Oftentimes, bed bugs are one pest you don’t think about until you have them, but by then it’s already too late to take steps to prevent them. As with most things in life, prevention is much easier and better than devising a cure. Here are a few quick and easy steps you can take to keep bed bugs away.
Use Caution When Traveling
No matter how much or how little traveling you do, there’s always a chance you might bring bed bugs back with you. Be sure to check to see if your lodging location has a reputation for having bed bugs. Even if it doesn’t, it’s still a good idea to keep your suitcase in a large plastic trash bag or elevate it off the floor on a luggage rack to keep bugs from finding their way into your belongings. Once you return home from your trip, take out a few minutes to vacuum out your suitcase.
Beware of Secondhand Furniture
While buying secondhand furniture is a great way to save money, it can also open your home to a bedbug infestation. Look over mattresses, box springs and other furniture pieces for rust-colored stains, small shells of shed skin, small dark spots of bed bug excrement and actual bed bugs. Specific places to look in furniture include drawer joints, curtain folds and in the couch and chair seams. If you’re ever in doubt and really want the furniture, have it looked over by a professional before you decide whether to take the pieces home.
Simply vacuuming your floor is another good way to protect your residential property from a bed bug infestation. Specifically, you’ll want to vacuum your floors, box springs and mattresses. Not only is this a good way to suck up any bed bugs (or any other kind of bugs) you might have, it also helps to keep dust, pet dander and the like at a minimum, which can irritate your allergies. If there’s a high chance you do have bed bugs, put the vacuum bag in a sealed trash bag and toss it into an outside trash can well away from your home.
Get Rid of Any Clutter You Might Have
Bed bugs love to make themselves at home in piles of clutter, so be sure your property doesn’t become a prime real estate location for them. Sort through piles of clutter to decide what to get rid of and what to keep. This is a good opportunity to recycle and donate items, which will help you when the next tax season rolls around.
Use Mattress Covers
Because a comfortable mattress is essential for a good night’s’ sleep, which is essential for a variety of other mental and physical health factors, it’s important you protect your mattress from being infested with bed bugs, which can lead to you having to throw your mattress away. Mattress covers go a long way in protecting your mattress from an infestation, but bear in mind that they won’t do you or your mattress any good if you already have an infestation.
Use Your Own Blankets to Cover Furniture While Moving
If you’ll be moving soon, you might be tempted to use furniture blankets provided by the moving company. While you might like this idea to keep from dirtying up your own blankets, know that the moving company employees might not wash moving blankets as often as they should, which could result in bed bugs moving into your new space with you, which probably isn’t the kind of housewarming party you want.
The above tips and suggestions can go a long way in keeping bed bugs away, but they aren’t a guarantee. If you even suspect you might have seen a bed bug, do yourself a favor and get in touch with a professional.