Bed bugs can infest even the cleanest of homes. They can gain entry by attaching themselves to your clothing, sneaking into your luggage while traveling, or even hiding in that nice antique chest you just bought. The good news is there are a number of ways you can prevent bed bugs from entering your home before an infestation occurs.

Here are some tips on how you can protect yourself against an unwelcome guest in your home: bed bugs.

Check Second Hand Furniture

Furnishing your home with second hand furniture is a great way to save money, but it can also be a free ride for bed bugs into your home. No matter where you buy used furniture, be sure to perform a thorough check, both inside and outside, for signs of a bed bug infestation before you bring it into your house. You can perform this inspection by removing all cushions or drawers and looking for small black dots of excrement, eggs, and bed bugs themselves within the furniture. If you see traces of bed bugs, contacting a pest management professional is the best way to gain peace of mind.

Use Protective Covers to Encase Bedding

Since bed bugs most commonly infest bedding, using a mattress encasement can greatly reduce the chance of an infestation. These tightly woven cases not only prevent bed bugs from nesting in your bed, they also trap and suffocate any bed bugs who may be living there already. These encasements are inexpensive and comfortable to sleep on, and can prevent a costly extermination in the future.

Reduce Clutter in Your Home

Bed bugs are already very difficult to detect even in a clean home, but when a home is cluttered they can be near impossible to spot.  This gives them additional time for breeding which can quickly lead to an infestation. By keeping a clean home and reducing clutter, you can catch a bed bug infestation at its earliest stage, making the extermination process much easier. Make sure all clutter is picked up in your home and vacuum and mop the floors regularly to pick up any stray bed bugs and eggs.

Also take the time to perform a quick inspection for traces of bed bugs while cleaning. If you notice any signs of bed bugs or eggs, contact a professional pest management company to treat the problem before it turns into an infestation.

One of the biggest reasons bed bugs have become a problem throughout the U.S. is due to When Traveling increased international travel. People traveling to major cities in the U.S. to work or visit are bringing bed bugs that are hiding in their luggage. In order to avoid an infestation after your travels, check these common areas where bed bugs can return home with you.

Check Hotel Rooms and Bedding

Thoroughly check your hotel room for the presence of bed bugs before you unpack. This includes the bedding, headboards, sofas, and chairs. While performing the inspection, leave all of your luggage on the bathroom counter to ensure no bed bugs infest your luggage. If you find any signs of bed bugs, speak with the hotel manager to switch rooms before you unpack. When switching rooms, be sure to avoid rooms directly adjacent, above, or below the suspected infested room as bed bugs can easily travel to nearby rooms.

Use Luggage Racks

Luggage left on the floor of your hotel room gives bed bugs easy access to your belongings. If gone undetected, these bed bugs will return home with you and infest your home when you unpack. Most all hotels will provide a luggage rack for you in your room.  Use these to keep your luggage off the ground where bed bugs will have easy access to it. Also be sure to not leave clothing out in the room in order to keep bed bugs from latching on to them as well.

Even if you perform a thorough inspection of your room before unpacking, there is no way of being certain the room is not infested. By taking this extra safety precaution, you will greatly reduce the probability of bringing bed bugs home with you.

Once You Return Home

Even if you were diligent in your bed bug inspections abroad, there is still a chance that a bed bug or two hitched a ride home with you. In order to prevent those lingering pests from turning your home into a breeding ground, be sure to check all bags outside your home while unpacking.  Put all clothes directly in the wash to kill any remaining bed bugs and dry them in high heat to kill the persistent ones.

Once you pull your clothes out of the dryer, check each item again before putting it back into your dresser.  When finished unpacking, keep your luggage in the garage in case any lingering bed bugs remain.

The best way to avoid a bed bug infestation is to prevent them from entering your home in the first place. With proactive inspections of items that may bring bed bugs into your home. Taking the aforementioned preventive steps while traveling, you can greatly reduce the probability of an infestation from happening in your home. If you find any signs of bed bugs during your inspections, contact a pest management professional to ensure the safe and effective removal of the pests.

Featured images:

License: Royalty Free or iStock


License: Royalty Free or iStock source:

License: Royalty Free or iStock source:

Daniel Mackie, co-owner of Greenleaf Pest Control, is a Toronto pest control expert well-known as an industry go-to guy, an innovator of safe, effective pest control solutions, and is a regular guest on HGTV. Mackie, along with business partner Sandy Costa, were the first pest control professionals in Canada to use detection dogs and thermal remediation for the successful eradication of bed bugs. In his free time, he is an avid gardener.