Bed bugs are a real pest and difficult to get rid of. They are expert hitchhikers so even if you take all the precautions you can still end up bringing bed bugs back home. Scary thought isn’t it? First, to know how to avoid getting bed bugs we need to know how you get them. So how do you get bed bugs? Where do bed bugs live?
Where Do Bed Bugs Live?
Bed bugs will live anywhere close to their food supply, and by food supply I mean YOU! They can be found in mattresses, box springs, bed frames, baseboards, curtains, nearby furniture, shoes, backpacks, luggage bags, dresser, clothes, the list goes on. In fact, there are recent cases where bed bugs were found on the subway and even in the public library.
Typically they are found around the bed and that’s the reason why they are called “bed bugs”. But remember that just because they are called bed bugs they don’t ONLY live in the bed. They’re usually found around the bed because bed bugs often feed at night time when you are fast asleep to stay undetected and guess what…you’re usually in your bed at night.
They usually take around 5 mins to feed then they scurry back to their hiding places until it’s time for their next meal (5 – 10 days). During this time they just digest their meal, mate, and lay eggs.
Keep in mind that although their primary habitat is near the bed, they can easily hitch a ride on their host and potentially get dropped off anywhere they go. At the movie theater, restaurant, bus, subway, school, work, friend/family’s house, etc.
How Do You Get Bed Bugs?
So now we know where bed bugs usually live and how easily they can hitch a ride and be transported practically anywhere, how do you get bed bugs? It’s simple. You happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. They will sense the carbon dioxide coming from your breath and will be drawn to you. Once they get on your clothes, backpack, hand bag, etc, they’ll hitch a ride to your home where they’ll gladly enjoy their meal and call your bed “home”.
This is BAD! If you happened to bring back a fully matured adult, they can start laying eggs and your room will quickly become infested. If you brought back an immature bed bug (nymph), then you still have time before they mature to the next level to be able to mate and produce eggs. (You can read more about the bed bug life cycle here). But this is no excuse to be lazy and leave things alone. Once you get your first bite and have confirmed it’s a bed bug bite, take immediate action!
There are of course other ways of getting them other than being at the wrong place at the wrong time. You may be going over to a friend/family member’s house who has bed bugs. Or you may have bought some second hand furniture for a great deal only to find that it’s infested with bed bugs.
How to Avoid Getting Bed Bugs
OK, so we know how we get bed bugs. What can we do to avoid getting them? So I just mentioned that you can get bed bugs by buying second hand furniture. You never know where they’ve been so try to avoid it if you can. But if you must buy it, make sure that you thoroughly inspect it and even steam it to ensure there are no bed bugs or eggs.
Hotels are notorious for having bed bugs and guests complaining about the horrendous amount of super itchy bite marks they found on their body when they work up. When traveling, make sure you fully inspect the bed, covers, mattress, boxspring, and sheets for any signs of bed bugs. If you find any, go to the lobby and switch your room immediately.
If you have the opportunity, you should also wash your clothes in hot water and run them through the dryer on the highest setting for at least 45mins to kill any bed bugs or eggs that may have hitched a ride. Vacuum your suitcase when returning home and store it away safely in a garbage bag.
Other ways of avoiding getting bed bugs is by taking preventative measures. You can buy mattress covers that will prevent any bed bugs from being able to burrow into your mattress and call it home. You can buy bed bug detectors that you place under the legs of your bed which will trap a small amount of bed bugs so you’ll know whether you have a start of an infestation and can deal with it immediately. Bed bug detectors are also great in preventing any bed bugs from crawling up the legs of your bed and feeding on you.
Another great preventative measure is to sprinkle a thin layer of diatomaceous earth powder near baseboard, doorways, and around the bed so that if a bed bug walks over it, the sharp shards will puncture the bed bugs causing them to dehydrate and die.
Bed bugs have become a real problem and it’s no wonder because they can practically be found anywhere a person goes. They are expert hitchhikers and can be passed around easily. Of course you don’t want to live your life being paranoid and checking every single thing you come into contact with but use your judgement and check around you (even if it’s just a quick glance) to ensure there’s nothing moving near you.
Take precautionary steps like buying mattress covers, bed bug detectors, and diatomaceous powder to prevent bed bugs from infesting your room. And remember to inspect your bed anytime you go on vacation.
If you happen to be unlucky and bring back bed bugs to your home, take immediate action!
Did you have bed bugs? What did you do to get rid of them? What do you do to avoid getting them again? Let me know in the comments below and as always, if you found this information useful or know anyone who’s struggling with bed bugs, please share this article.