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How do I avoid bedbugs?

Until something changes, it looks like bedbugs are here to stay. Personally speaking, I’m taking a mental step back from the growing epidemic. Bedbugs are not attracted to dirty environments. Bedbugs do not transmit diseases. Can I say that I think they’re actually kinda cute? Mosquitoes do transmit diseases and many of us have a tormenting allergic reaction to their bites. But we still go outside.

Unless a safe and effective treatment to eradicate bedbugs comes along, we’re gonna have to learn how to live with them. First we need to act on preventing the bugs from invading our living spaces. But this is not possible one hundred percent of the time. I believe the long term solution includes preventing access to the food source and limiting the availability of shelter. That leads me to the two lists below – keeping bedbugs out and making them want to leave.

How to Keep Bedbugs Out

  • Travel – If you travel anywhere overnight, check for bedbugs in the bed and surrounding areas before you sleep. Keep luggage and belongings off of the floor. Check all bags and luggage when you return. Wash all laundry you return with in hot water and then dry using the hot setting of a dryer.
  • Public Places – It is possible to pick up a bedbug in a taxi, at the movie theater, in a restaurant, at work…you get the idea. If you’ve had bedbugs before, you probably won’t think it at all crazy to wash your clothes after every trip to the outside world.
  • Caulk – This is most important in places like apartment buildings, townhouses, college dorms and any multi-person living space where you are able to seal yourself from wandering bedbugs.
  • Purchases – beds, furniture, clothing, vehicles…whether you buy something brand new or at a yard sale – check for bedbugs. Wash and machine dry clothing. Find out if businesses steam clean the used cars or furniture they are selling.
  • Reality – Be honest with yourself. There is no way to fully prevent bedbugs from entering your home.

How to Avoid Bedbug Bites

  • Bedbugs in the Room – Make your bed inaccessible. Make sure no part of your bed is touching curtains, walls, furniture or anything that would allow bedbugs to climb to you. Buy or make traps for where the bedposts touch the floor.
  • Bedbugs in the Bed – Use a mattress cover that will keep bedbugs out and trap any already living inside.
  • Nighttime Clothing – Wear long sleeves, something that covers your legs, and socks. Bedbugs do not like to crawl under clothing.
  • Pitch – It is a hard and costly decision, but throwing things away may be necessary. I threw away a couch after I took a crowbar to it…looking for bedbugs. Throwing a mattress away may save you money in the end.

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