We can’t imagine a more uncomfortable way to wake up than covered in small, itchy red spots and blisters. If you’ve found yourself in this terrible position, you might be dealing with a bed bug infestation. Figuring out how to prevent bed bugs is one of the wisest choices homeowners or renters could make.
Once these tiny hitchhikers make their way into your house, it becomes incredibly challenging to get rid of them, and a bug-free home might take months to achieve.
When learning how to avoid bed bugs, you discover that it is best to take action against them before they come near your home.
If you can spot the signs of a bed bug infestation, you’ll be able to tackle the problem much faster than if they’ve taken over your entire home already.
If you’re worried about attracting bed bugs to your house, implement a few or all of these bed bug prevention tips to ensure that your home is a safe space for you to return to every day.
- The Life Cycle of Bed Bugs
- Bed Bug Prevention Tips
- What do Bed Bugs Look Like?
- How do Bed Bugs Get Inside?
- How to Prevent Bed Bugs from Hiding
- Storing Clothing in Vacuum Sealed Bags
- How to Avoid Bed Bugs
- Keep an Eye on Pets
- Reduce the Clutter
- Keep Your Mattress Covered
- Use Bed Bug Monitors
- Regularly Inspect Your Furniture
- Don’t Allow Movers to Use Blankets
- Seal Your Home with Caulk
- Wash New Clothing
- Know How to Spot Bugs in Hotels
- Know How to Use Laundromats
- Repelling Bed Bugs with DIY Sprays
- Efficient Ways to Kill Bed Bugs
- Calling Pest Control
The Life Cycle of Bed Bugs
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that bed bugs, or Cimex lectularius, are pests that feed on blood and cause irritation in human hosts.
They are not currently known for transmitting diseases, but they cause other health issues, so getting rid of bed bug problems is extremely important. Bed bugs belong to the Cimicidae family of insects that feed on the blood of their hosts.
These small pests fed on bats until our human species started living in caves and moving from place to place. Adult bedbugs mate and the amount of eggs that a female produces depends on how much blood she has accessible.
If she is well fed, she lays more eggs. The average bed bug only lives for one year, but she produces hundreds of eggs during that time. The bed bugs’ eggs develop into nymphs and develop through five growth stages after each blood meal.
With each meal, they grow about half a millimeter in size until they are four-and-a-half millimeters long. As adults, the bed bugs mate, and the entire process starts over again.
With so many females laying eggs, you can imagine how easy it is for them to spread. Learning how to prevent bed bugs is one of the most critical steps in stopping an outbreak.
Pest control is always there for you if things get out of hand, but use these bed bug prevention tips so that you never have to deal with the problem in the first place.
Bed Bug Prevention Tips
We aren’t born knowing how to avoid bed bugs. This knowledge is a skill that takes time and research to understand fully.
Once you become familiar with how bed bugs live their lives and spend their time, keeping them out of your home becomes second nature. The more of these strategies you put into place, the less likely they will enter your home.
What do Bed Bugs Look Like?
The simplest and most straightforward way to prevent bed bugs from spreading is to identify them. If you know precisely what to look for, then you can identify the problem before it turns to chaos.
Bed bugs are remarkably tiny, and they have flat, wingless bodies with six legs. Their reddish-brown bodies often have the shape of an apple seed that they squeeze into small nooks and crannies around your home.
You are most likely to spot a bed bugs home and hiding places around clothes, luggage, bed frames, a box spring, and inside bed sheets.
How do Bed Bugs Get Inside?
Many people believe that bed bugs only find their way into uncleanly or unhygienic homes, but that isn’t true. Bed bugs are concerned less with the cleanliness of the space and more with where they get their next meal.
They hitchhike their way into our homes on used furniture or secondhand furniture, suitcases, from laundry facilities, and our clothes after sleeping in an infected hotel room.
Bed bugs are mainly active and moving around at night, which is why bed bug bites are mostly spotted in the morning after you get out of bed.
They are attracted to anything that exhales carbon dioxide, and they try to hide out around areas where they have easy access to their food.
Once they feed, they crawl back into the mattress’s seams and crevices of a headboard until they are ready for their next meal.
