How to Keep Bedbugs Out of Your House

We’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating – bedbugs really are the worst.

There’s nothing good about them.

They’re itchy, bloodsucking, and incredibly difficult to remove.

Bedbugs are probably one of the last things you ever want coming into your house, and if you’re anything close to a responsible homeowner, it pays to know a thing or two about how to prevent a bedbug infestation from ever happening.

Just trust us on this one – this is one of those things you do not want to happen to you.

Where Are Bedbugs Found?

Although bedbugs were all but eradicated from the developed world by the mid-20th century, in recent years they’ve been making a serious comeback.

The earthThe pesticides we used to use on them have gotten less and less effective over time, so that now, what once was just a children’s bedtime rhyme has become a real threat to us all.

Although bedbugs can be found just about anywhere, they’re most common in metropolitan areas.

In fact, if you live in a city or are planning on visiting a big city at some point in the near future, you might want to check out Orkin’s list of the top 50 cities for bedbugs.

The cities of Baltimore, D.C., and Chicago come at the top of the list, but pretty much no major city is safe.

Bedbugs have been spotted in all 50 states (yes, even Alaska and Hawaii).

They’re also much more common in the developing world than here, so be extra careful if you’re travelling internationally!

Be Careful When Traveling

Really, though, you should be careful any time you’re sleeping anywhere that isn’t your house – even if it’s just in a nice hotel the next town over.

Unlike pests like cockroaches and rats, which feed on waste, all bedbugs need to live is a warm body.

They feed on blood, remember, so their presence isn’t necessarily a sign of uncleanliness.

People have been known to steer clear of hotels if there’s even a single mention of bedbugs on the premises, but that’s not really fair.

All hotels are at risk, and it’s not a sign of poor maintenance if a hotel once had bedbugs.

Scope Out Your Hotel Room

So no matter what hotel you’re staying it, it’s often worthwhile to do a quick once-over to be sure you’re not going to be travelling with these pernicious pests.

Catseye Pest gives a nice mnemonic for scoping out your hotel room for bedbugs.

Just thing DREAM:

Determine if there are any signs of an infestation in your room

  • Look for black or rust-colored spots on the sheets or mattress, and check for shed bedbug exoskeletons anywhere you think they might be hiding

Raise furniture and check for the bedbugs themselves

  • They’re especially common under and around the mattress
  • You’re looking for small, black bugs about the size of an apple seed.

Examine your luggage away from the bed

  • You never, ever want to put your luggage on top of a hotel bed, since bedbugs could easily latch on
  • Use the suitcase holder if you have on, or stick your luggage in the bathtub until you’ve had a chance to finish inspecting

Assess your luggage when repacking

  • Always keep a lookout for signs of bedbugs!

Move your clothing from your suitcase to the washer immediately after you get back home

  • You can never be totally sure if you caught your hotel room’s bedbug infestation, so it pays to take extra precautions

Handle Your Clothes and Luggage Properly

Take extra precautions with your clothes and luggage when returning from a trip.

If you can, vacuum off your suitcase before getting back into your house, and hand wash other items in hot, soapy water.

You can also disinfect your suitcase with no-pest strips, and then stick these and your suitcase in a black trash bag for a couple weeks.

This acts as a low-cost fumigation, stopping the bedbugs dead in their tracks.

If you think your clothing might have been infected, separate it into plastic bags and then stick these directly in the wash on the highest setting possible.

You also want to undress on a hard surface instead of carpeting, since this will let you see if any bedbugs are running off of your clothing!

Watch Out For Used Items

If you like to buy used items from garage sales or stores like Goodwill, you always want to be extremely careful to make sure you’re not accidentally inviting bedbugs into your home.

Sign in front yard says "garage sale"Inspect any used items carefully for these pests in advance, and throw any used clothing or bedding directly in the wash.

You also want to be wary of any kind of used mattress, since people often throw these out at the first sign of an infestation.

If you do end up going for a used mattress, though, be sure to zip it up in a bedbug-proof mattress cover, since this will keep any bedbugs that are on the mattress from crawling out while you sleep.

You can also try using a bedbug monitor, which is basically just a plastic bowl that you stick under the legs of your bed.

It makes it a lot harder for bedbugs to climb up onto your mattress, but it’s also kind of unsightly so you also might want to invest in a bed skirt.

Watch Where You’re Going!

You don’t need to be travelling around the world or even just to a different city to get a bedbug infestation, though.

Bedbugs are common in all metropolitan areas, especially around lower income housing districts.

This means that things like public transportation, movie theaters, and even department store dressing rooms have been known to harbor bedbugs.

In dressing rooms, the solution is easy – just use the provided coat hooks!

In addition to keeping your clothes from getting dusty from the floor, hanging up the clothes you’re changing into and trying on can prevent bedbugs from hitching a ride.

When it comes to places like public transit and movie theaters, though, there’s honestly not a whole lot you can do.

You can try inspecting seats before you sit down, or simply not sitting if you’re super worried, but at some point it really does become ridiculous.

Bedbugs are living things, and unfortunately, there’s really not a way to be 100% sure you’ll never have to deal with them.

You can reduce the chances, but they’ll never go away entirely.

Check Your Pet to Prevent Bedbug Infestations at Home

Also remember that humans aren’t the only animals that bedbugs can have a hankering for, either.

Two golden retriever puppies sleeping on a blanketThey’re also happy to have a nibble at creatures like cats and dogs, which can be problematic if your pets like to roam.

If you think your animal might be suffering from bedbug bites, check their skin for small, red bites, which will often be close together (they look similar to the bites on humans).

Check out their bedding as well, along with any toys.

If you think anything might have bedbugs, through it in the washer and dryer to disinfect it!

Beware the Laundromat if You Want to Keep Bedbugs Out of the Home

Laundromats are another pesky way for bedbugs to get entry into your house – which is problematic, since you can’t just give up on washing your clothes!

Nevertheless, bedbugs can often latch onto your cleaned clothes through your wash basket or if you ever leave them on countertops or floors.

If you’re worried about this, it might be worthwhile to start bringing your laundry in trash bags, since bedbugs can’t get through these.

And remember to keep your clean clothes off of any surfaces outside your home!

Schedule Regular Pest Control to Avoid Home Bedbug Infestations

If you really want to get serious about minimizing your changes of a bedbug infestation, though, you always have to be aware of your limitations.

Confident pest control workerIt’s simply not possible to be on the alert all the time, and even if you are, there’s always some chance a bedbug or two will sneak through.

That’s why it’s usually a good idea to schedule a regular pest control service in your home.

These guys can often help you stop a bedbug infestation before it gets out of hand.

They know what they’re doing, and they can spot all the signs of these pests a lot more easily than you can.

Remember that these people are professionals.

Tracking down unwanted critters is what they do, so it’s often a good idea to invest in their services.

Even if you’re a homeowner yourself, talk to your landlord about setting up something like this.

It might save you more than a couple headaches down the road!

Conclusion About How to Keep Bedbugs Out of the Home

Bedbugs are a terrible thing to have to deal with.

You should be safe in your own home, and the only way to make that a reality is to prevent unwanted bloodsuckers from ever getting in to begin with.

Don’t put yourself through the ordeal of handling a full-blown bedbug infestation.

Trust us, you do not want to have to deal with that.

Just know how to keep these things at bay, and you’ll never have to worry again!