There is a certain amount of precaution most of us take while traveling, from making sure we’re checked into our flights to calling our credit card company to notify them that we’ll be out of town.

However, one problem we never expect to encounter is bed bugs while staying at a hotel or Airbnb. While it seems like everyone knows someone who has dealt with bed bugs at some point, we never quite expect it to happen to us–until it does.

Bed bugs are more common than you might think, with one in five Americans encountering bed bugs at some point in their life. While coming in contact with bed bugs can be hard to avoid, especially if you’re someone who travels often, there are things you can do to protect your home from these pesky invaders.

Bed bugs are more common than you might think

How to Identify Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are typically reddish brown in color and are the size of an apple seed. They do not have wings, and immature bed bugs are smaller than adults and have a more translucent color.

Where to Check for Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are most often found in mattresses and box springs, as well as in the seams of chairs and couches, in electrical outlets, and under loose wallpaper and wall hangings.

If you suspect you may have a bed bug problem or notice any bed bug bites on yourself or your family members, you may want to check these areas in your home.

5 Ways to Get Rid of Bed Bugs Effectively

1. Contact a Professional

Contact a bed bug control professional at the first sign of a bed bug infestation. The longer you wait to seek help, the worse the problem will get, so it is imperative that you act fast and contact a trusted professional to start treatment.

Unlike other insects, getting rid of bed bugs can be incredibly difficult DIY, especially as infestations can grow quickly.

2. Vacuum Your Home

If you notice bed bugs in your home, you should promptly vacuum your floors in case your carpet has become infested. However, it is important to note that bed bugs can escape vacuum cleaners, so be sure to empty your vacuum right away and dispose of the garbage bag outside of your home to prevent the pests from returning.

3. Prep the Home for Treatment

Prior to your pest control specialist visiting your home, you will need to prepare your space for treatment.

First, prepare your space by tossing away any unnecessary clutter or garbage. The fewer hiding spaces for bed bugs to go, the better, so be sure to tidy up and get rid of clutter to prepare for treatment.

Secondly, as difficult as it may be, you must try to avoid going into the room or rooms where you have an active bed bug infestation. If you can help it, try to close the door or block your family and pets from entering that particular area of the house until treatment is complete.

Finally, bed bugs will often crawl inside electrical outlets, so taping them shut before treatment will prevent them from seeking refuge and crawling back out when the coast is clear.

4. Wash All Sheets and Garments

Washing your sheets and garments is an effective way to treat a bed bug infestation. While you can use any detergent you prefer, be sure to wash your sheets and garments at a high temperature for 90 minutes or more for the best results.

Using a steamer is another popular method to control bed bugs. Applying high heat to any infested bedding and garments should kill these pests, but be advised that you may need to repeat the process a couple of times to completely take care of the problem, as any bed bugs that aren’t exposed to the hot steam will likely survive.

5. (DIY) Use a Chemical Solution

If you prefer to try a do-it-yourself method to get rid of bed bugs, several chemical solutions are available. However, remember that you should use extreme caution when taking matters into your own hands, and speaking to a professional is always recommended to get rid of an infestation as safely and effectively as possible.

While you may be inclined to save money with DIY methods, you’ll usually end up paying more in pest control prices by waiting.

Ways to Prevent Bed Bugs from Returning

Seal Cracks

Sealing any cracks and crevices in your home is the best way to prevent a bed bug infestation. This can easily be done yourself using a silicone caulk to seal up any possible entryways for pests in your home.

Wrap Furniture in a Bed Bug Wrap

While it may not be the most comfortable option, wrapping your furniture in bed bug wrap is a good way to prevent an infestation from returning. These wraps are cheap on Amazon and can be found at your local home improvement store.

Wash Furniture and Items

Washing your furniture and household items is another good way to prevent bed bugs from returning. Be sure to research any special soaps or solutions you may need to use depending on the item you’re washing to ensure you are properly disinfecting everything.

Clean Up Clutter

Cleaning up unnecessary clutter can help prevent bed bugs from returning after an extermination. The less junk you have around the house, the fewer hiding spaces bed bugs will have.

Inspect Secondhand Furniture and Goods

Before taking home any furniture from the thrift store, carefully inspect it for signs of bed bugs. Avoid purchasing used mattresses and box springs, as bed bugs can cling to the outside and also infest the inside of a mattress. If you’re purchasing any used clothing or household items from the thrift store, be sure to wash anything you buy before using it.

Be Wary of Shared Laundromats

While using a laundromat may be unavoidable for many people, be sure to practice caution when washing your clothes in a public washing machine. Bed bugs can latch onto your clothes if someone dealing with an infestation used the machine before you, so take extra precautions when visiting a laundromat.

Invest in Pest Control Maintenance

Investing in ongoing pest control maintenance is always a good idea for those who have dealt with an infestation in the past. This will ensure that the problem won’t return, giving you and your family peace of mind.

Pest Czar offers three plans of protection to guard your home against common bugs. Our Pest Guard Plus offers the highest level of protection against specialty bugs like bed bugs, so be sure to ask us about it the next time you schedule a service.

Bed Bug Control FAQs

What is the main cause of bed bugs?

Contrary to popular belief, bed bugs are not a sign of poor hygiene or a dirty home. Rather, bed bugs are travelers and will latch onto furniture, suitcases, and anything else that moves around from place to place. For example, if you are visiting someone who has bed bugs and set your purse down on their floor, you can unknowingly take some unwanted guests home with you.

What instantly kills bed bugs?

Heat has been shown to kill bed bugs quickly and effectively, which is why steaming and washing garments in hot water is a popular way to get rid of them. In addition, certain biopesticides, like Aprehend, are effective in killing bed bugs in just a matter of days, making it another popular method of bed bug pest control.

When should I call an exterminator for bed bugs?

You should reach out to an exterminator at the first sign of bed bugs in your home. The longer you wait to get help, the worse the problem will get, so be sure to take prompt action if you see or suspect bed bugs in your home.


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