Bed Bug Prevention

Preventing Bed Bugs from Entering Your Home

The best way to manage bed bugs is to prevent them from ever appearing. This is not always possible and having an infestation is not an indication of poor sanitation or lack of attention. Bed bugs are nearly a perfect pest. They are elusive, transient, and nocturnal. This combination makes them a stealth pest that is not easily battled.

The first line of defense against bed bugs is to understand the signs of being in an infested area so that you minimize the chances of bringing them home. This is not always possible as sometimes you are exposed in places where you might not realize it, such as movie theaters, airplanes, cruise ships, hotels, and more. Look for smears of partially digested blood, live or dead insects, and welts which may appear on arms and legs.

When arriving home from a trip, which is the highest potential for infestation, compared to say, a subway ride, look for any live insects in or on luggage. Remember, sometimes your luggage was very close to other luggage which may have been infested. When unpacking, inspect clean and worn clothing for signs. It is a good practice to wash all items taken even if not worn. In addition, any materials taken along including children's stuffed animals should be inspected. A fifteen to twenty minute spin in the clothes dryer on high heat will eliminate all life stages of bed bugs. Souvenirs which may harbor bed bugs such as stuffed animals, hats, etc., should be inspected. Bed bug traps and monitors are available to help determine if there is an infestation and some traps prevent bed bugs from climbing from the floor onto the bed.

Remember that bed bugs are elusive, transient, and nocturnal, and this will help with inspections. Vigilance is the key to preventing or at least reducing chances of bed bug infestations.

image of bed bug smears around electrical outlet of a home
Notice the bed bug droppings (dark colored dots) above the electrical outlet in this home.
Bed bugs may have been hiding behind this wall electrical socket.