Okay, so that thing you thought was a bed bug turned out to be a crumb for last night’s midnight snack.
Whew! False alarm. Maybe you were about to run to the store and buy the first can of stuff that had a foreboding skull and crossbones printed on it and spray everything in sight but now you can relax a little.
Also, don’t spray random insecticides around. It’s a bad idea. It’s normal to overreact a little when you discover unwelcome insects in your home, but overreacting will rarely solve or even ameliorate the problem. Come to us first and we can provide you with the best DIY infestation solutions, no matter what pests you’re dealing with.
But even as your panic subsides, you are probably wondering about what you would have done if your sighting had turned out to be an actual bed bug. How do you prevent bed bugs in the first place?
The truth is, as with many other things in this world, there is no way you can ever guarantee that you won’t get a bed bug infestation but there are some things that you can do to minimize the risk.
That’s why we’ve put together this brief guide.
We can’t ensure that you will never get a bed bug infestation, but doing these 10 things can give you better odds.
How to prevent bed bugs: 10 tips to stave off the Horde
Like many other insects, bed bugs love clutter. Decluttering is an important element in prevention. Clutter gives a place to hide and nest. While it won’t necessarily stop an infestation, reducing clutter denies bed bugs places to shelter and makes it easier to spot them if they do make their way into your home.
Vacuuming regularly (at least weekly, daily if you have an infestation) will most likely not destroy an infestation, but it will take a bite out of it. Once you’ve vacuumed, immediately dispose of the bag in your outside trash bin. If you have a bag-free vacuum then empty it (again, outside) and clean the chamber thoroughly.
Buy a mattress cover
Many manufacturers make mattress covers that are designed to inhibit the spread and infestation of bed bugs. Some covers are even pretreated with insecticides that are safe for humans but lethal to bed bugs and other small insects. A good mattress cover can help prevent infestation and even offer some reprieve if you already have one.
Consider light colored linens
Bed bugs, their excrement, and human blood have distinct colors. By covering your bed with a light colored mattress cover and/or linens, it will be easier to spot any of these tell-tale signs of infestation early on and prevent a small infestation from becoming a large one.
Beware of other people’s dirty (and clean) laundry
Shared laundry facilities like a laundromat are the Grand Central Station of bed bugs. A small infestation from one place can quickly spread to many others by infested laundry coming into contact with other laundry. If you go to a laundromat, check reviews to see if the place has a reputation for being clean. If you live in an apartment or condo that has centralized, communal laundry facilities, try to minimize any contact between your laundry, other people’s laundry, and surfaces.
When you travel, do some homework first
Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, there is always a risk of bringing bed bugs back home with you. This is one of the most common ways the little pests spread.
If you’re taking a trip, research the places that you’re staying to verify if they have or have had bed bug infestations in the past. Check reviews from other patrons. People tend to write reviews when they’re either very happy or very angry and if somebody else brought bed bugs home with them from a hotel they stayed at, they’re probably more than happy to spread the word.
Don’t let your luggage be a bed bug carriage
When you’re staying somewhere else, avoid putting your luggage on the bed. Keep it on a luggage rack or in a clean, dry bathtub. Bed-to-luggage transfer is one of the most common ways that bed bugs jump from one place to another.
Channel your inner crime scene investigator
When staying somewhere away from home, give the room you’re in onceover with a flashlight. Check for signs of bed bugs infestations (see our blog post on the subject for tips on what to look for while you inspect), especially in trouble areas like mattresses, box springs, bed stands and bedside stands.
If you see any signs of infestation, immediately remove yourself and your things from the room and find other accommodations. It doesn’t take long for bed bugs to climb on or into luggage or clothing that you bring in with you.
When you get home from your trip, immediately wash the clothing that you took with you in hot water. Leave your luggage outside and thoroughly vacuum it (disposing of the contents as outlined above). When bed bugs stow away on clothing or laundry, there may not be that many of them. Intercepting any stowaways before they even get inside can prevent big headaches later on.
Seek professional help
Bed bugs are obnoxious little pests that can be surprisingly sneaky and resilient. All of your best efforts notwithstanding, you may still find yourself with an infestation. When that happens, or if you simply suspect that it’s happened, we’d love for you to reach out to us for help. We’ve been in the pest control business for many years and know how to tackle any kind of infestation. We can help you with bed bug infestations and bed bug prevention. It doesn’t matter where they came from, we can get rid of them.