes.
You can, however, control the spread of bed bugs by using natural or chemical agents to treat your home. But because this task is so difficult, you may need to employ these strategies more than once.
Evaluate and Prevent
Most bed bugs are found within eight feet of a place where a human is resting. But as their population grows, so does their footprint in your home. That's why it's important to check the following areas:
- Continue to inspect for presence of bed bugs, at least every 7 days, in case any eggs remained.
- Start along one wall and clean the area. You can vacuum a carpeted area or use a wet cloth to clean hard floors. Use a card or similar item to determine if you have spaces in your bed frame, between your baseboards and walls or other cracks and crevices where the insects may hide. Pay attention to any movement and vacuum the insects when you find them.
- Repeat this process on paintings, artwork or other items on your walls, or anywhere your home environment creates crevices or other hiding places.
- When you have a clean wall and open space, move on to other areas of the room. Move furniture into the clean zone as you eliminate the bed bugs or determine that items do not have bed bugs.
- Work your way through the room from one side to the other as you expand your clean zone.
- As you work through your room, vacuum each item to remove bed bugs. An ordinary vacuum cleaner can pick up any bed bugs on the surfaces of your bedding and cushions, and it will allow you to remove the insects from the area.
- Use it on your mattress, couch, box spring, bed frame, or any other furniture. You can also vacuum carpets, wood and other areas with potential cracks and crevices where the insects may hide. This will pull up most of the bed bugs.
- If you are vacuuming a tight space, use an attachment with a reasonable degree of power to pull the insects out of cracks and crevices. This may not pick up the bed bugs hidden deep in your mattress, box spring or other items. The goal of vacuuming is only to remove most of the insects from the surface of your furniture.
- When you have completed the process of vacuuming your furniture and laundering the fabrics in an infested area, you'll want to use separate encasements to cover your mattress and box spring. These prevent the insects from getting out and infesting other areas of your home. They are designed to zip over your mattress or bed spring, trapping bed bugs inside.
- When selecting and using mattress encasements or box spring encasements, pay attention to the details. Make sure you select the appropriate size based on your bed and the size of your furniture. We've already outlined some of the best bed protectors as well as the best mattress covers so you don't have to do all the research. Leave the mattress encasement on for a full year to ensure that all of the bed bugs die, and you won't have to worry about the infestation returning.
- Before bringing new furniture or a new mattress into your home, inspect it for signs of an infestation. Especially if you've bought second-hand furniture, be certain that the furniture does not have any damage that may stem from bed bugs. If you are unsure, do not bring it home. And even if you don't see signs of infestation, spray it thoroughly with a repellent and consider using a mattress cover.
- Wash your clothes and other fabrics in hot water, and dry them on a high heat setting. Always launder clothes you travel with before you put them back in your room or drawer, even if they were previously cleaned. Hotels may have infestations and the insects can enter your home on your clothes, in your bags, or on other items you travel with. Laundering with heat prevents hitchhiking insects from infesting your home. You can also use a hair dryer to treat suitcases, purses or other bags and items you are not able to launder when traveling.
Inspect After Traveling
Especially after you've just returned home, but also on an ongoing basis, go on bed bug patrol: Check the following places for signs of blood or excrement spots, and keep a flashlight on hand so you can perform inspections in dark crevices and under furniture:
- Box springs
- Bed Frame
- Pet beds (don't forget – bed bugs are similar to pets because they like you as much as your pets.)
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