Treating a bed bug infection can be costly in terms of time and money not to mention frustrating and unpleasant. The best way avoid all that hassle and is to institute your own program of bed bug prevention. Follow our 4 steps to remaining bed bug free:
- Regular Washing
- Early Detection
- Covers for Furniture
Bed bugs can attack clean as well as dirty rooms, but regularly washing your bedding will help kill any bed bugs that may have strayed onto your bed. Bed bugs are killed at temperatures above 120˚F so make sure you wash your linen on the “hot” setting. After washing, put them into the dryer and then dry on the hottest setting. For dry-clean only clothes, you can either take them to the dry-cleaners or dry them in the dryer on hot (without wetting the clothes). Please warn your dry-cleaners if you have bed bugs. There are also suggestions that not all dry-cleaners may be free from bed bugs since not everyone is conscientious enough to warn their dry-cleaners when they get a bed bug infestation. Sometimes, they may not even notice that they have a bed bug infestation.
Catching bed bugs early on can turn a potentially gigantic infestation into a mere annoyance for a few days. Use light colored sheets on your bed and look regularly to see if you can detect any small dark brown or reddish dots or streaks on them. Look for these dots or streaks on the side closest to your mattress as well. If you don’t have a bed bug protection mattress cover (see step 3 below), then you should also check your mattress for these signs.
There are several other methods of detecting bed bugs early. Go to the Bed Bug Signs page to read about them in depth. You can put vaseline or double-sided tap on the legs of your furniture to trap bed bugs or get bed bug monitors, which catch bed bugs by simulating human breathing. If you do manage to find a bed bug or signs of bed bugs, don’t panic. If you’ve been implementing these steps, then you won’t have had a large infestation. Go to the Bed Bug Extermination page to read about how to get rid of those few bed bugs.
Protect your furniture and prevent bed bugs at the same time. There are bed bug proof covers (or encasements) for your mattress and your box springs available to buy. These basically seal up your mattress of box spring so that bed bugs can’t get into them. Some of the mattress covers are made from plastic, which can make your bed rather uncomfortable and hot unless you put a thick layer of blankets between your sheet and the mattress. Be careful when buying mattress covers as not all of them will prevent bed bugs. Read a review of the AllerZip Encasement here.
If you’re considering buying furniture right now, avoid buying used furniture if you can afford to. (For more about used furniture buying click here.) It’s difficult to determine whether the used furniture you’re buying has bed bugs or not even if the seller tells you that it doesn’t. Bed bugs can live in wood as well as fabric. Consider buying furniture made out of metal, plastic or leather as bed bugs cannot live in these materials. However, bed bugs can still live in any crevices that may be in your furniture.
Obviously, we can’t let bed bugs run our life, although some people who live in constant fear of bed bug attacks do end up living a restricted life so as to avoid potential contact with bed bugs. Just be sensible. Avoid places bed bug infested locations. Keep up to date with places that have been infested with bed bugs and try to avoid them. If you do go to somewhere where bed bugs have been reported, try to wear clothes that are easily washable so that you can wash your clothes as soon as you get home and then take a shower.
photo credit: sun dazedMany people bring bed bugs home after travelling. Hotels are notorious for harboring bed bugs. Many hotels are incompetent or simply ineffective at exterminating bed bugs infestations. Read reviews of hotels before booking them. If several recent reviewers complain about bed bug problems at the hotel, then try looking for a different hotel rather than taking that risk.
Bed bugs or bed bug eggs can also attach to your suitcase if it’s made from fabric. Buy hard cover suitcases to reduce the chances of bed bugs smuggling into your belongings. Read more about how to protect yourself when you travel.