Did you know that there are more insects than humans on earth? Allegedly, there are more than 10 quintillions at any time!
Fortunately, most of them are harmless. In fact, some can even be beneficial! Take ladybugs, for instance—they help get rid of crop-damaging aphids.
Some insects, however, are harmful. For example, it’s not uncommon for cockroaches to carry diseases.
Do you know what else is harmful? Bed bugs. While their bites are rarely dangerous, they often lead to itchy welts, which can affect your sleep.
Want to know how to prevent bed bugs? If so, you’re on the right page—because that’s what we’re here to talk about!
Keep reading to learn more.
What Are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are small reddish-brown insects that feast on the blood of humans or animals. Nocturnal eaters, they rarely come out during the day.
As it is, they can live in any area of the home. For example, it’s not uncommon for them to gather in the crevices of bed frames. You might also find them in the edges of carpet, curtains, or dressers.
With how flat their bodies are, they can easily hide in small locations as well such as in electrical outlets.
Signs of a Bed Bug Infestation
The faster you treat an infestation, the easier it will be. Given that, you want to familiarize yourself with the signs.
The first thing that you want to look for is shed skin. An immature nymph will shed their skin several times before reaching adulthood.
Another thing to pay attention to is fecal matter—they’ll look like small black dots. They’re typically first noticed on mattresses and areas bed bugs tend to congregate in.
There might also be blood spots on your sheets or pillowcases. In some cases, they might appear as smears.
Last but not least, check for eggs. White in color, they can be found in places where bed bugs can be found. To give you an idea, one pregnant female can lay up to 500 eggs during their lifetime!
Bed Bug Life Cycle
A bed bug’s life begins with an egg. They are extremely small—about the size of two grains of salt.
The eggs typically hatch within two weeks. The nymphs aka immature bed bugs will begin to feed immediately.
These young insects will molt several times before reaching maturity. Generally speaking, this occurs over a period of five weeks.
As adults, these insects make weekly feedings. They typically live anywhere from four to six months.
7 Tips on How to Prevent Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are notoriously hard to deal with. Here are a few ways that you can prevent them from getting into your home:
1. Cut Back On Clutter
Clear your clutter. You don’t want to provide bed bugs with any attractive hiding spots. Consider disposing or donating anything that you no longer need.
As for your belongings, you want to organize and store them properly. The goal is to keep your house as clean as possible.
2. Use a Mattress Cover
Consider using a mattress cover—that will prevent bugs from getting in. Ideally, you want to go for something with a zipper so that you can secure it in place.
Material wise, vinyl is the best. Polyurethane is also a good option if you want something more breathable.
3. Be Careful When Buying Used Items
Check used items thoroughly before bringing them home. Remember, just because something “looks clean” doesn’t mean that it is.
If possible, avoid furniture with upholstered surfaces—they provide tons of hiding spots for bed bugs.
Aside from furniture, bed bugs can also hide in objects such as books and fans. In fact, they can even make their way into electronics like computers and remotes!
4. Check Hotel Rooms
There’s always a risk of bed bugs when you’re staying in a hotel room. The last thing that you want is to take them home with you!
For this reason, you want to inspect your room as soon as you arrive. First and foremost, you want to examine the mattress. Consider using a credit card to get underneath the folds, where the insects like to hide.
Once you get home, transfer all of your clothes from your luggage into the dryer. Use the highest setting for at least 15 minutes—that’ll be enough to kill off any bed bugs.
5. Be Vigilant With Shared Laundry Facilities
Minimize contact with surfaces when using shared laundry facilities. For example, don’t put them on folding tables or facility carts. Instead, place them in your own bag or container.
Don’t let them sit in the washer or dryer either. Take them out as soon as the cycle is finished.
6. Inspect Clothing When Shopping
New clothing is not always clean. For one thing, there’s always a chance that it came into contact with bed bug-infested objects.
Considering this, you always want to inspect items that you plan on purchasing. Pay extra attention to the seams as that’s where they tend to hide.
7. Vacuum Carpet and Rugs Frequently
Vacuum carpets and rugs at least once a week—that will help to remove any hitchhikers that might be present.
Dispose of the vacuum contents carefully. Seal everything in a plastic bag and remove it from your home.
Getting Rid of Bed Bugs
Hopefully, that gives you a better idea as to how to prevent bed bugs. Remember, they can move easily from an infested site to a new area!
Think you might have an infestation? We can help! Feel free to contact us for a free quote!