Bed bugs, unlike other critters that infest your home, like roaches and spiders, do not carry diseases or illnesses. However, they are annoying. Bed bugs could also be the cause of many sleepless nights, which could lead to health issues and sluggish, unproductive days.
The bugs crawl and hide in beds and sofas, biting humans to feed on their blood. Bites are often itchy, red and in a line, but the effects of the bites usually disappear with time.
Studies have nonetheless shown that bed bugs cause anxiety in both kids and adults due to their mischievous activities throughout the night. That’s why it’s important to stop any bed bug infestation in your home to enjoy a peaceful and truly restful sleep each night.
While bed bug infestations are annoying to deal with, it is actually easier than you may think to prevent them from entering your home or hotel premises in the first place.
As the old saying goes, prevention is better than cure.
Line of bedbug bites on a woman’s back.
Protect Your Home from Bugs
Bed bugs are hard to get rid of once they have set foot into your home. They hide in places where they are hard to spot and are resilient to most bed bug treatments.
But you can still protect yourself from the bugs and keep them out of your house.
Here are a few ways to protect yourself and your home.
1. Encase your mattress
As simple as this sounds, getting a mattress cover is a great step to prevent bed bugs. The problem with mattresses is that you cannot wash them. Having a mattress cover ensures that bed bugs do not have access to your mattress.
The reason mattress covers work so well is that they are washable. You can wash mattress covers along with your other beddings at a high-temperature setting and it will kill any bed bugs that might be present.
2. Replace your mattress after a certain time period
Many people think that a mattress has a lifelong life span. That is not the case. Although mattress tends to stay the same for many decades, they start to stain up and be contaminated.
The older the mattress, the higher the chances of attracting bed bugs. Changing your mattress every 2 to 3 years will aid you in keeping bed bugs away.
3. Vacuum your rugs and carpets often
Vacuuming your rugs and carpet is a great way to control bed bug infestations. When you vacuum it, bed bugs and their eggs will get sucked in. Scrubbing your carpet and rug before vacuuming will aid in making this bed bug treatment twice as effective.
4. Spray essential oils that repel bed bugs
The new generation of bed bugs have a high resistance to synthetic bed bug treatments. However, studies show that essential oils used as natural bed bug treatments are very effective for both repelling and killing the bugs.
Essential oils made from plants that contain menthol, make essential ingredients for the bed bug repellents, including essential oils like cinnamon oil, clove oil, tea tree oil, peppermint oil, eucalyptus, lemongrass oil, thyme oil, and, finally, oil lavender oil.
You may add a little of the essential oil of your choice to a bottle of water and spray the mixture on your bed and bed sheets to keep bed bugs at bay. Alternatively, mix the oils with your lotion (unscented) and apply it on your body before going to bed.
These bed bug repellents are also non-toxic as they are derived from natural sources.
5. Apply natural bed bug repellent
The Gypsum Bed Bug Spray by MDX Concepts, for example, is an indoor bed bug repellent. Unlike most other natural bed bug repellents, the gypsum bed bug spray for home is one that is odorless and does not cause any stains—features that are not found in other natural bed bug repellents.
Since this bed bug repellent does not cause stains or contain odor, you can apply it on your mattress and other bedding. It will keep away bed bugs without getting in the way of your sleep.
6. Remove all clutter around your home
Bed bugs love to hide within clutter around your home. Bed bugs do not like moving out in the open, therefore, the more clutter you have around your home, the greater their movement.
By reducing clutter, you also limit the movement of bed bugs. Having less clutter will also increase the effectiveness of bed bug treatments that you have set in place.
Besides, decluttering your home also comes with additional mental and physical health benefits.
Avoid Bed Bugs Whilst Traveling
The most common way to catch bed bugs is whilst you are traveling. If you are a frequent traveler and spend significant amounts of time in hotel rooms, you should take due precautions so you are not infected by bed bugs on the road and bring them back home.
Here are a few ways to prevent bed bugs while traveling and not bring them back home with you.
1. Avoid cheap hotels
This is one of the easiest ways to limit the chances of encountering bed bugs. Most cheap hotels do not maintain their rooms periodically.
If you can afford a good hotel, do not hesitate to do so. Saving a few bucks might end up costing you more in the form of applying expensive bed bug treatments.
2. Check for bed bugs
As soon as you enter your room, investigate bed bugs. Be sure to look closely at the bed frame and the joins of furniture around the room.
If you spot bed bugs, be sure to lodge a complaint and request to be shifted to a different room.
3. Do not keep your luggage on the floor
Bed bugs, unlike most other pests, cannot fly or jump higher therefore their options for transportation are limited. Most hotels have carpets and they are likely the residing place for bed bugs. Leaving your luggage on the floor makes it easier for bed bugs to access.
In order to limit the bed bugs accessing your luggage, you need to leave your luggage on the top of a table or a chair. If the table or chair is made out of metal, it will make it harder for bed bugs to scale up to your luggage.
4. Packing and unpacking
Packing after a journey
Whilst packing your clothes after a journey, be sure to pack all your used clothes in airtight bags. This will contain the bed bugs if they were on your used clothes.
If you feel like you do not have any use for these clothes, getting rid of them is an easy way of making sure that bed bugs do not travel back with you.
Unpack outside your home
Upon reaching home be sure to unpack your luggage outside your home. Inspect your luggage for any bed bugs before you go into your home.
Vacuum your luggage
If you are unable to inspect your luggage properly for bed bugs, you can vacuum it. This will effectively remove any bed bugs that might have hitchhiked to your home.
Be sure that you do not mix your laundry from your travels with your existing laundry. This will ensure that your other clothes do not get contaminated by bed bugs.
Be sure to wash your travel laundry at high-temperature settings. Bed bugs cannot live at extreme temperatures, therefore, using a high-temperature setting will act as a bed bug killing measure.
5. Do your laundry regularly
Be sure to wash your clothes regularly. Used clothes contain a strong human smell and that odor attracts bed bugs.
High heat for clothes
Be sure to use high heat for all your washables. This will kill all bed bugs present in them. You do not need to do this every time you wash but just often enough to control the bed bug population.
Cold for unwashable
If you have items such as dolls, cushions, and such others, which are non-washable, you have the option to freeze them. The freezing temperature acts as a bed bug killer since they are unable to live in extreme temperatures.
Bottom line on active bed bug infestations
If you ever find yourself in a situation where you feel like your prevention methods have failed, do not hesitate to call your local pest control. Bed bug infestations can go from good to worse before you realize it.
In fact, there are many cases where a bed bug infestation has gone to a point where the household had to be deemed unfit to live under. Therefore, it is best to act as soon as you can.