10 Tips and Tricks for Preventing Bedbugs

May 7th 2016

Catch bedbugs early before they become a major infestation. If you live in an apartment, notify the landlord immediately and identify the bug before deciding on a treatment option.

Know the Signs

Signs of bedbugs include blood stains, droppings and eggs found in several locations. Mattress seams on beds or furniture, cracks and crevices in furniture and baseboards of walls provide excellent hiding spaces for bedbugs. Bites that look similar to mosquito bites may appear on your body right away or days after a bedbug bite.

Inspect Luggage When You Travel and Use a Flashlight

Look carefully at your luggage when you travel. Place your luggage on a luggage rack away from a wall or put it in a bathtub. Inspect the room with a flashlight in the box spring, under the mattress and around the furniture. Search areas near the bed such as on nightstands and along the floor. Bedbugs come out at night, so a flashlight interrupts the insect's natural rhythm. Inspect luggage as you leave each hotel or locale.

Wash Clothes After Travelling

If you suspect you've been around bedbugs, immediately wash and dry your clothes on hot settings when you arrive home. If you can't wash clothes immediately, put them in sealed plastic zipper bags until you can wash them.

Seal Any Cracks in Your Home and Clean Up Your Place

Move around any furniture or rugs away from walls and then use caulk to seal any cracks. This works even if you don't have any bedbugs because it keeps them away from your living areas. Remove any clutter since bedbugs like to hide underneath things. Get rid of any old magazines or notebooks and put them in storage. Add lamps and lights to dark corners to brighten up the room.

Regularly Wash Bedding

Wash and heat-dry your bedsheets, blankets, pillowcases and any bedding that touches the floor. Bedbugs can lay eggs in bedding, so this reduces the number of bedbugs by interrupting the creature's life cycle. Wash bedding on the hottest cycle possible.

Use Encasements Around Your Mattress

Cover your mattress and box spring with a heavy-duty encasement for at least one year. The plastic keeps bugs out of your mattress, but also may prevent them from coming out of your mattress if any of these insects laid eggs deep in your bed. Purchase an encasement especially made to prevent bugs that resists tearing.

Kill With Cold and Heat

Temperatures higher than 122 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes kill any stages of bedbug development. Temperatures below zero degrees Fahrenheit for seven to 10 days also kill every stage of bedbug development. Place infected items in a freeze for one to two weeks to kill the bugs and interrupt the life cycle. Sterilize all fabrics such as drapes, curtains, rugs and stuffed toys in the medium-high or hotter setting in the washing machine.

Integrated Pest Management

One of the best ways to prevent or kill bedbugs involves integrated pest management. Professionals use strong pesticides and specialized heating equipment to kill the insects. Find an exterminator with experience in dealing with bedbugs, and make sure the pest control expert returns after treatment to see if the integrated pest management plan worked. Some professional treatments may take more than one visit to eliminate all bedbugs.

Conclusion

Bedbugs look like small, round and reddish-brown mites that grow to the size of an apple seed. After bedbugs feed on blood, they change to a redder color and elongate. These small insects travel from place to place on luggage or through small cracks in between apartments. Prevent these small creatures with these relevant tips for homeowners and tenants.

Sources

HealthFinder.gov "Prevent bed bugs: quick tips" http://healthfinder.gov/HealthTopics/Category/everyday-healthy-living/safety/prevent-bed-bugs-quick-tips
EPA.gov "Top ten tips to prevent or control bed bugs" http://www2.epa.gov/bedbugs/top-ten-tips-prevent-or-control-bed-bugs
NYC.gov "Preventing and getting rid of bed bugs safely" http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/vector/bed-bug-guide.pdf
UMN.edu "Prevention and control of bed bugs in residences" http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/insects/find/bed-bugs-in-residences/

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