13 Good Habits for Preventing Bed Bugs
From childhood we are conditioned to fear bed bugs. For centuries parents have tucked their little ones into their soft bed linens with the warning, “Sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite.” For many years, bed bugs were a non-issue but with a resurgence of these blood-sucking pests, the likelihood of bringing them home has become more likely.
If you want to avoid these vampire-like bugs, here are 13 good habits to implement into your daily life:
1. Avoid Secondhand Items
Who doesn’t like a great deal? Thrift stores and garage sales offer bargains that are hard to pass up. Whether you are buying clothing or furnishings, stop and ask yourself if you could be bringing home more than just that. Within the upholstery or box of clothing could be stowaway bed bugs. If you’ve bought clothing, bedding, or other loose items you should immediately put them through the wash. Place them in a plastic bag before carrying them through your home, then wash everything in hot water and dry on a hot setting. Unfortunately, you can’t do the same with a bargain sofa or recliner and should treat these items as a precaution.
2. Check Your Bags
Always check your luggage closely for any bugs upon returning home from a trip. One option is to purchase a plastic zippered bag to place your bag in before heading on your journey. If you’re confident your bag is bed bug-free it is still wise to place all the clothing within into the dryer on high.
3. Inspect Hotel Rooms
Prior to spending the night in a hotel room, place your luggage in the bathtub and take the time to thoroughly inspect the bedroom for signs of the insects. Look throughout the bedding, mattress seams, box springs, behind the headboard, behind photos, along baseboards, and in any other possible hiding locations. Most bed bugs do not travel more than 12 feet from the bed, and they typically avoid tiled bathrooms.
4. Coat Dangers
If you’ve gone out to a club or dinner and checked your coat, you could be in danger of bringing home bed bugs. Avoid this where possible or place your coat in the dryer for 20 minutes when you return home.
5. Wash Your Sheets
You should wash your bed linens every two weeks. Every time you strip your bed, take a moment to inspect the seams and box springs for bed bugs.
6. Reduce Clutter
Eliminating clutter in your home means fewer places for bed bugs to hide.
7. Vacuum Frequently
If you do accidentally bring home a bed bug then frequent vacuuming can help pick up the straggler before it has a chance to procreate and infest your home. Always dispose of the vacuum contents in an outdoor garbage can away from your house and thoroughly wipe down the vacuum afterwards.
8. Avoid Shared Laundry Facilities
Ideally, you should avoid shared laundry facilities. If you have no other option, transport your clothing using a plastic bag to and from the laundry site and avoid folding your clothes on a shared table or laundry baskets.
9. Shared Housing Facilities
If you live in a shared housing facility or apartment complex then you should install door sweeps, caulk around any cracks, electrical outlets, and baseboards. Keep any creepy crawlies that might reside in your neighbor’s unit away from your home.
10. Bed Bug Monitors
Place bed bug monitors directly under the feet of your bed to prevent bed bugs from climbing up. If you check the traps regularly, you can quickly detect if you have a bed bug problem and start treatment to prevent a full-fledged infestation.
11. Inspect Books
Don’t think that items like books are safe. If you purchase a book at a secondhand book store or bring one home from the library, it may be infected with bed bugs. Check the spine and look closely through all the pages. You can even give the book a few shakes to try to dislodge any passengers.
12. Avoid Moving Blankets
If you are moving it might be tempting to use the moving blankets provided by the truck rental company or movers. However, moving blankets have covered countless furnishings and might contain bed bugs that may infest your mattresses or furnishings.
13. Used Electronics
Even used electronics can hide bed bugs. The small bugs can get into keyboards, game consoles, televisions, remote controls, or alarm clocks and leave the electronic device once they reach your home. Look in the vent of the devices by shining a flashlight onto the product to detect any bugs and consider treating the items preventatively
Practicing these 13 good habits can help keep your home free from a bed bug infestation. However, if you do detect bed bugs, you should take action to eliminate the problem before it grows.