Around the early to mid-1950s, bed bugs suddenly disappeared, almost without a trace. We thought they were a pest of the past. We were wrong. Around 2000, bed bugs suddenly exploded back onto the scene… and they were hungry. Now, bed bugs are among the most prevalent pest insects in the US. In 2018, 97 percent of pest professionals report treating bed bugs. 69% of these experts say they’re seeing more bed bugs than ever.
Contrary to popular belief, bed bugs don’t just infest “dirty” homes, either. Given an opportunity, bed bugs will infest any home or business. To keep them away, you have to keep them from getting that opportunity. Here are our top eight (six) best ways to keep bed bugs from infiltrating your home.
6. Reduce the clutter
Bed bugs thrive in environments where they can hide. They’ll spend days clinging to a hiding place, just waiting for prey to fall asleep. Keep all the bedrooms in your home as clean as possible. Vacuum and/or mop regularly. Don’t let clothing, sheets, or other stuff pile up. Pay attention to where you keep your spare bedding, pillow cases, and sheets.
Try not to keep anything on your bedroom floor if possible. The more cluttered your floor, the easier it’ll be for bed bugs to move toward your bed. Make your bed every morning. The cleaner you keep your bedroom, the less attractive it will be to bed bugs.
5. Inspect your bedding
This probably seems pretty obvious, but it’s too important not to include. The longer a bed bug infestation goes on, the worse it gets. Bed bugs lay eggs in your bedding, those eggs turn into more bed bugs, those bed bugs lay more eggs… you get the idea.
The sooner you can figure out you have an infestation, the better. Check your bed for signs of bed bug infestations at least whenever you change the sheets. The more frequently you check, the better.
4. Be careful with what you bring inside
The number one way bed bugs get inside homes is by hitching a ride on transported items. They frequently latch onto and hide inside furniture, bedding, fabrics, clothing, boxes, bags, and more. You bring this stuff inside, and then the bugs come out.
Make sure you’re not transporting any bed bug Trojan Horses into your home. Keep a careful eye on any furniture, beds and bedding, clothing, and other stuff you bring inside. Clean it and inspect it thoroughly before you put it away. Pay special attention to anything you purchase while thrift shopping.
3. Check your travel bags
Bed bugs love traveling. One of the main reasons they were able to proliferate so quickly after their re-emergence is their wanderlust. Bed bugs climb into traveler’s stuff during a trip and come all the way home with them.
You’re never more at risk of bed bug infestation than you are when you’re traveling or moving. When you’re back home getting comfortable again, bed bugs are doing the same thing. Be very careful with traveling bags after you get home. Never unpack anything without inspecting it. Definitely don’t simply leave your bag sitting out–no matter how worn out you are when you get home.
2. Don’t forget your clothing
Nobody ever thinks bed bugs are on their clothes. We don’t blame you; they’re called bed bugs, not clothing bugs. Unfortunately, however, bed bugs can and will use clothing as yet another means of hiding and entering your home. They’re especially good at clinging onto clothing while you’re–you guessed it–transporting it.
Consider storing your clothing in airtight plastic bags whenever you aren’t using it. Hang all your shirts and pants up in your closet. Keep all your other clothing in secure, airtight drawers. Examine any clothing you’re transporting carefully after you bring it home. If you find signs of infestation, wash and dry it immediately.
1. Follow traveling pest control best practices
This tip is kind of where it all comes together. Bed bugs get into people’s homes by hitchhiking with them while they’re traveling. Therefore, the most important way to prevent bed bug infestations is to prevent them from hitchhiking with you.
When you travel, bring along airtight plastic bags for all of your belongings. Store everything–clothing, toiletries, personal effects, etc.–inside these bags. Keep your suitcase sealed whenever you aren’t using it. Keep your clothing inside your suitcase whenever you aren’t wearing it. Don’t leave your bags, clothing, or suitcase on the floor of anywhere you’re visiting. Elevate your bags whenever you aren’t transporting them–especially when you’re sleeping. Inspect your bags for signs of infestation whenever possible, and especially after you return home.
Bed bug infestations happen all the time, to all kinds of people. Finding an infestation doesn’t mean you’re a bad homeowner or that you weren’t careful enough. There’s a reason the bugs spread throughout the US so quickly–they’re really good at what they do. If you can follow these six tips diligently, however, you can substantially lower your risk of infestation. Don’t give up, and don’t let the bed bugs bite!
If you have questions about bed bugs, give Plunkett’s a call any time. Our K9 inspection teams can (literally) sniff out your infestation, and then our heat treatment team will wipe them out. We’re always happy to help you sleep soundly again.BACK TO BLOG