When it comes to these fast-proliferating bloodsuckers, knowing how to prevent bed bugs can save you weeks, months or even years of hell.
Because make no mistake – living with bed bugs is an absolute nightmare.
They may be tiny, but the damage that they can inflict on your home and your psyche is massive. Not to mention what they do to your wallet – professional bed bug control can require multiple treatments and cost you thousands of dollars!
And even after you finally manage to get rid of them, these little suckers can leave scars that one writer refers to as PBI, or post-bedbug insanity.
The good news is that none of this has to happen to you. Bed bug prevention is a helluva lot easier than eliminating an existing infestation.
So even if you’re not living in a bed bug infested area, it’s wise to take some simple preventative measures to protect you and your family from the horrors of an infestation. It takes just a few minutes of your time and it’ll be one of the best things you do for you home, your wallet and your sanity.
Ready to become bed bug-proof? Here’s how to prevent bed bugs!
How to Prevent Bed Bugs at Home
Home is sanctuary – the place you least want a bed bug infestation to break out. Here are a few simple things you can do to prevent bed bugs from entering your home…
True to their name, bed bugs like beds. In fact, the majority of bed bug infestations are found in beds and bedding!
They’re easy to install and provide bed bug protection that will save you hours of trying to rid your mattress of unwanted bed mates.
More bed bug prevention tips:
- Use light-colored sheets so you can easily spot signs of bed bugs.
- Wash and dry your bedding often, making sure to run it on the highest setting – heat kills bed bugs and their eggs.
- Choose metal bed frames – cheap, basic ones are great – since bed bugs prefer natural surfaces like wood over synthetics like metal or plastic.
- Upholstered headboards are beautiful but also a huge hassle to remove bed bugs from.
Keep a safe distance
Bed covers are great bed bug protection – but let’s also prevent bed bugs from getting anywhere near your bed. The easiest way to do this is to move your bed away from the walls and any furniture that is currently touching your bed.
Since bed bugs cannot fly or jump, they have to crawl their way over to you – walls and furniture can provide this pathway so remove it!
There should be only one way to get to your bed…
Lay bed bug traps
You’ve sealed off and isolated your bed. This means that if any bed bugs enter your home, they will have to crawl up to your bed from the floor.
To prevent this, place bed bug traps below each of your bed leg lifts – if your bed is currently touching the floor, that provides many entryways into your bed so get some universal bed lifts to raise it up.
These traps prevent bed bugs from getting in your bed and also serve as a bed bug detection device – win, win!
Create bed bug barriers
You could do everything right but if your next door neighbor brings home a bed bug infestation, these little buggers could eventually spread to your apartment. Studies show that there’s a 7% chance of a bed bug infestation spreading to an apartment over or below the infested one, but a 20% chance of spreading to an adjacent apartment!
And remember – all it takes is one pregnant bed bug to infest your home since these buggers will breed with their siblings and even their own mother.
So take the pre-emptive step and establish your home as a bed bug free zone. Here’s how:
- Use bed bug dust in cracks and crevices. Use a bulb dust applicator to squirt Diatomaceous Earth (DE) or CimeXa Insecticide Dust deep into any cracks and spaces in your walls and baseboards.
- Seal up all gaps. Bed bugs are tiny and freakishly flat – they can travel from a neighboring apartment through gaps in the walls. So seal up any and all cracks, crevices, gaps and holes in your walls and baseboards.
- Create a bed bug barrier. Line the bottoms of your walls – where the wall meets the floor – with an impenetrable barrier of bed bug dust so that bed bugs have to make contact with the dust if they enter your home. This will dry their bodies out from the inside out so they’re dead within a couple hours. Spread an even layer of this dust in the doorways to your home as well.
Be careful what – and who – you bring into your house
You’ve now prevented bed bugs from crawling their way into your home, but they can still hitch a ride on the things – and people – that you allow into your house.
Here are some of the most common causes of bed bugs to watch out for:
- Used furniture. This is very high up on the list of how you get bed bugs. A “free” couch can cost you a bed bug infestation so be very wary of used furniture – especially if you live in a densely-populated metropolitan areas. These places usually rank high for bed bug infestations.
- Used clothing. Bed bugs can live in clothes so wash and dry all used clothes before bringing it home with you. Even new clothes aren’t necessarily “safe” – a Hollister store in the trendy Soho district of Manhattan was temporarily closed after a bed bug infestation as was the flagship Nike store in NYC.
- Used anything, actually. It’s less common but bed bugs have been found in anything from books to alarm clocks so check and double check everything before bringing it into your home.
- Guests with bed bugs. Bed bugs don’t live on people but people can unwittingly be carrying bed bugs in their clothes, purses, or backpacks. Of course you can’t inspect all your guests’ homes, but at least watch out for signs of bed bug bites. Also be careful when staying at other people’s homes by looking for tell-tale bed bug signs.
And, of course, you don’t want to bring them back home with you from vacation…
How to Prevent Bed Bugs While Traveling
Bed bugs make crappy souvenirs – yet, a lot of travelers unwittingly bring them back home.
One of the most common ways to pick up bed bugs while traveling is simply by staying in a bed bug infested hotel.
Bed bugs can thrive anywhere people live but hotels and motels are especially vulnerable, thanks to their high turnover rates. And it’s not exactly like hotels can inspect all their guests for bed bugs when they check in – could you imagine that check in process? – so there is no real way to completely prevent bed bugs from entering a property, especially when you have hundreds of people coming and going on a daily basis.
Even posh, high-end hotels aren’t off limits since it doesn’t matter how sanitary or clean a hotel appears – any place that is temporary housing has a higher chance of a bed bug infestation.
But don’t worry – you can still go to the Bahamas. Preventing bed bugs while traveling is not difficult – just follow this checklist to make sure your hotel is bed bug-free.
It’s also a good idea to get a portable bed bug heater to bring with you whenever your travel, especially if you stay in hotels often. The ThermalStrike Ranger is big enough to fit a carry-on inside as well as everything that’s in your carry-on so you can kill all the bed bugs in your belongings in one go.
It’ll also fold up to fit easily inside a carry-on so you can take it with you wherever you go as an easy bed bug prevention aid.
Getting rid of a bed bug infestation can be one of the most stressful, time-consuming, expensive thing you ever do. Take the steps above to ensure you never have to deal with a bed bug problem in the first place!