Posted: Sep 7, 2010 5:01 PM by Stephanie Ryan
Updated: Sep 7, 2010 5:09 PM
Pest control experts said anyone can fall victim to bed bugs, but there are steps you can take to identify the problem early or even prevent the pests.
First, cover your mattress with a mattress cover completely. Expert Matt Kimbrough suggested using a cover without a zipper, which can allow the bugs in. They are, after all, smaller than fleas at only millimeters long.
Second, if you travel internationally, make sure to pack lightly. That makes it easier to sort through clothing and items for bed bugs. Thoroughly inspect everything you bring home for the bugs. If you suspect bed bugs have hitched a ride home with you, bag your infected belongings, and keep them outside until you have time to check for the bugs.
Third, be wary of used furniture, which can often harbor the bugs for more than a year, even with no meals.
Some also wonder how to check for bed bugs. Make sure to check the seams in the mattress for the insects themselves, especially around the headboard. Bed bugs like to hide in crevices. While you may miss the bugs themselves, they often leave tiny black dots behind, which are remnants of their last meal.
Bed bugs generally bite three times in a row over the course of the night, which is an easy way to identify bed bug bites.
If bugs have made their way into your home, quarantine the affected rooms. Make sure to wash and dry all clothing, vacuum the rooms thoroughly and call a professional to treat mattresses and other materials.
If at all possible, Kimbrough said to simply throw away affected belongings.