Recently traveled somewhere that was infested with bed bugs and need to know how to prevent bed bugs from coming home with you? Unfortunately, if you live in a major city with a dense housing population, you probably already know about the dreaded bed bug. If you don’t know about bed bugs and have recently traveled somewhere that has a bed bug problem, you’ll need to know these seven tips to prevent bringing bed bugs into your home.
Items you’ll need to prevent a bed bug infestation:
- Washing machine
- Ziplock bags
- Access to freezer space
- Hot soapy water
- Bed bug mattress cover
- Shake all of your clothing before packing it. Vigorously shake each article of clothing that you wearing at the infested site before you pack it to bring it home. A hard shake will likely dislodge any bugs that may have crawled into your clothing. Check folds of material and the pockets of your pants for bugs that may have been hiding.
- Bag all of your clothing. After you give everything a good shake. Bag everything you were wearing when you were visiting the hotel or home that had bed bugs. An extra large plastic Ziplock bag will stop any bugs you were not able to shake off from spreading to the rest of your belongings.
- Wipe down your suitcase. Wipe down the inside and outside of your suitcase or travel bag with very hot soapy water. Pay particular attention to the seams of the bag and use a brush if necessary to remove bugs and larvae. If you suitcase is machine washable, wash it before packing any belongings to take home.
- Hot water wash. Wash all of your clothing and any cloth items in hot water. The temperature of the water should be as hot as the label on the clothing allows. The hotter the water, the better chance you have of killing the bed bugs.
- Freeze non-washable items. If there are items that you cannot wash, you can freeze them. If you choose to freeze an item, the core temperature of the item needs to remain below 23 degrees Fahrenheit for at least five days. Unfortunately, bed bugs are hearty creatures and can survive below freezing temperatures for multiple days.
- Inspect any bed before you sleep in it. Carefully examine the mattress and look for any bed bug fecal stains or shells. Look behind the headboard and in and around any chairs or furniture adjacent to the bed. If you notice any signs of bed bugs, do not sleep in the bed and ask for a new room immediately. Minimizing your exposure greatly reduces the chances you will bring bed bugs home.
- Buy a bed bug cover for your mattress. If you have come in contact with bed bugs, you should buy a bed bug mattress cover for your mattress and box spring. The cover should zip completely around your mattress with no spaces for the bugs to escape. If you do bring home bed bugs, the cover will ensure that they stay trapped in your mattress and don’t spread to the rest of your home and furniture. You can buy one at your local hardware or bedding and bath store.
If you’ve already traveled somewhere and have come into contact with bed bugs, don’t panic. Keeping bed bugs at bay isn’t as difficult as you would think. Just use these universal precautions each time you travel to save yourself a big headache and a bigger extermination bill.