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How to Avoid a Bed Bug Infestation

The best way to deal with bed bugs is never to get them in the first place. Bed bugs don't usually wander into your home like roaches, rats and fleas do. They have to be physically carried in by a host – like yourself or your belongings. The most likely circumstances in which you will introduce bed bugs into your home are through travel and using secondhand furniture and bedding. These are the two areas to which you must pay close attention to avoid a bed bug infestation.

The easiest way to avoid infestation through secondhand furniture and bedding is to not use them. If you don't bring home any used furnishings, you will not bring home any bed bugs that might be attached to them. However, if you must purchase or use secondhand furnishings or bedding, there are a few precautions you should take to stave off any bed bugs that may be lurking in your midst.

  • Vacuum the surfaces, cracks and crevices to remove any bed bugs you can't see.

  • Use a flashlight to thoroughly inspect all the possible hiding places in the furniture.

  • Any material that can be laundered should be washed and dried on the hottest setting.

When you're traveling, you have to take special precautions to keep your belongings bed-bug free. First and foremost, never put your bags directly on the bed, floor or chairs. Put them on a shelf or counter top. Bring a flashlight with you and inspect all the nooks and crannies of the bed, bedding and frame. Remember to check the seams of the mattress, behind the headboard and the legs of the bed frame. You're looking for rust-colored, wingless flat bugs with six legs.

Bring plastic zipper bags with you to store your belongings in. You can put your dirty clothes, toiletries and other small items in these bags and seal them. This way bed bugs cannot penetrate the bags and cannot find their way home with you. When you get home, take your belongings out of your luggage and put them in plastic bags to be laundered. Put your luggage in large plastic bags and seal the bags. You can store the luggage this way or if it is hot enough you can leave the bagged luggage in the sun for a couple of days. Once the temperature inside the bags heats up, it will kill any bugs that are lurking in the bags.


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