How to Prevent Bed Bugs from Hiding
What keeps bed bugs away? Spotting the signs of bed bugs is crucial but making your home as uncomfortable for them as possible is one of the greatest ways to keep them away. Electrical outlets are the perfect hiding spots for tiny pests.
They crawl into the openings because it is one of the last places you’d think to look. Try inserting a protective cover into your power outlets to avoid having to call pest management.
Not only does this stop them from hiding inside them, but it prevents them from traveling through the walls and into other rooms via these outlets.
Storing Clothing in Vacuum Sealed Bags
Hotels are one of the most likely places that you might pick up bed bugs. Traveling is fun, but it becomes a nightmare when you bring home unwelcome pests.
For dealing with bed bugs, purchase a few vacuum-sealable bags for you to store your clothes in whenever traveling for pleasure or business.
Your clothes become far less accessible when put into these bags and make it harder for the bugs to hitch a ride to your house. Inspect the clothes on a luggage rack before returning home.
A plastic bag is also fantastic for storing seasonal clothing or other fabrics that aren’t currently used around your home. The more protected your materials are, the less likely bugs are to attach themselves to them.
How to Avoid Bed Bugs
Some weekly chores also help with the prevention of bed bugs. The fastest way to get rid of bed bugs and their eggs is to vacuum frequently. Similar to how they hide in our bed sheets, bed bugs also might be sneaking around in your carpet.
Incorporate a weekly or monthly vacuuming routine where you clean off all carpets, rugs, box springs, hardwood floors, and baseboards. This also helps prevent dust mites and bugs of other types.
Once finished with this chore, take the vacuum cleaner bag immediately to an outdoor garbage can so that they don’t escape and sneak back into your home.
Keep an Eye on Pets
Bed bugs don’t only enjoy feeding on humans. Cats, dogs, and other furry pets are a perfectly acceptable dinner to a bed bug.
Your pets might bring them indoors after playing outside for a few hours. After inspecting your pet, make sure to wash and dry their pet beds on the highest heat setting possible.
Reduce the Clutter
Protecting your home isn’t only beneficial to you in one way. Clutter offers the pests more places to hide.
Reducing as much clutter around your house not only decreases your chance of running into bed bugs, but it helps you live a more minimalistic and organized lifestyle. What could be better than that?
Keep Your Mattress Covered
The mattress is the ideal place for a bed bug, and if they made their way there, they live a life of luxury with hard-to-reach hiding places and easy access to food. Mattress covers and box spring encasements are smart investments to make.
The covers protect your mattress from normal wear and tear, but they can also kill bed bugs that already exist.
If the bed bugs cannot escape because of the encasements, they will not be able to feed. All the existing bed bugs will die and no longer be a problem in your life.
Use Bed Bug Monitors
There are a lot of bed bug prevention products on the market for purchase. One of the cheapest and easiest to use are interceptors that go under the feet of your bed frames. These devices are circular and white with slick walls.
The white background allows you to quickly identify the bugs, and the slippery surface prevents the small bugs from climbing out of them. Once they are trapped, confirm whether you have bed bug problems and dispose of them accordingly.
You can also make your own best bed bug traps with white food containers that serve the same purpose as store-bought interceptors.
Regularly Inspect Your Furniture
You already know how to look for signs of bed bugs by now, so implement that knowledge and start regularly inspecting all your furniture.
Check your couches, mattress, box spring, bed frames, carpets, baseboards, and other areas of your home for signs of them. If you see small, rust-colored blood spots on your furniture fabrics, that is also an indication that you may have an infestation.
On top of regular checks of your existing furniture, always thoroughly inspect antique or secondhand furniture before purchasing it or bringing it anywhere near your home. The sooner you spot the bugs, the easier your life is going to be.
Don’t Allow Movers to Use Blankets
There comes an unavoidable time in everybody’s life where you find yourself packing up your belongings and moving to a new location. Hiring a moving company is a simple way to make your life easier and get most of the work done professionally.
However, be cautious when using these services. Moving companies work with hundreds, if not thousands, of families every year, and they almost always reuse moving blankets to act as padding on your furniture.
