Although there are several ways that you can get rid of a bed bug infestation in your home, it's always best to prevent a pest problem in the first place. Not only are bed bugs a nuisance, they can also be costly to get rid of. Even though there are some natural ways to get rid of the bugs yourself, you most likely will have to call in a professional extermination company to eradicate the issue. 

If you think that you already may have a bed bug infestation, do a thorough check of your home so that you can catch the problem before it gets worse. Exterminators can get rid of the pest faster if they haven't spread from one area, such as a couch or mattress, yet.

Here are some ways that you can prevent a bed bug infestation in your home:

1. Inspect Hotel Rooms

One of the most common places that people contract a bed bug issue is through hotel rooms. The pests can hitchhike into your home on bedding or clothing, so it's important to do an inspection of the space when you check in.

Look in the sheets and blankets, as well as under the mattress for hiding bed bugs. Besides the actual pests themselves, also check for reddish-brown colored stains, which could indicate crushed bed bugs, or small black spots, which could be excrement. Bed bug eggs may be hard to see, as they are about 1 mm in size, and are a light tan color.

If you notice any bed bugs in the room, place all of your personal bedding and clothing items in tightly sealed plastic bags, and wash and dry them in the hottest water temperature the fabric allows prior to using them in your home again. 

2. Check Used Items

Another common way that bed bugs can sneak into your home is via used furniture items, such as couches, mattresses and bedding. Before purchasing these second-hand pieces, check for bed bugs. If you didn't get a chance to do an inspection prior to purchase, check them immediately when you get home. If you see any signs of bed bugs, throw the item away right away before an infestation starts.

3. Use a Mattress Protector

Whether you have a new or used mattress, you can protect it from a bed bug infestation by encasing it in a cover. Mattress covers prevent bed bugs from hiding in the springs, where they are difficult to see. 

Contact a professional for a bed bug treatment as soon as possible.