Our fully inclusive guide on ensuring you prevent bed bugs from getting into your home in the first place.
Bed bugs. We’ve all heard of them, they make our skin crawl, and they’re the last thing we want to think of when we tuck ourselves up into bed at night. Unfortunately, however, for many households they’re a very real problem.
Bed bugs are names as so because they are typically found in warm, dark areas. More common than anywhere else, they are found in beds and mattresses.
They are tiny and difficult to spot, but can thrive anywhere, such as hotels, university dormitories and even in the home.
We know that it’s not part of the average nightly routine to check the sheets for bed bugs – at most your parents will have said to you in jest “not to let the bed bugs bite”. So how can you really be sure you don’t have bed bugs, and are you really able to prevent them from getting into your home, and worse still, your bed?
Today, we’re presenting you with a fully inclusive guide on how to ensure that you prevent bed bugs from getting into your home in the first place.
Read on to find out more!
What do I need to Look Out for?
We often say that the best solution to pests is prevention. So today, we’re going to be starting off by explaining how to spot a bed bug. What do you need to look out for?
- They are usually about one quarter of an inch long. A good point of reference for this is the size of a typical apple seed.
- In shape they are flat, oval, and long.
- They are a reddish / brown in colour.
- They have antenna, and four legs.
If you can’t see the bed bug itself, but are suspicious that they might have been infiltrating your sleeping place, then look out for the following signs:
- Dark spots on the bed. These are usually faeces of the bed bug.
- Bites on a person or pet. These tend to be several bites in a line.
- Rusty or reddish / brown stains on your bed sheets. This is usually evidence of the bed bugs being crushed.
What are Bed Bugs Usually Attracted to?
Although it goes without saying that bed bugs are attracted to warm, dark areas – in the bed – there are some other things you may have in your home which could be attracting them in the first place.
Bed bugs are commonly drawn to the following things:
- Access to warmth.
- Carbon dioxide.
- Foot traffic being frequent.
It’s pretty gross, but humans have blood, and that’s exactly what bed bugs want. Think of them as little vampires that hide in your bed at night and feed on their hosts. Yuck. They particularly like hotels and dormitories, as these are places where there is a frequent amount of foot traffic.
They are more commonly found in beds and bed frames than anywhere else; however this is not the only place in which the bed bug can thrive. If you do think you have a bed bug problem, then you shouldn’t simply be checking over the bed. You should also be certain to look at – and possibly treat – the following places:
- Any furniture that has cushions and throws – so sofas, armchairs etc
- Any electrical appliances and outlets
- Cracks in ceilings and floors
They can basically live anywhere where their human host can live, which is bad news for us for sure. This list isn’t exhaustive, so please do check any other areas that you feel fit the criteria.
How Can I Stop Bed Bugs from Getting into my Home in the First Place?
Now, we’re getting down to the important stuff.
As we said – and say frequently – prevention is often the best solution.
So how can you stop bed bugs from actually coming into your home in the first place?
Read on to find out more!
If You Purchase Second Hand Furniture / Furnishings, inspect it Prior to Buying
One of the most prevalent ways in which bed bugs find their way into the average home, is by coming in with second hand furniture.
All of us love a bargain, right? And thrift store shopping is more popular than ever before right now. However, if you aren’t checking your thrift purchases thoroughly before bringing them into your home, then you are in fact putting yourself at risk of being susceptible to bed bugs.
Therefore, if thrift shopping is your thing, we would strongly recommend taking the time to check any furniture over for bed bugs before bringing it into your home.
With furniture, you should be certain to check along the seams of any upholstery for signs of bed bugs, or even the residue of them which we mentioned above.
We would also strongly recommend never buying a mattress second hand. It’s just asking for trouble.
Even after you’ve inspected it and deemed it clean enough to purchase and take home, it’s always advisable to give second hand furniture a thorough clean before bringing it home. You quite literally don’t know where it’s been beforehand.
For the duration of cleaning, you should try and keep the furniture outdoors or in the garage, just to be sure, and wash it with hot, soapy water.
Be Regular in the Inspection of Your Bedding and Furniture for Bed Bugs
We know it’s probably not a part of your regular cleaning routine right now, nor do we expect it to become part of the bed – time ritual. However, when it comes to washing your sheets, you should take time to inspect its’ condition. Are there any signs of bed bugs, or bed bug residue?
If you do see signs of bed bugs, you should be sure to remove the bedding from the bed, and to wash it on the highest possible heat for its’ material. The water and the heat combined will be sure to kill any pesky bed bugs hiding in your bedding.
If you do see signs of bed bugs, we would also recommend washing throws, cushion covers and curtains also.
As for the mattress itself, you should take this outside and use a scrubbing brush in order to get right into the seams and the other typical bed bug areas. This will make certain that the bugs and eggs are brushed out of the mostly affected areas.
Following this, vacuum the mattress and the bedroom. Get rid of the contents of your vacuum outdoors, into a plastic bag, and then into the outdoor bin. Just to be certain.
If you want to be ultra – cautious, we would advise enclosing your mattress in a tight plastic covering, and then leave it outside overnight. This will stop any air entering the mattress, and any remaining eggs will be suffocated.
In some extreme cases, people will feel more comfortable simply throwing their old mattress away, and purchasing a new one. If it gives you a good nights’ sleep free of annoying bed bugs, then it’s well worth the money!
If You are Travelling or Staying in a Hotel, Check the Room for Bed Bugs Thoroughly
Last of all, but by no means least, if you are travelling or staying in a hotel, you should be certain to check the room for bed bugs thoroughly before you settle in and unpack.
As we mentioned earlier, hotels are a breeding ground for bed bugs, so you can’t be too careful. Even if the room looks spotless. You never know what lies beneath the surface.
When doing your check – over you should be certain to focus on the following areas:
- Upholstered furniture
If you do see the signs of bed bugs, ask for an alternative room, and be sure to inform the reception or cleaners that you found bed bugs in that particular room.
Do not bring your luggage into the room until you are one hundred percent certain there are no bed bugs in the room. They will attach themselves to your luggage, and can live here for up to a week, meaning it puts you at risk of taking them home with you.
If you do think your clothing or luggage might be infected with bed bugs, then you should be sure to separate the infected clothes from the rest. Put them in a sealed plastic bag, that is tight – fitting. This should kill the eggs, then ensure you’re rid of all of the bed bugs by washing them on a high heat as soon as you get home. As high a heat as the material in question will allow.
If you want to be ultra – cautious, be sure to inspect your luggage before actually taking it back into your house. You could even vacuum the bag, and follow this by washing it with soapy water, just in case. following this, allow it to dry outside and check it thoroughly before bringing it inside.
Thanks for reading!