How to Avoid a Bed Bug Infestation

A bed bug infestation generally starts when adult bed bugs invade your home in search of food. The bugs may arrive in luggage or clothing that was contaminated in another home, hotel or public place. For an infestation to take hold, a pregnant female or at least two bugs (male plus female) must be introduced, otherwise the bed bugs cannot reproduce.


If human hosts are in the vicinity, then the bed bugs will begin to feed and reproduce immediately, leading to a severe infestation after just a few months. Females can lay up to twelve eggs per day, and one pregnant female can establish an infestation of over 5,000 bugs within six months.


Bed bugs are attracted to dark, narrow, enclosed spaces, like the underside of mattresses, under carpets, behind baseboards, or inside cracks in walls and floors. In order to control and eradicate these resilient parasites, it’s important to be able to recognize the signs of a bed bug infestation. Evidence of bed bug activity can include:


  • Living bed bugs
  • Small white bed bug eggs
  • Molted bed bug skins
  • Bed bug fecal stains on bed sheets and other surfaces
  • Blood spots on bed sheets
  • Raised itchy bed bug bites on the skin


Most people first realize they have bed bugs when they notice the itchy bite marks on their legs, arms and abdomen. But there are many other common insects that can cause similar bites, including ants and mosquitoes, so it’s crucial to look out for the other telltale signs to verify that bed bugs are really the culprit.


It’s also a good idea to check for signs of a bed bug presence every time you sleep in a new place, such as a hotel or Airbnb accommodation. Travelers often transport bed bugs home after returning from a business trip or holiday. Bed bugs have trouble climbing smooth surfaces, so while staying in hotels you should keep your personal items off the floor, and use luggage racks and hangers for any clothing.


It’s wise to carefully inspect your luggage, shoes, clothing and other personal items before bringing them back home. If bed bugs are detected, then all items should be thoroughly washed using hot water for at least 30 minutes. If you don’t have time to wash your clothes before going home, then seal everything in airtight bags and wash immediately upon your return.


Second-hand garments purchased from thrift stores can also be a source of infestation, so avoid trying on used clothing in stores, and remember to wash any new items carefully before wearing them or storing them in your wardrobe.


To make your home less attractive to bed bugs, you should seal all fissures, cracks or other gaps in your flooring, baseboards and walls, because these tend to serve as harborage areas for bed bugs. Keep your home uncluttered, and don’t store objects under the bed. Wash your bedding regularly, and check the mattress for any signs of an infestation every few weeks.


Once a bed bug infestation has become established, it can be very difficult, costly and time consuming to eradicate the pests from your home. That’s why it’s much smarter to follow these tips and avoid an infestation in the first place.

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