How To Prevent Bed Bugs From Spreading In An Apartment

How to Prevent Bed Bugs from Getting into Your Home

You might recall going to bed as a child and hearing a parent call into your bedroom, “Goodnight. Sleep tight. Don’t let the bed bugs bite!” It’s a rhyme traced through many origin theories but one gross reality.

Aptly named, bed bugs are found in warm, semi-dark areas but most commonly in mattresses and bedding. Nearly invisible to the naked eye, these pests can thrive just about anywhere there’s a frequent turnover of occupants, mainly college dormitories, hotel rooms and even in a home.

While checking for bed bugs might not be part of your nightly routine today, in 2010 there was such a resurgence of bed bugs that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a guide dedicated to protecting your home from bed bug infestations .

While this article might make your skin crawl, it’s better than your bed crawling with bugs. We’ll go over how to identify, remove and prevent bed bugs from infesting your home so you can sleep tight knowing nothing will bite.

How Do You Identify a Bed Bug?

Bed bugs can be tricky to identify. They’re small and sneaky, meaning it might make it hard to catch an infestation before it becomes an actual problem. If you do happen to get a good look at one, here’s what you should look for :

  • Size: 1/4 of an inch long (about the size of an apple seed)
  • Shape: Long, oval and flat
  • Color: Brown – reddish-brown
  • Other features: Antenna and four legs

All the above characteristics are consistent throughout most bed bugs but note that younger bed bugs or bed bug eggs, can have a smaller size and a translucent, milky-white color.

If you’re unable to get a good look at what you think might be a bed bug, you can also identify a bed bug by the trace it leaves behind. If you think your home may be host to uninvited guests, thoroughly clean your home and change your bedding while looking for signs of:

  • Rusty or reddish stains on bed sheets or mattresses (caused by bed bugs being crushed)
  • Dark spots (commonly bed bug feces)
  • Bed bug bites on a person or pet

Although a bite might not be the best way to identify an infestation (they’re often confused for mosquito bites or rashes) know that bed bug bites can raise welts and rashes in humans, as well as cause an intense itching sensation; however, their bite does not carry infection or disease.

What Are Bed Bugs Attracted to?

Now that you know how to identify a bed bug, learning its habits, attractions and ideal breeding conditions can help you stop an infestation from spreading in your home. When it really comes down to it, bed bugs are drawn to:

  • Frequent foot traffic
  • Access to warmth
  • Carbon dioxide

It might sound gross but where there are people, there’s blood, and where there’s blood, there could be a bed bug. That’s why areas like dormitories, hotels and homes are a prime location for bed bugs since so many people go in and out.

However, they’re called “bed” bugs are a reason – their favorite hiding spots are bed frames, mattresses, box springs and beddings, combining their need of warmth, carbon dioxide and access to blood (people).

Although they’re commonly found in the bedroom, they can wedge their way into any small hiding spot in your home, so if you think you might have a bed bug infestation, don’t stop at the bed. Check these other common areas:

  • Furniture with cushions (chairs, couches, ottomans)
  • Curtains
  • Drawers
  • Electrical outlets and appliances
  • Wallpaper
  • Ceiling or floor cracks

Bed bugs can live anywhere their host can live, so this is by no means a comprehensive list. They are known to bite both humans and pets and are mostly active at night. They can also live between six months to a year, so don’t wait to act if you see signs of an early infestation.

What Causes You to Get Bed Bugs?

Some sources might claim that a messy or dirty home can cause you to get bed bugs when in reality, even the cleanest home can collect a campground of bugs. The real problem comes from previously infested furniture or people .

For example, you might have heard of hotel guests who insist on switching rooms because they found bed bugs or evidence of one. This is most likely because they know bed begs can attach themselves to clothing or luggage and travel back home with you, becoming a souvenir you don’t recall buying from your last vacation.

Unfortunately for bargain shoppers or antique collectors, they can also be found in secondhand furniture. Not to mention, people can carry bed bugs in their clothing and shoes, so there’s really no limit to how bed bugs could enter your home.

So, as you can see, the real cause of bed bugs can’t be blamed on a messy home; the real cause of bed bugs is infested furniture, bedding, luggage, boxes, clothing – really, anything that provides a source of warmth and access to people.

