Person putting a mattress slip on a bed - Florida Pest Control, Gainesville FL

Unlike seasonal pests such as mosquitoes or ants, bed bugs are unpredictable. They’re active all year long and can be spread through pretty much any public space, so preventing them isn’t an easy task. But, with the right steps, it is still possible to avoid an infestation. Here, the experts at Florida Pest Control provide their top tips for preventing bed bugs in any situation.

How Do People Get Bed Bugs?

To prevent bed bugs, it’s helpful to know how infestations start in the first place. In most cases, bed bugs spread from person to person in a public space. Some of the most common areas that people unknowingly pick up bed bugs include:

  • Airports, train stations, and buses
  • Movie theaters
  • Hotel or guest rooms
  • Clothing stores
  • Schools
  • Office buildings

A lot of people also associate bed bugs with unhygienic spaces, but the truth is, these pests will hide out in any place where they have reliable access to a host. Even the cleanest home could fall victim to an infestation, so it’s important that everyone takes precautions to avoid these pests.

How to Avoid Bed Bugs While Traveling

When traveling, you spend a lot of time in busy public areas. For that reason, travelers are at a higher risk of experiencing an infestation when they return home. While it may feel impossible to avoid bed bugs during a vacation, there are some ways you can protect yourself while on the road:

  • Use hard-shelled suitcases
  • Keep your clothes in plastic bags
  • Inspect hotels or guest rooms before settling in
  • Don’t place your luggage on the carpet or bed
  • Inspect your suitcase before bringing it back into your home
  • Wash your clothes on high heat upon returning home

How to Keep Bed Bugs Out of Your Home

Even if you haven’t traveled recently, it’s still possible to get bed bugs while out and about. While these pests can be persistent, you can avoid them by taking some proactive measures. A few of the most effective ways to prevent bed bugs in your home include:

  • Watching for early signs of an infestation: Understanding the early indicators of bed bugs can help you act quickly before a full-blown infestation occurs. Look for problems like tiny dark spots on your mattress or blood stains on your bedding. 
  • Protect Your Bed: Your bed is a primary target for bed bugs. A high-quality cover that is resistant to tears and holes can prevent bed bugs from entering or escaping your mattress. 
  • Maintain a Clean and Clutter-Free Home: Regular cleaning and reducing clutter can help minimize bed bug hiding spots. Vacuuming routinely could also suck up any live insects or eggs that may be hiding out. 
  • Cover Power Outlets: Bed bugs can hide in power outlets, so it’s a good idea to cover them. Using simple plastic plugs is an effective solution. 

How to Prevent Bed Bugs in Your Apartment

Preventing bed bugs in an apartment setting can be particularly challenging due to the close proximity of units and the shared spaces that make it easier for these pests to spread. Unlike single-family homes, apartments have more shared spaces and potential entry points. If you live in an apartment, take these extra precautions:

  • Be cautious in shared laundry facilities: Always inspect washing machines and dryers for signs of bed bugs before use, and transport your laundry in sealed bags to minimize the risk of picking up any hitchhiking pests. When removing your clothes from the dryer, immediately place them into a clean, sealed bag to prevent bed bugs from climbing in.
  • Seal entry points: Plugging cracks and crevices in walls, as well as covering electrical outlets with simple plastic plugs, can help prevent bed bugs from migrating between units. Regularly inspecting and maintaining these barriers can be an effective line of defense against these invasive pests.
  • Communicate with your landlord: If you suspect a bed bug infestation, report it immediately. Early detection and prompt professional treatment can prevent the spread of bed bugs to neighboring units. 

Are Landlords Responsible for Treating Bed Bugs?

Landlords typically bear the responsibility for arranging and covering the costs of extermination, provided the tenant did not introduce the bed bugs into the apartment. If you brought the bed bugs into the apartment, however, you may be responsible for treatment costs. However, the specific obligations of landlords and tenants can vary depending on local laws and regulations, so it’s important to be aware of the rules that apply in your area.

Preventing Bed Bugs in a Dorm Room

Dormitories are high-traffic environments with students frequently moving in and out, often bringing belongings from various locations. This constant movement and the communal living spaces make dorms particularly susceptible to bed bug problems. 

While a lot of the prevention tips are the same for people living in a dorm, it’s important that you are even more careful about infestations. Performing routine inspections and taking care when moving your belongings or welcoming a new roommate can go a long way.

Should I Buy Used Furniture?

Buying used furniture is a very common way that people accidentally bring bed bugs into their home. But, that doesn’t mean you have to pass up every great deal—you just need to be cautious. When considering the purchase of second-hand furniture, it’s essential to thoroughly inspect each item for signs of bed bugs before bringing it into your home. Pay special attention to the undersides and backs of furniture, as bed bugs often hide in less visible areas. 

In addition to visual inspections, it’s wise to avoid upholstered items when buying used furniture, as these are more challenging to check thoroughly and more likely to harbor bed bugs. Hard surfaces like wood or metal are easier to clean and inspect. 

Professional Bed Bug Control

Unfortunately, bed bugs are incredibly difficult to prevent. Even with precautions, it’s still possible to experience an outbreak at some point. If you do come across bed bugs in your property, it’s important to get professional assistance as soon as possible—the faster we treat the issue, the easier it will be to get rid of. If you think you have bed bugs, give Florida Pest Control a call.

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