How To Prevent Bed Bugs
Bed bugs travel from place to place by hiding on moving objects. This could include your luggage, your clothing, and you. However, there are ways to decrease your chances of bringing home a bed bug. Many of today’s infestations originate from exposure to infested airplanes, hotels, cruise ships, apartments, and work areas. Once infestations reach one place of business or living, they can easily migrate to others. Here are some suggestions on how to prevent bed bug infestations.
Tip #1 Elevate your bed with bed bug traps
Bed bugs need to feed on a host in order to grow and reproduce. To prevent this, you need to cut off their food source by stopping them from reaching you in your bed. The most effective way to do so is by applying bed bug traps to the legs of your bed frame. This elevates your bed, preventing it from touching the ground directly.
Bed bugs can’t jump or fly — they have to crawl to reach you. With the bed bug traps in place, any bugs that attempt to climb up your bed frame will fall into the pit in the center, and won’t be able to climb the talcum-coated walls.
Tip #2 Encase your mattress, box spring, and pillows
Bed bugs most often hide out within 15 feet of their host (in this case, you while you sleep). Their favorite place to rest and nest is in your bed, tucking away along the seams of your mattress and box spring, or in the soft material of your bedding and pillows.
To keep bed bugs and their eggs out of your bed, you should apply certified bed bug mattress covers. These zippered mattress encasements are completely sealed to keep bed bugs from getting in or out, and protect your bed from stains and allergens as well. For added security, encase your box spring and pillows as well, and keep all encasements on for at least 18 months to kill any bed bugs or eggs that may already by present.
Tip #3 Apply residual powders
Bed bugs can hide almost anywhere a credit card can fit. That means they could be camping out in your walls and floors, behind furniture and appliances, and anywhere else that is accessible through a hole, crack, or crevice. Since bed bugs are resistant to most insecticides, you’ll want to apply an alternative treatment for long-lasting prevention.
Your best option to keep bed bugs from thriving in your walls is with a bed bug powder like diatomaceous earth, which works by clinging to the bed bug’s shell and dehydrating them. It’s natural, safe for humans and most pets, and works indefinitely as long as it stays dry. Use an applicator to apply the powder inside walls, behind appliances, inside electrical outlets (not where you put the plug), and behind picture frames.
On the Go
Tip #1 Protect your luggage with spray and sealed liners
Your luggage is the main method of transit that bed bugs may use to get to your home from wherever you stay (or however you travel). Bed bugs can hide along seams, folds in the lining, and can even fit through zippers.
Start with a residual spray that’s safe for luggage, like JT Eaton Bedbug Control. Lightly spray on the outside of your empty luggage, especially along any zippers. Next, pack your clothes and items in a sealed luggage liner before putting them in your suitcase or carry-on.
Tip #2 Inpect your room before unpacking
Inspecting for bed bugs isn’t easy — they’re only a few millimeters long, and they generally aren’t active until after you’re asleep. Regardless, there are a few tell-tale indicators to check for before settling in.
Use a flashlight and a magnifying lens to check the seams and folds of the mattresses for signs of bed bugs, like small blood spots or droppings. Look behind the headboard and around lamps or picture frames as well. If you find any dead bugs or shed skins, pick them up with tape and store them in a zip-lock bag to show to the hotel management.
Tip #3 Heat treatment after your trip
Bed bugs of all life stages are vulnerable to heat; exposing them to a sustained 118 degrees or more will kill them in minutes. When you get home, start by washing and drying your laundry on high heat settings, if possible. This will kill any bed bugs and eggs that were hitch-hiking in your clothes while you were traveling.
Anything that can’t go in the wash, like shoes, books, handbags, and dry-clean clothing, should be treated with a portable bed bug heater. This will safely heat its contents above 120 degrees, ensuring a thorough killing of any bed bugs hiding out in your belongings.