As is so often the case with pest control, a few simple precautions to help prevent bed bug infestation are:
- Test secondhand pieces of furniture, beds, and sofas for any signs of bed bug infestation before bringing them home.
- Use a protective cover that encases cushions and box springs which eliminates many hiding spots.
- Reduce mess in your home to reduce hiding places for bed bugs.
- Use Light colored encasements that make bed bugs easier to see, and be sure to purchase a high-quality encasement that will repel tearing, and check it regularly for holes.
- Use luggage racks to hold your luggage when packing or unpacking rather than setting your luggage on the bed or floor, and upon returning home, unpack directly into a washing machine and inspect your luggage carefully.
- Check the mattress and headboard before sleeping, and
- educate yourself on bed bugs and their prevention
Integrated Pest Management Approach
- Scrutinize infested areas, as well as surrounding living spaces
- Properly identify the pest as being a bed bug
- Keep accounts of the infestation
- physically remove bed bugs through cleaning
- Clean all items within a bed bug infested living area,
- Use approved, bed-bug-labeled pesticides carefully, according to all label directions
- follow up with after-treatment inspection, and possible treatments
- Wash and dry bedding and clothing at high temperatures to kill bed bugs. A high temperature is needed to kill bed bugs at all life stages, so heat infested articles and/or areas through to at least 113 ºF for 1 hour.
- Cold treatments (below 0 ºF for at least 4 days) can eliminate some infestations
- Use mattress, box spring, and pillow encasements to trap bed bugs and help detect infestations.
Other Tips to Prevent/ Control Bed Bugs
- Make sure you really have bed bugs, not fleas, ticks or other insects by comparing the identified insect to known bed bug pictures
- Don’t panic, and don’t throw out all of your things because most of them can be treated and recovered. It can be difficult to eliminate bed bugs, but throwing stuff out is expensive, and may spread the bed bugs to others.
- Think through your treatment options, and don’t just reach for the pesticide spray can.
- Be wide-ranging in your approach, and utilize integrated pest management (IPM) techniques, which may reduce the number of bed bugs and limit your contact with pesticides.
- Bed bugs and their eggs can hide in laundry containers/hampers, so remember to clean them when you do the laundry, and regularly wash and heat-dry your bed sheets, blankets, bedspreads, and any clothing, to reduce the number of bed bugs.
- Reduce the number of bed bugs to lessen bites, thorough vacuuming. Carefully vacuum rugs, floors, upholstered furniture, bed frames, under beds, around bed legs, and all cracks and crannies around the room, and change the bag after each use so the bedbugs can’t escape. Place the used bag in a tightly sealed plastic bag, in outside garbage bin or burn them if you have an incinerator.
- You can turn to the professionals if your approaches fail since an experienced, responsible pest control professional can increase your chance of success in getting rid of the bed bugs that might be worrying you.