Bed bug infestations continue to be a serious problem in many areas of the United States. According to recent reports, several major cities comprise the list of worst infestations. This means that many of the families that live, work, and attend school in these heavily populated areas are also at increased risk of experiencing a bed bug infestation in their own home.
If your family is already living in one of these cities or planning to move there in the near future, you are likely concerned about the prevalence of bed bugs in these areas. If so, you can use these defensive tips to protect your home environment from a painful infestation of these pests.
Avoid common infestation sources
Some simple changes in routines and habits can help to cut the risk of bringing bed bugs into your home. These include:
- holding bags while on public transportation, instead of placing them on the floor or in common storage areas
- avoiding the use of public dressing and shower areas, such as those in gyms or dance studios
- refraining from bringing soft items, such as clothing and upholstered items from thrift store or yard sale purchases into the home
If your home is part of a multi-family unit, it can also be helpful to seal baseboard crevices, openings around electric outlets, and installing door sweeps on entry doors.
Use a risk containment area
In order to infest a home, bed bugs must find a way into the home. This most often occurs when a homeowner or tenant encounters bed bugs in a non-home location and the pests are able to hide in clothing or luggage that will be carried back to the home. By creating a risk containment area where all luggage, clothing, and packages can be easily examined or safely quarantined, the risk of introducing any live insects into the living area of the home will be greatly reduced.
Some locations that work well for a home risk containment area include a section of the garage, a mudroom, or area within a basement or laundry area. The areas should feature hard, easily sanitized work and flooring surfaces, bright lighting, and plastic bins or trash cans that seal tightly to store items that are awaiting inspection for signs of bed bug activity.
Use steam settings and hot cycles in cleaning and laundry
Families who want to avoid bed bug activity in their homes will also want to enhance their cleaning and laundry regimens. Steam cleaners can be used to help reduce the risk of bed bugs in mattresses, upholstery, and carpeting. Sheets and towels can be laundered using higher temperature wash and dry cycles to destroy any eggs or hidden insects.
If bed bug activity is suspected at any time, home and apartment dwellers should immediately contact a reputable bed bug extermination service to prevent a full-blown infestation from occurring. Companies like Quality Pest Control can help.