Obviously, while you can avoid staying in hotel rooms and buying secondhand furniture that could possibly be infested with bed bugs, you really can’t avoid people (or at least, we hope you won’t after reading this article!) The most important thing is to know how to prevent and get rid of bed bugs. We’ll talk about that next.

How Do You Prevent Bed Bugs from Getting into Your Home?

Since the number one cause of bed bug infestations in your home is previously infected furniture and people, here are a few precautions you can take to prevent bed bugs from getting into your home.

Inspect Secondhand Furniture Before Buying

Buying secondhand furniture is a great way to save money when you’re looking to furnish your home on the cheap , but it can also pose a risk of bed bugs if not examined closely.

If you go thrift shopping on the regular, make it a habit of doing a quick inspection of the furniture you’re thinking of purchasing. For furniture, check along the seams of the upholstery for any sign of bed bugs or bed bug residue. As a rule of thumb, never purchase a secondhand mattress.

Even if it looks clean enough to bring home after purchase, give the furniture a good cleaning before placing it in your home. Store it in your garage or shed, vacuuming any furniture with fabric and upholstery and thoroughly cleaning with hot, soapy water if otherwise, careful to check any crevasses like drawers or storage places.

Some sources might claim that a messy or dirty home can cause you to get bed bugs when in reality, even the cleanest home can collect a campground of bugs. The real problem comes from previously infested furniture or people .

Regularly Inspect Your Bedding for Signs of Bed Bugs

This doesn’t have to be a task you do on a nightly basis, rather, whenever you wash your bedding take this time to inspect the condition of your bed for signs of bed bugs or bed bug residue.

If you see signs of bed bugs, remove your bedding from your bed and place it in the washer on the highest heat and cycle setting your bedding will allow. The heat and water combined will kill any bed bugs that might be hiding in your bedding. For good measure, consider also washing any curtains, rugs, throw blankets and pillows that might have also been exposed in your bedroom.

As for your mattress and box spring, take them outside and using a scrub brush get into the seams and other affected areas of the mattress, brushing any bugs or eggs out. Then, take a vacuum and thoroughly clean the entire surface of both the mattress and box spring. After you’ve vacuumed your mattress, vacuum your bedroom, emptying the contents of the vacuum into a plastic bag and placing it in a garbage can outdoors.

Finally, enclose your mattress and box springs in a tight-fitting plastic covering, leaving both outside overnight. The plastic will keep any air from entering the mattress, suffocating any remaining bed bugs or eggs.

At the end of the day, you might feel more comfortable throwing away your affected mattress and box spring. If you’re worried about the chance of returning bed bugs, it’s worth the money to buy a new mattress set.

When Traveling, Always Check the Room for Bed Bugs

When traveling, check your hotel room for bed bugs before you unpack, focusing on the bedding, upholstered furniture and curtains. If you see signs of bed bugs, ask the front desk or host for another room, notifying them that you found bed bugs in your current room.

Don’t bring your luggage into the room until the coast is clear of bed bugs. Bed bugs can attach themselves to your luggage and can live up to a week, making it possible for them to find their way back into your home.

If you think your clothing may be infected, separate the infected clothes from the rest of your luggage in a sealed plastic bag. When you return home, place the infected clothes in your washing machine on the highest heat setting your clothing will allow.

Inspect your luggage outside before bringing it back into your home. Go the extra mile by vacuuming and hand washing the bag with hot, soapy water. Leave outside to dry and inspect one final time before bringing it in.

What Keeps Bed Bugs Away?

According to some sources , there are a few scents that are rumored to repel bed bugs. All-natural products, like essential oils , are said to have an effect on bed bugs, but may not kill them off completely. If you’re dealing with a heavy infestation, it’s a better idea to call an exterminator with professional heat and chemicals.

However, if you’re just looking for a preventative method that might repel bed bugs from your home, here are a few essential oils that may do the trick:

  • Tea tree oil
  • Lavender
  • Thyme
  • Lemongrass
  • Peppermint

Use ten drops of any of the previously listed essential oils, dilute with water and place in a spray bottle, spraying around the affected areas of your home like your bed sheets, curtains, luggage and other areas where you might suspect bed bugs.

If you’re still noticing signs of bed bugs in your home, contact your local exterminator to schedule a cleaning of your home. Based on the level of infestation in your home, you might not be able to stay in your home during or after the treatment, so make sure you make arrangements to stay at a friend or family’s home during this time.

