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Discover 5 Ways to Prevent a Bed Bug Takeover & Save Your Mattress [+1 Bonus!]

by Ann Ferguson

It’s the first week of June, which means enjoying the beginning of summer and — learning about bed bugs! This week is Bed Bug Awareness week, which helps people learn how to identify and prevent bed bugs from infesting their homes. We know it’s an icky problem you probably don’t want to think about, but doing preventative measures now will only do you good.

But don’t worry, we’re here to give you some tips on how to keep your home bug-free!

1. Road Block

Woman making an X-shape with her arms

One way to prevent bed bugs from reaching your mattress is by cutting off their access to the bed. Bed bugs can’t jump or fly, so they have to crawl to access your bed, using the legs of your furniture to get there.

Thankfully, there’s no need to figure out how to magically float your furniture. You can cut off access by coating your bed’s legs and other furniture in Vaseline or with double-sided tape. You can also drag the bed and other furniture away from the wall and keep blankets and clothes from dangling to the floor.

2. Interception

Another preventative measure you can use to block their access is by using bed bug interceptors. These interceptors have a rough exterior that bed bugs can crawl over, but the smooth interior traps the bugs inside. All you have to do is place them under the legs of your bed or wherever they can access gain access to your bed, like your nightstand for example.

This method will help reduce their numbers and help you monitor the problem.

3. All Natural

Spray made with essential oils

If you don’t want to try harsh chemicals and sprays, you’re in luck! There are plenty of natural oils and scents that help deter bed bugs. For instance, you can crush peppermint leaves to repel them or use lavender to make them nauseous. As for natural oils, you can use the following:

  • Cloves
  • Eucalyptus
  • Lavender
  • Lemongrass
  • Neem
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
  • Tea Tree
  • Thyme

To create a spray using one of these oils, dilute several drops in a spray bottle filled with water (use 20 to 25 drops if using tea tree oil).

Pro Tip: One spray we’ve found effective is spraying a solution using 1 tsp of cayenne powder, 1 tsp of ground ginger, 1 tsp of oregano oil, and 1 tsp of water around doorways to prevent bed bugs from getting in the house.

4. Second-Hand Score

Finding an excellent deal on previously-owned furniture is a rush, but did you know that bed bugs can live a year or more without food?

So, it’s essential that you carefully examine your new-to-you furniture, clothes, and books before bringing them into your home. Look for blood stains, rusty spots, shed skins, or eggshells before buying. But, even if you don’t see any, you should still try spraying with essential oils as a preventative measure.

Pro Tip: Bed bugs are most commonly found in crowded buildings with high turnover rates like apartment buildings and hotels, so be extra careful getting furniture from these places.

5. Use Protection

Hands putting a mattress protector on

Keeping bed bugs out is a difficult task, but that job becomes a little easier when you encase your mattress and box spring with a mattress protector. Even if you already have bed bugs, a mattress protector will trap any bugs, eggs, or larvae still on your mattress and starve them to death. You can even find a mattress cover pre-treated with pesticides for an added boost.

But before you put on the encasement, try removing and destroying as many bed bugs and eggs as you can with a steam cleaner and vacuum.

6. Save Your Baggage

If you can’t help but travel for work or other obligations, you risk bringing bed bugs home. And the most significant risk comes from your luggage because it goes with you everywhere. But that doesn’t mean you have to limit your wardrobe to a single outfit.

Instead, avoid placing your suitcase on any bed as you travel or when you’re at home. Instead, try putting it on the rim of the bathtub or sink. And don’t forget to check the signs of bed bugs during your stay and keep an eye out for dark spots, smears, or dead bugs that look like watermelon seeds.

As a precaution, when you return home, try vacuuming your suitcase, wrapping it in a plastic bag before storing it away, and then immediately clean out the vacuum.

Pro Tip: Wash and dry your clothes at the highest temperature to kill off bugs, eggs, or larvae!

Seeing the Signs

Man shining light on bed bugs on a mattress

Bed bugs are nasty and hard to detect since their bites resemble other insect bites. But if you’re not sure, it is easy to check your mattress. Look for:

  • Rusty stains on your bedding
  • Tiny dark spots that look like a small dot made with a pen (it might even bleed into the fabric).
  • Little white eggs or eggshells the size of a pinhead in the cracks of your mattress.
  • Small yellow-white skins.

Pro Tip: Be sure to check crevices created by seams, tags, or piping and check cracks in the headboard or frame.

Saying Goodbye

 Woman testing out new mattress

When you have bed bugs, you don’t have to immediately get rid of your mattress. But if you find the stains too gross or want to start fresh, you can call your local junk removal service, check if the city provides free curbside junk collection, or bring it to the dump yourself. Make sure to rip or deface the mattress and other infested items so they can’t be reused, and seal everything in plastic!

As for your upgrade, look no further than Westco Home Furnishings to help you put this ordeal behind you. With a new mattress, you can find worry-free sleep that’ll change your life. And if you have any questions, give us a call!