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Follow These Steps to Avoid a Bed Bug Infestation

A bed bug infestation is a challenge to get rid of. Avoid the headache by following these tips.

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Identify the Problem Early On

As much as you want your home to be safe, clean and sound all the time, cracks and attacks are bound to happen, whether it’s a crack in the ceiling or an attack from a pest. Avoiding an infestation means knowing what to look for.

Before you can do anything about preventing a bed bug infestation, you’ll need to identify what the pest looks like, and where it likes to hide. Bed bugs have small, flat, oval-shaped bodies, are wingless and brown in color. They hide in mattresses, bed frames, bedding, furniture, carpets, baseboards and bedroom clutter.

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bed bug bite marksMaxop-Plus/Shutterstock

Know What Bed Bug Bites Look Like


Identifying what a bed bug bite looks like will help you to pinpoint the problem before things get out of control and turn into a full-blown infestation. Bites are usually small red marks found on the hands, arms, face and neck. They typically appear in rows and can be itchy. Bed bugs aren’t the only pests that can harm your home and health. Don’t ignore pest problems; take care of them before things get out of hand.

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vacuum packed bag storage clothes

Prepare for Travel with Vacuum-Sealed Bags


Taking your clothing from one home to another, or one country to another, opens up the opportunity for other people’s homes or belongings to come in contact with yours in a hotel, on a plane—anywhere. This increases your chances of bringing bed bugs home with you when your travels are over. By storing your clothing in airtight vacuum bags when traveling, you make it less accessible for pests to crawl into your things and eventually make their way into your home.

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dogMilka_Z/Shutterstock

Check Your Pet’s Bed


Bed bugs love warmth, and your pet, much like your bed, is the perfect place for bed bugs to sit back, relax and lay some eggs. A good way to keep the pests at bay is to regularly inspect where your pet sleeps. You should also wash your pet’s bedding frequently, and regularly vacuum the areas where they hang out.

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outletwk1003mike/Shutterstock

Cover Electrical Outlets


Power outlets may look small through your eyes, but for pests like bed bugs, they’re the perfect hideout, and escape route when need be. Keeping bugs out of your outlets ensures they don’t infest the walls.

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Set Traps


Setting traps not only ensures bed bugs are stopped in their tracks, but it helps you to constantly monitor your room. Place the traps under the feet of the bed frame, so the bugs can’t make their way up into your mattress. Unlike mouse traps, bed bug traps aren’t great for exterminating the problem. They’re more useful for helping you identify an infestation in the first place.

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wall crack structural issuesBinkski/Shutterstock

Seal Cracks and Fix Tears


Whether it’s tears in windows or screens, or cracks on the outside or inside of your home, get them fixed! Any opening that can fit a business card is the perfect hideout for a bed bug.

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antiqueJune Marie Sobrito/Shutterstock

Investigate Secondhand Purchases


Clothing from a thrift store or a beautiful second-hard dresser, and especially bed frames and couches, can be homes for bed bugs. (Don’t even consider buying a used mattress unless you are 100-percent sure you know where it came from and you know it is clean and has no bugs.) It’s important to thoroughly check all second-hand purchases to ensure there are no signs of a bed bug infestation.

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bedVGstockstudio/Shutterstock

Protect Your Mattress


Protecting your mattress is important for its longevity. Protects it from wear and tear, the oils of your skin, spills, and of course, bed bugs. Use a protective cover that encases the mattress and box spring. A mattress cover can be helpful when you’re trying to get rid of bed bugs, too.

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Isolate Your Home


If you live in a duplex, condo or apartment, it’s important to isolate your unit as much as possible. Installing door sweeps on the bottom of doors and sealing cracks and crevices around baseboards, light sockets, etc. can help keep out bugs. Make sure to get the building manager’s approval before doing these projects.

Alexa Erickson
Alexa is an experienced lifestyle and news writer, currently working with Reader's Digest, Shape Magazine and various other publications. She loves writing about her travels, health, wellness, home decor, food and drink, fashion, beauty and scientific news. Follow her traveling adventures on Instagram: @living_by_lex, send her a message: [email protected] and check out her website: livingbylex.com