While you might not ever be able to completely prevent bed bugs from getting into your home, knowing how to properly identify, remove or call a professional to remove the bed bugs will help keep your household safe from infestations.

Have you experienced bed bugs in your home? How did you handle the infestation? Share your story in the comments below.

How to Prevent Bed Bugs

Updated: April 11, 2019

This article was co-authored by Jurdy Dugdale, RN. Jurdy Dugdale is a Registered Nurse in Florida. She received her Nursing License from the Florida Board of Nursing in 1989.

There are 22 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

Bed bugs are a growing concern since they’ve become more common in recent years and are extremely difficult to exterminate. While hotels are high on the list of bed bug concerns, any public place can be a haven for bed bugs. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent a bed bug infestation in your home. By avoiding contaminated materials, avoiding bed bugs while traveling, and protecting your home, you can prevent bed bugs.

Related wikiHows

About this article

To prevent bed bugs, use protective plastic covers on your mattress and box springs so bed bugs will not be able to infect your bed even if you accidentally bring them home. When you’re staying in a hotel, check the sheets, mattress, and headboard for small brownish bugs, and contact management if you find any. Wash your travel clothes separately from your regular laundry and dry them on the highest possible heat setting. To learn how using essential oils can help repel bed bugs, read on!

Insects in the City

The best in science-based, pest management solutions from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

Bed bugs and your apartment

Bed bug problems are becoming more common in apartment communities. More than ever, it’s important for tenants and landlords to understand these insects and what it takes to eliminate them from apartments.

What are bed bugs?

Bed bugs are tiny insects that live by feeding on human blood, usually at night. They are secretive, hiding in cracks and crevices during the day, and coming out at night to feed. The bite of the bed bug is painless and may or may not leave a red mark or itchiness.

How do I know whether I have bed bugs?

Bed bugs are small, and come out mostly at night.

Because of their small size and painless bite, bed bugs may initially go unnoticed. If you notice that you are waking up with itchy welts, see tiny red spots on bedding, or think you have seen the bugs, you may have a problem. Bed bugs do not have nests, but will congregate in choice hiding places. These areas may be marked by tiny dark spots and stains, and may have a sweetish odor.

Will bed bugs hurt me?

Fortunately bed bugs are not known to carry any diseases to humans, although some people may experience irritation or allergic reactions to bed bug bites. Mostly bed bugs are considered disgusting and can be a source of stress and concern for people living in infested apartments.

How do bed bugs get into my apartment?

Bed bug in textured ceiling with droppings (upper right, lower right and lower left) around harborage between popcorn texture.

Bed bugs are no longer an unusual pest in apartments. Since approximately 2000, bed bugs have reemerged as an important pest in the United States. Bed bugs are occasionally introduced into an apartment via luggage that has become infested from a hotel or hostel. In apartment complexes, it is probably more common for bed bugs to enter a home from a nearby infested apartment, during moving, or through picking up used or recycled furniture or mattresses. Once introduced into an apartment building, bed bugs can readily spread from one infested unit to another.

What should I do if I suspect bed bugs?

If you think you see a bed bug, capture it if possible. Place in a leak-proof container, preferably with a little rubbing alcohol, and show it to your apartment manager to confirm its identity. Even if you cannot capture one of the insects, you should inform your building manager if you suspect you have a bed bug problem.

If I have bed bugs should my neighbors be treated too?

When beg bugs are found in one apartment unit, it is considered standard practice in the pest control industry to inspect all apartments surrounding the infested apartment. If no bed bugs are found, surrounding apartments do not necessarily need to be treated. But if an adjacent apartment is found infested, it should be treated and all adjacent apartments should also be inspected (see next question).

How do you get rid of bed bugs?

If you live in an apartment or condominium, it’s best to alert the property manager right away (preferably by phone and in writing). In multi-family housing a manager-coordinated bed bug control effort using a pest control company is generally needed. Bed bugs readily move from apartment to apartment, with many people unaware that they have a problem, so chances are that you will not eliminate a bed bug problem by yourself. If one apartment is infested, adjoining units (left side, right side, above and below) should be assumed to be infested unless shown otherwise through inspection or monitoring.Simply asking tenants whether they have bed bugs is not enough. In one study only half of residents in a large apartment with bed bugs knew (or admitted) they had a bed bug problem.

