Bed bug infestations in the home are becoming all too common. In fact, these pests are now so prevalent that a recent news article contained a list of American cities where the risk of bed bug infestations are greatest, along with information showing how each city's ranking for the problem has changed in just the past two years. With experts agreeing that bed bug infestations are continuing to surge, many families are now concerned with preventing this problem in their own home. If you would like to decrease the chances that you will be faced with a bed bug infestation in your own home, the following tips can help: 

Use caution when traveling

The small size and shape of a bed bug make it able to hide in a seam on luggage or attach itself to clothing, purses, or bags when traveling. In this manner, travelers who come into even brief contact with an infested area may unknowingly transport live bed bugs into their own home. While it is impossible to do away with all risks, especially when traveling through areas where infestations are common, taking time to inspect your bags and clothing can help you identify and remove these pests before they can reproduce in your home. 

Limit common risk factors

While everyone likes getting something for free or cheap, obtaining furnishings, bedding, clothing, or other items from yard sales, thrift stores, or online sites can be a huge risk factor for bringing bed bugs into your home. An even worse risk is to pick up free furniture from the curb that someone else has removed from their home for an unknown reason. These items may be in great condition and look fine, but closer inspection may reveal them to be infested with bedbugs. Since a single female bedbug is capable of laying one to seven eggs per day for up to ten days after each feeding, the potential for infestation is great, even if only a few bed bugs are hidden in any of these items. 

Make your home less welcoming to bed bugs

Bedbugs like to hide in seams and crevices of furnishings, soft goods, and clothing. So it is important to regularly inspect these surfaces for signs of infestation, such as:

  • bits of the insect's exoskeleton left behind after they molt
  • rusty spots from their blood-engorged fecal matter
  • an unusual sweet or musty odor
  • live insects or their eggs  

Keeping bedding and other soft surfaces clean and sanitary through frequent laundering or steam-cleaning, as well as vacuuming and sanitizing the entire home can help prevent or lessen infestations. If you suspect you have a bed bug infestation, it is important to contact a professional bed bug removal service immediately to help you rid your home of these persistent insects.