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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. If you already have a bed bug infestation in your home, follow this guide for how to get rid of it.

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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. Cockroaches can too! Here's how to get rid of them.

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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. It's also a good idea to store seasonal clothes in vacuum-sealed bags.

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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. If you need some pet cleaning help, check out these ingenious tips.

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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. If your electrical outlets need to be replaced, here's what you need to know.

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FH16JAU_BEDBUG_03Family Handyman

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. If you're having more of a mouse problem than a bed bug concern, check out the best way to set a mouse trap.

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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. Be sure to check out these 11 clever tricks for repairing your walls and ceilings.

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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. Speaking of thrifting, here are 10 things you should never buy at the thrift store.

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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. In case you didn't know, there are lots of things in your home, including your mattress, that you should be cleaning on a regular basis.

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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. Want more pest control info? Check out these 11 strategies for DIY pest control.