Bed bug treatment consists of a thorough inspection followed by vacuuming and treatment of all detected bug hiding spots. Treatment is labor intensive and may take several hours per apartment. It will also probably require several visits and treatments to permanently get rid of a bed bug problem.

My landlord wants to treat the problem using in-house janitorial staff. Is this OK?

In Texas, multifamily housing, hotels, or any business providing lodging must be treated for pests by a licensed pesticide applicator. So unless the apartment employee who enters your home to control bed bugs is licensed by the Texas Pest Control Service, this would be illegal. Illegal activity by an unlicensed person includes the use of over-the-counter pesticides, heat treatment or any other non-chemical control methods–anything intended to control pests like bed bugs, cockroaches, mice, etc.

What’s my responsibility?

Apartment with clothing and personal items bagged and ready for pest control.

As a tenant, your first responsibility is to report any suspected bed bug problem immediately. Once an appointment is made for your treatment, it will be your duty to prepare your apartment. The following tips will help your pest control service and YOU to get rid of bed bugs quickly.

  • Don’t move any of your things to another apartment during or before the treatment. You might end up spreading bed bugs to the other apartment and may re-introduce bed bugs to your newly-treated apartment later, when you retrieve your belongings.
  • Pick up and double bag all loose items in bedrooms and other rooms to be treated. Clutter makes it difficult for maintenance crews to inspect all parts of your apartment, and gives bed bugs more places to hide. Before returning these items, follow your pest control company’s instructions for cleaning and inspecting to make sure you are not returning bed bugs to the treated room.
  • Clothing that may be infested should be double-bagged prior to treating the room, and dis-infested before returning to the room. Recent research shows that dry cleaning, washing in hot water, or tumble drying for 30 minutes on high will kill all stages of bed bugs.
  • Even though bed bug treatments are mostly focused on bedrooms and living rooms, it’s still a good idea to put away all food in the kitchen and dining areas, and cover tables, counters, etc. to protect from contamination. Although your pest control professional will be careful, and the chemicals used should pose minimal risks to people, this step will reduce your risk of unnecessary pesticide exposure and reduce costs for maintenance staff.
  • Unless you intend to get a new bed anyway, it’s not very effective (or economical) to discard your mattress, box spring or bed. Instead, buy a good quality, bug-proof mattress encasement. Encasements are special sacks that fit over a mattress or box spring–usually to reduce allergens. The zippers onbed bug-proof encasementsare designed to be tight enough to prevent even the smallest life stages of the bed bugs from escaping. Also, truly bed bug-proof encasements are strong enough to prevent bed bugs from biting you through the encasement. A good encasement will trap all bed bugs in the mattress and box spring inside, and will be smooth on the outside, providing few places for bed bugs to hide. Sears, Target, Walmart and other stores may sell bed bug-proof encasements, but they can also be purchased online. Look online for different brands and reviews of mattress encasements, using the search term “bed bug mattress protectors”.
  • Vacuum couches, chairs and recliners thoroughly before pest control service. Many bed bugs in apartments are found in couches and upholstered chairs. Double-bag and discard the vacuum bags in an outdoors dumpster immediately to avoid reintroducing or spreading any bed bugs caught in the vacuum.
  • Don’t forget to empty drawers in nightstands and dressers next to beds prior to treatment. This will make it easier for the pest control company to inspect and treat these furniture items. Bag and clean or inspect these items according to the directions of your pest control professional before returning the items to the treated furniture.

It’s essential to cooperate with management and with your pest control professionals to get complete bed bug control. Once established, bed bugs can be difficult to control, especially without the help of tenants like you.

For more information

For more information about bed bugs, including their biology and how to recognize them, see publication L-1742 Bed Bugs as well as the EPA website on bed bugs. If you live in a situation where professional pest control is not available or not being provided by management, see our publication on Do-it-yourself bed bug control (ENT-3012) for tips on controlling bed bugs. The fact sheet on How to Select a Bed Bug Control Provider (ENT-033) has special information to assist apartment managers in working with pest control contractors.

17 Easy Tips To Prevent Bed Bugs

Learn the Best Ways to Keep Bed Bugs Away With These Expert Tips

Bed bugs present a major problem for households throughout North America. Since bed bugs need a safe, temperate environment to thrive, there are many places inside a home that provide perfect breeding conditions.