The protection is excellent, but only if they aren’t already infested. If possible, provide the moving company with your own moving blankets or avoid them altogether.
Seal Your Home with Caulk
You now know that bed bugs love to sneak away to small spaces where you’ll never find them. Caulk is a lifesaver when it comes to sealing up your home and keeping them from entering.
Find caulk is at any local hardware store. Walk around both the inside and outside of your home and spread the caulk over any spaces where the bugs might creep their way inside.
Check baseboards, windowsills, broken screens, and cracks in your home’s exterior, and use a keen eye to spot as many potential entrances as possible.
Wash New Clothing
Shopping for clothing isn’t only essential, but it is fun as well. As much as some of us love to shop, we might be bringing home unwelcome guests by doing it.
Whether you shop for used clothing or purchase everything brand new, it is always wise to wash your clothing or any other type of fabric the moment you bring it home because of all the people who tried on the piece before you did.
Wash all clothing and fabrics on high heat when you bring them home. Dry the items on the highest heat settings so you kill any eggs or nymphs attached to the clothes.
Know How to Spot Bugs in Hotels
Travelers run the highest risk of bringing bed bugs into their houses. Before you do anything else in your hotel room, sweep the room and do a comprehensive inspection.
Start by looking for rust-colored spots on the sheets, mattresses, bed skirts, or any other furniture piece in the hotel room. Raise the mattresses and cushions in the room and scan the headboards.
Use a luggage rack to examine all your luggage before leaving the hotel and packing up to head home.
Once you return, put all the clothing in your luggage in the dryer on high heat for at least 15 minutes. If you identify signs of an infestation of any kind, kindly request a new room and inform the hotel of the problem.
Know How to Use Laundromats
We aren’t all lucky enough to have in-unit washers and dryers, and many of us rely on laundromats to be able to have fresh laundry. Unfortunately, this is where it is easy to pick up bed bugs and bring them home from all the shared spaces.
Although carrying our laundry is easier in open baskets, they aren’t ideal for bed bug control. Instead, carry your dirty laundry into the facility using large plastic bags or trash bags.
The plastic makes it harder for the bugs to attach to your clothes and decreases your chance of an infestation.
Repelling Bed Bugs with DIY Sprays
Like many other insects, bed bugs are sensitive to a lot of smells. The more uncomfortable you make your home for them, the less likely they are to stick around.
Try using a homemade spray made from essential oils. The spray smells pleasant for everyone who enters while repelling bed bugs at the same time.
To make a lavender spray for bed bugs, pour the clean water into a small spray bottle, and then add the drops of lavender and peppermint essential oils. Replace the spray bottle cap and shake it for 30 seconds, so everything gets mixed well.
Spray the solution over areas of your home that might attract bed bugs or that are already infected. Misting it over your sheets and furniture won’t harm the fabric and is lovely to sleep in.
Be careful when using cayenne pepper for bed bugs as it is also an irritant for people and pets.
Efficient Ways to Kill Bed Bugs
Learning how to prevent bed bugs only takes you so far. If you have an infestation, you need to take care of the problem immediately.
Diatomaceous Earth is one of the best products for killing bed bugs and other insects that have invaded your home. Diatomaceous Earth is a non-toxic, white powder that is safe for humans and pets.
Sprinkle the powder on the bed, floor, baseboards, walls, or other areas where the bugs might be hiding. As the bugs crawl through the powder, the sharp edges cut the bugs’ exoskeleton.
The powder enters their systems, dehydrates them, and dries them from the inside out. Any moving insect that comes in contact with the Diatomaceous Earth dies after about 24 hours.
Calling Pest Control
You may reach a point where you have to call pest control. Although it isn’t ideal, it is one of the only ways to guarantee that you get the bugs out of your space for good.
These professionals use strong insecticides and pesticides that you may not have access to. Although they aren’t the best for our health, they solve the problem quickly and ensure that every last bed bug that made your house a home is dead.
Though there are dozens of ways to prevent and kill bed bugs, you have to stay on top of your practices.
The more of these bed bug prevention tips you use, the less likely you are ever to have to deal with an infestation. Of all the pests in the world to deal with, bed bugs are some of the worst.
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