How to Prevent Bed Bugs In Your Home

You could bring bed bugs home without knowing it. Here's how to avoid it.

Don't Let Bed Bugs into Your House

Maybe you've heard about the increase in bed bug infestations across the country, and you're wondering: How do those pests get into a house in the first place? The short answer is they need to be brought in. Use these tips to keep bed bugs from getting into your home:

  • Inspect and treat used furniture for bed bugs before bringing it into the house.
  • Check your attic or crawl spaces for birds and bats
  • When traveling, inspect your accommodations for signs of bed bugs.
  • Take precautions when using shared laundry facilities.
  • Cover your mattress and box springs.
  • Seal cracks and crevices if you live in a multi-family home.
  • Organize your home.

Not sure what bed bugs look like? Check out How to Identify Bed Bugs so you know exactly what to look for.

Be Careful with Used Furniture

Bed bugs like to hide in furniture, particularly mattresses, box springs, and bed frames. They also enjoy chests of drawers and cabinets.

Keep this in mind when buying secondhand furniture. Even though it's a great way to furnish your home on a budget, it's important to thoroughly inspect any used items before bringing them into your home.

Since they're such good hiding places for bed bugs, make sure your secondhand furniture comes from a safe place. As an added precaution, you can treat any used furniture withOrtho® Home Defense Max® Bed Bug Killerbefore bringing it inside. Treat the inside of chests and dressers withOrtho® Home Defense Max® Bed Bug & Flea Killer Powder.

Check Your Home for Birds and Bats

It's not uncommon for people to discover that they have birds or bats in their attic. Unfortunately, birds and bats can sometimes be hosts for bed bugs and similar pests. Even if you manage to clear out the birds or bats, you may still have bed bugs. You can check for the presence of bed bugs by using theOrtho® Home Defense Max® Bed Bug Trap. Place a trap in your attic, and the attractant will lure them out of their hiding place and into the trap in under an hour. If you find bed bugs in the trap, it might be a good idea to bring in a professional.

Be Vigilant on Vacations and Business Trips

You might say that bed bugs are opportunists. They seek out snug, cozy places like suitcases and backpacks, where they're content to wait months for their next meal.

You may be bringing them home with you after returning from a stay at a potentially infested hotel, hostel, or house. Here are some tips to prevent bringing bed bugs home from your next trip:

  • Search all bags, luggage, and clothing thoroughly before you return. Take special care to inspect the seams as they are a favorite hiding place for bed bugs.
  • When you return home, put clothing and bags in the dryer on high heat for a minimum of 30 minutes to ensure that all potential bed bugs and eggs have been killed.
  • You can also spray the outside of your suitcase with Ortho® Home Defense Max® Bed Bug Killer to kill any bed bugs that may have hitched a ride.

For more ways to avoid bringing these nasty stowaways home, check out our article about avoiding bed bugs when traveling.

Take Precautions at the Laundromat

Clothes and linens make great hiding spots for bed bugs, so it's no surprise that they can catch a ride to the laundromat. Even though they can be killed when washing clothes in hot water and drying them on high heat, they can survive a cold cycle and spread to surfaces throughout the facility.

If you're concerned about bringing bed bugs home from the laundromat, here are some steps you can take:

  • Avoid setting laundry baskets on the floor or near seats.
  • Avoid using shared laundry baskets.
  • Visually inspect machines for bed bugs before using them.
  • If possible, wash and dry clothes on the highest settings that your garments allow for.
  • Check folding tables before placing clothes on them or fold clothes at home.

Protect Your Mattress and Box Spring

As their name implies, bed bugs are most often found where you sleep. Beds are the perfect environment for bed bugs because they like to feed at night and their food supply (that's us) shows up every night. Using high-quality mattress and box spring covers that can be sealed with a zipper takes away some of their preferred hiding spots, such as seams and tufts in the mattress.

Seal Cracks and Crevices

This is especially important if you live in a multi-family home and suspect a nearby unit may have bed bugs. Start by inspecting entryways and install door sweeps if necessary. Bed bugs are so small that they can travel through spaces as thin as a piece of paper, so look for gaps around baseboards, light sockets, electrical outlets, and switches, and seal them up. 

Keep Your Home Tidy

Even something as simple as maintaining a regular cleaning routine is a good way to help keep your home free from bed bugs. Chores like vacuuming regularly, washing linens weekly, and organizing loose items are little ways to eliminate the places where bed bugs like to hide.

When you have an understanding of bed bug habits and how they get around, you're better equipped to prevent them from getting into your home. But, if you suspect bed bugs made their way in before you were able to take preventative measures, don't worry, there are ways to control them. To get rid of them, start by checking out How to Kill Bed Bugs.

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