There are certain measures that you can take to prevent bed bugs from invading your home, but sometimes—even with the best preparations—bed bugs will still find their way into your house.

Bed bugs are elusive, and they typically hide in narrow cracks and crevices. Basically, anything you can slide a business card into will be an ideal hiding spot for a bed bug. It is also important to remember that bed bugs are not always found in a bed. They will shelter in any place that meets the necessary temperatures they require to live.

Knowledge is the key to prevention. Understanding what bed bugs look like, how they travel and where they congregate can prevent costly pest control treatments. The most common way for bed bugs to be transported is through exchanges in shared spaces like hotels or public transit.

By following our 17 bed bug prevention tips, anyone can prevent a bed bug infestation in less than one day.

#1 – Cover Power Outlets

Cover your power outlets – bed bugs use power outlets to evade extermination. They climb into the outlet holes and hide there until it is safe to move elsewhere. In cases of severe infestations, bed bugs can travel through walls via electrical outlets, effectively spreading the infestation to other areas of your home or business.

One of the ways that a bed bug infestation can be identified is through their droppings, which look like dark colored dots.

#2 – Store Your Clothing in Vacuum-Sealed Bags

This is especially important when traveling, since bed bugs are most commonly transferred from hotels. Purchase standard vacuum-sealed bags and store your clothing in these airtight vacuum bags when traveling. This will make your belongings less accessible to pests, and will prevent bed bugs from making their way home with you. Learn more about how bed bugs travel.

Place your seasonal clothing and fabric in the vacuum sealed bags and use your vacuum cleaner hose to remove the air from the bags and put them away. This method will prevent items like sweaters and blankets from being infested by bed bugs while stored away for future use.

#3 – Get Professional Bed Bug Treatment

If you are already dealing with an infestation, don’t fight the problem alone. Treating bed bugs is a complex process, and usually cannot be handled by home remedies alone. A professional bed bug treatment will safley, effectively, and most importantly, permanently eliminate bed bugs from your home or business.

If you’re dealing with a severe bed bug infestation, contact your local pest professionals to get rid of bed bugs once and for all.

It’s important to remember that professionals are trained to use the products and tools required for bed bug treatments.

Many of the techniques that are used to eliminate these household pests can be dangerous if not performed by a trained and certified professional.

Unfortunate instances of death and property damage have occurred when homeowners tried to take bed bug extermination into their own hands. Make sure to contact a bed bug pest control company to avoid any of these scary accidents.

#4 – Identify Early Signs of Bed Bugs

Educate yourself and your family about the signs of a bed bug infestation and how to identify bites.

Bites are typically small red marks that often appear in rows and can be itchy. When you know what bites look like you can identify a problem earlier and seek out assistance if necessary.

#5 – Vacuum Your Floor

Bed bugs aren’t only found in and around the bed. Bed bugs often hide within your carpet, so it’s important to thoroughly vacuum your carpets to ensure all bed bugs have been eliminated.

Vacuum all mattresses, box springs, and floors (especially where the floor and wall meet.) This can eliminate a bed bug infestation before it gets out of control.

After you have vacuumed the floors, remove vacuum bag, place in a sealed trash bag and dispose in an outdoor garbage can. This will prevent the bed bugs from escaping and getting back into your home.

#6 – Check Your Pets for Bed Bugs

Like human bedding, bed bugs can be attracted to your pet’s bed where they can also find warm crevices to lay eggs and feed.

Make sure to monitor the area where your pet sleeps, and inspect the bed and areas around the bed.

If possible, regularly wash the pet bed on the highest heat and dryer settings.

#7 – Cut Back On Clutter

Clean up clutter – the more clutter you have, the harder it will be to get rid of an infestation.

Start by eliminating clutter against walls, as these areas are particularly attractive hiding spots for bed bugs.

Donate, recycle or dispose of anything you no longer need.

Organize and properly store your belongings so they don’t become a bed bug’s paradise.

#8 – Cover Your Mattress

Put the mattress and box springs in encasements like mattress safe covers. Although this protects the mattress from getting infested, it does not get rid of an infestation.

Mattress covers are zippered casings that enclose an entire mattress. Covers of this type are for non-vinyl mattresses and box springs.

These casings should be made from top-quality fabric, typically cloth, so it’s durable and resistant to tears and folds. They have no folds around the zipper in which bed bugs can find shelter.

