Bed bugs are a growing concern since they’ve become more common in recent years and are extremely difficult to exterminate. While hotels are high on the list of bed bug concerns, any public place can be a haven for bed bugs. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent a bed bug infestation in your home. By avoiding contaminated materials, avoiding bed bugs while traveling, and protecting your home, you can prevent bed bugs.
- Replace your mattress and box spring every 2-3 years. While this may seem like a very short time to have a mattress, it may be a smart action to take in order to eliminate the problem at its source. Once bed bugs have gotten into your bed, it’s extremely difficult to tell how many are in there, figure out exactly where they are, and get them out. Additionally, bed bugs can linger in other areas around your home but they are most often going to be in your bed.Use protective covers on your mattresses and box springs. You can keep bed bugs from infecting your bed by encasing your mattress and box springs in a plastic protective cover. There are plastic covers especially designed for this purpose; these will be more effective than regular sheets or mattress covers. While you may already have a protective cover on your mattress, adding one to your box springs will eliminate hiding places.
- If you do bring home bed bugs, your protective cover will make it easier to see the bugs quickly. First wash all of the clothing and other fabric that you travelled with, and then check the cover so that you can immediately recognize and address the problem.
If bed bugs have already gotten into the mattress and box spring, it’s better to dispose of them immediately than try to remove the bed bugs.
- Vacuum carpets and rugs often. Vacuum at least weekly. If you suspect that you’ve come into contact with bed bugs, then vacuum daily until you’re sure that your home is clear.
Dispose of the vacuum contents carefully in a plastic bag that you can seal, then remove from your home immediately.
If you do have bed bugs, failing to empty the vacuum cleaner can allow the bugs to spread.
- Use essential oils to repel bed bugs. There are several scent options for keeping away the bed bugs, so you just need to pick the one you like. Add 6-10 drops of pure essential oil to a small spray bottle filled with ¼ cup of water. Spray your scented water in your house and on items you take with you in public, such as your outerwear, handbags, totes, backpacks, and luggage.
Essential oils that repel bed bugs include the following: cinnamon, lemongrass, clove, peppermint, lavender, thyme, tea tree, and eucalyptus.
You can make a repellent for your body if you mix the oil in a carrier oil, such as jojoba or grapeseed oil.
- Clear out clutter. Clutter gives bed bugs a place to hide and makes it easier for the bugs to infest your home. It’s much harder to monitor for the presence of bed bugs if you can’t get to items or easily move them around. Minimizing the places where the bugs can hide is essential for keeping the bugs out.
- Install door sweeps or door jams. If you live near other homes, such as in an apartment building or townhouse row, seal off your apartment by blocking the gap below your door. You can either install a door sweep or purchase a door jam that completely covers the open space. This will make it more difficult for the bugs to come into your home.
If your home has cracks or other damage to the walls or ceiling, get these repaired so that the bugs can’t enter that way.