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Bed bugs: Don't have them, don't want them

So you don't have bed bugs at home — but is there anything you can do to avoid getting these unwanted visitors? Dr. Harold Harlan, a noted entomologist, has a few suggestions:

  • Take steps to try to avoid picking up bed bugs from hotels, hostels or any other sources when you or your family members travel, even to local destinations (e.g., within the same or a nearby city). Check your luggage closely if you think you’ve encountered bed bugs on the road
  • Steer clear of used mattresses and discarded furniture. Do not buy used furniture, especially bedding items or upholstered items. At the very least, do not bring them into your home until you, or a competent expert, have inspected them carefully for any signs of bed bugs— live or dead bed bugs, their eggs, fecal spots, or cast skins. 
  • Consider covering all of your mattresses and box springs with a plastic cover which you can seal shut to prevent such pests from getting into them (or to permanently trap any already there). 
  • Periodically inspect bedding and other places in your home which are typical harborage sites for bed bugs. 
  • No control efforts (or products) are needed unless an infestation is detected and verified by an expert. If an infestation is confirmed, it is wise to consider contracting with a properly licensed, trained, and experienced (with bed bug control) local pest control management or company. They should help with effective and thorough inspections, provide you with information you may want, and carry out any needed control effort under a suitable contract.