How to Prevent a Bed Bug Infestation
Male (left) and female bed bugs. (Photo courtesy of National Pest Management Association/Tom Myers)
It seems that almost everywhere you go, people are talking about bed bugs. Infestations of these nasty critters are popping up in all sorts of public places, even the cleanest and most posh establishments. There is so much in the news about the places that can harbor bed bugs, but realistically, we can’t avoid them all.
Any public or private place has the potential to have bed bugs brought in on any person or even on their belongings. Unfortunately, as a home or property owner, you may have no control over the spread of these little menaces on your premises. The best way to protect yourself, your home and property is to be proactive and plan an offensive strategy.
Be aware of your surroundings
If you're visiting any public (or even private) location, pay attention to your surroundings. If you will be sitting any place, conduct a quick inspection of the area and surrounding area first. Telltale signs of an infestation are blood stains on fabric, dark spots of bug excrement, an offensive musty odor, bed bug skin casings and, of course, the bugs themselves.
Be wary when traveling
When sleeping overnight, even in a friend or family member’s home, be sure to carefully inspect where you will be staying. Inspect the bedding and mattress, especially by edging, seams and tags. Also check the headboard, bed frame and night stands. Pay special attention to cracks, crevices, seams and folds of material.
Don’t place your purse, briefcase or belongs on the floor. This gives the pests higher odds in making your belongings their new home.
Keep out secondhand belongings
Never bring used, refurbished or secondhand items into your home or onto your property.
Ask anyone that repeatedly visits you to notify you immediately if they discover or suspect a bed bug problem.
Also, ask them to screen their visitors and ask them not to allow anyone that has a known bed bug infestation to visit them. Educating your friends and family can go a long way in helping to prevent a problem.
Following these tips is no guarantee against getting a bed bug infestation. If you do discover a problem, it is vitally important to act immediately.
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Editor's note: This is an updated version of an article originally posted on Aug. 5, 2011.