Tips to Avoid Bed Bugs

Bed bugs have infested hotels, movie theaters, public transportation, schools, dorms, etc., etc. They also are showing up in the apparel in retail stores, likely brought in from overseas in the original shipment. The bugs are hitchhikers and frequently lay eggs on, or find their way into, clothing, luggage and furniture. Note: to protect yourself entirely from bed bug exposure is practically impossible, but there are many efforts that can significantly reduce your chances of bringing them into your home.

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Here are tips to avoid them.

1. Heat is the easiest way to kill the bugs and their eggs. If you suspect exposure from a certain location, or if you are bringing items into your home that may be at high risk (newly purchased clothes, or clothes that have been in your children's school or dorm), you may want to run the items in the dryer at high heat for 30-plus minutes.

2. It is not practical to dry all clothes and coats every time you enter your home, but you can reduce the risk of clothing and coats becoming infested by not setting them down on other people's beds, couches and upholstered furniture.

3. Special casings prevent bed bugs from infesting mattresses and box springs, and can isolate and kill bugs that already have infested a mattress. These covers do not, in themselves, eliminate bed bug habitats or prevent an infestation.

4. Frequent laundering of bedding and frequent vacuuming of bedrooms (including cracks and seams) will help to reduce the growth of an infestation. If you have an infestation, dispose of vacuum bags out of doors immediately after use.

5. When traveling, place luggage and clothes in a tiled bathroom. Dry clothes when you return home and vacuum luggage, or seal it in a plastic bag.

6. It is wise to keep an eye out for signs of infestation - dead bugs, shed bug casings, fecal spotting, etc. - as it is much easier to eradicate an infestation if it is caught early.

Much more information is available on the web, and specific questions and answers are available at