#9 – Use Bed Bug Monitors

Monitors like ClimbUp Monitors are made to go under the feet of the bed frame to help prevent bed bugs from reaching the bed (but that doesn’t mean they can’t get to you other ways!). It’s also a useful tool for monitoring your bedroom if you’re afraid you have bed bugs.

Place the devices under the foot of each bed post.

Clean these devices frequently, and search for the source so you can identify and quickly get rid of bed bug infestations.

#10 – Inspect Your Furniture Regularly

Check all your furniture for signs of bed bugs. Begin your search with furniture that has cracks or is used, vintage or antique.

Perform a preliminary inspection before purchasing used furniture.

#11 – Always Check Used Items

Used items, even harmless products like electronics, can be perfect hiding spaces for bed bugs.

Even if something “looks clean”, you should always perform basic checks to any vulnerable goods that you plan on bringing into your home.

Check the vents on all used electronics before purchasing.

Items like stereo receivers, televisions, computers, remotes, and game systems have vents where bed bugs can easily hide.

#12 – Avoid Moving Blankets

Avoid using moving blankets provided by a moving company, and use your own instead. The blankets may not be cleaned regularly and could be infested with bed bugs from another person’s belongings.

#13 – Seal Your Home From Bed Bugs

Bed bugs enter the home in many ways. They can travel on the coats of pets, rodents, or birds. They can also travel on clothing and luggage, and be picked up on public transportation, at movie theaters and even in doctors’ offices.

Repair or apply silicone caulk to cracks on the outside and inside of your home. Remember, any opening that can fit a business card is the perfect hiding place for a bed bug.

Check window and screens to make sure there are no torn or damaged areas.

#14 – Beware Of Bed Bugs in Public Places

Bed bugs can also be found in unsuspected places like store dressing rooms, which provide safe havens for this parasitic pest.

They can be found in the cushioned seats in the dressing rooms and on the carpeted floors.

To avoid unwittingly taking them home on your clothing or purchases, hang your items on the provided wall hooks rather than the cushioned furniture provided in dressing areas.

#15 – Prevent Bed Bugs When Traveling

Travelers run the risk of bringing bed bugs home from any hotel room bedding, furniture, or carpeting.

While traveling think “DREAM”

Determine if your room has signs of an infestation. Look for tiny rust-colored spots on bed sheets, mattress tags and seams, and bed skirts.

Raise furniture and look for bed bugs. Hiding spots usually include underneath the mattress, bed frame and headboard. Typically, they come out at night to feed, but during the day they are most likely found within a 5 foot radius of the bed.

Examine your luggage on a luggage rack away from the bed and wall, since bed bugs can often hide behind headboards, artwork, picture frames and electrical outlet panels.

Assess your luggage carefully while repacking and when you return home. ALWAYS keep luggage off the bed and store it far away from your bedroom.

Move all your clothing from your luggage immediately in the dryer for at least 15 minutes at the highest setting upon returning home from travel.

Check for bed bugs by removing bedding and searching the corners and folds of mattresses.

If there are bed bugs in the room, ask to be moved far from that room because bed bugs can easily travel to adjacent spaces. The rooms in the immediate vicinity are likely infested as well.

If your room has no bugs, still proceed with caution. Don’t place luggage or packages on the floor. Bring the memories home, but leave the bed bugs behind.

Watch this video to learn more tips about preventing bed bugs while traveling.

#16 – Bed Bugs From Laundromats

Shared laundry facilities are the perfect conduit for the transmission of bed bugs from one location to another.

Instead of carrying your laundry into and from the facility in an open clothes basket, opt for plastic bags.

Do not place your cleaned clothes on countertops or floors.

#17 – Learn How to Identify Bed Bugs

Not all small, oval, reddish-brown bugs are bed bugs. Before calling in the cavalry, make sure that you are fighting the right bug.

Most bed bug bites are found on the hands, arms, face, and neck. They cause itchy bumps that can resemble a rash or an allergic reaction. Bed bugs are ¼ of an inch long, and they hide in bedrooms or warm, hidden locations. Learn more about what bed bugs look like and how to properly identify them.

Unlike this flea (commonly found on cats), bed bugs have rounder bodies that are oval in appearance with legs tucked underneath them.

BONUS TIP:

Don’t place your bed against the wall, placing a bed against the wall makes it easier for bed bugs to travel to other areas of your home.

Bed bug prevention begins with the understanding and knowledge of how to spot and eliminate breeding conditions. Despite their name, bed bugs can infest and breed in any part of your home. While they are commonly found in bedding, mattresses, box springs, and bed hardware, it is important to monitor your entire home in order to prevent bed bug infestations.

Eradicating bed bugs from a home can become an expensive and time-consuming because the likelihood of a reinfestation increases if the pests are not eliminated completely and thoroughly the first time. If you follow these tips, you can prevent your family and guests from getting bed bugs.

Don’t risk your safety and peace of mind—it’s possible that you may not be able to kill bed bugs without help. Professionals, like Catseye, have been protecting homes and families from pest infestations like these for many years. High-end pest management companies can enter your home and ensure that the bed bugs are removed completely.

So, if your dealing with a bed bug infestation, and these tips simply aren’t enough, be sure to contact your local pest professionals to get rid of bed bugs once and for all.

How to Prevent Bed Bugs in Your Apartment

Spiders. Bees. Ants. They’ve all been the subject of big-budget Hollywood horror movies. But as anyone who has ever faced a bed bug infestation knows, true terror is much smaller and far more insidious.

Like vampires, bed bugs feed on human blood. But they can go months without eating, hiding in mattresses or even behind wallpaper. Scientists suspect they’ve even evolved to evade the harmful effects of certain insecticides.

In other words, they’re as tough as any monster Hollywood can dream up.

If you want to know how to prevent bed bugs from ruining your night’s sleep, your mattress, or your favorite piece of luggage — or if you already suspect an infestation — the following information will help you determine the appropriate next steps. For inspiration, we’ll look at several frightening films and how their heroes saved the day.

Keep Bed Bugs Out with these Four Tips

Fortifying against bed bugs

From “Night of the Living Dead” to “28 Days Later,” its a zombie movie staple to watch the heroes get to work fortifying their house against the zombie hoards. They board up windows and nail doors shut.

You can take the same fortification approach with bed bugs in your apartment. Here’s how:

  • Cover mattresses and box springs with a zippered protective encasement, so bed bugs have fewer places to hide.
  • Install door sweeps or weather stripping on the bottom of doors to eliminate or limit the bed bugs from moving to other areas.
  • Seal any cracks, crevices, or similar openings around baseboards, light sockets, and other features to minimize movement through walls.

Watching out for bed bugs

In “Jaws,” one unsuspecting swimmer after another falls prey to an oversized great white shark. A little more vigilance — such as surveying the water for an oversized man-eating shark — could have helped them. Once the main protagonists know what to look for, they take the fight to the big shark.

Here’s the sort of vigilance you’ll need to avoid introducing bed bugs into your apartment:

  • Pay careful attention to areas closest to your bed. While bed bugs can travel up to 100 feet in one night, they typically stay within 8 feet of where people sleep.
  • Keep your home as neat and organized as you can. Removing clutter also removes bed bug hiding places.
  • Vacuum regularly to ensnare the bed bugs that managed to navigate around the door sweeps, seals, and similar “roadblocks.”

Tracking down bed bugs

In “Poltergeist,” a family beset by unwanted visitors — who lurk inside their TV and closets — goes on the offensive to rid the evil spirits from their home. They’re aided by various technological gadgets, but you won’t need as much: just a flashlight.

  • Hunt for bed bugs using a flashlight, looking for small reddish spots on bedsheets or mattresses; round, dark spots that look like ink; or tiny eggs, eggshells, and pale yellow skins.
  • Check for the bed bugs themselves in mattresses, box springs, and bed frames.
  • Be sure to look under the mattress as well as in the seams, folds, and edges.
  • Examine furniture near the bed (nightstands, etc.).

Terminating bed bugs

In movies such as “Predator,” “The Thing,” and “Aliens,” beleaguered heroes face long odds when they switch from being the hunted to the hunter. The following suggestions will ensure you have far more success.

  • Bring in a professional. Select an exterminator with experience treating for bed bugs. The exterminator’s weapon of choice is usually a sprayed insecticide.
  • Bring the heat. Exterminators may also use a heater capable of raising a room’s temperature to a bed bug-killing 122 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Cold also makes an effective weapon; you can freeze infested items for several days at 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Bring in a waste collector. You’ll need to throw out items that are too infested.
  • (Click here for tips on hiring an exterminator.)

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