How to Prevent Bed Bugs in Your Apartment

Spiders. Bees. Ants. They’ve all been the subject of big-budget Hollywood horror movies. But as anyone who has ever faced a bed bug infestation knows, true terror is much smaller and far more insidious.

Like vampires, bed bugs feed on human blood. But they can go months without eating, hiding in mattresses or even behind wallpaper. Scientists suspect they’ve even evolved to evade the harmful effects of certain insecticides.

In other words, they’re as tough as any monster Hollywood can dream up.

If you want to know how to prevent bed bugs from ruining your night’s sleep, your mattress, or your favorite piece of luggage — or if you already suspect an infestation — the following information will help you determine the appropriate next steps. For inspiration, we’ll look at several frightening films and how their heroes saved the day.

Keep Bed Bugs Out with these Four Tips

Fortifying against bed bugs

From “Night of the Living Dead” to “28 Days Later,” its a zombie movie staple to watch the heroes get to work fortifying their house against the zombie hoards. They board up windows and nail doors shut.

You can take the same fortification approach with bed bugs in your apartment. Here’s how:

  • Cover mattresses and box springs with a zippered protective encasement, so bed bugs have fewer places to hide.
  • Install door sweeps or weather stripping on the bottom of doors to eliminate or limit the bed bugs from moving to other areas.
  • Seal any cracks, crevices, or similar openings around baseboards, light sockets, and other features to minimize movement through walls.

Watching out for bed bugs

In “Jaws,” one unsuspecting swimmer after another falls prey to an oversized great white shark. A little more vigilance — such as surveying the water for an oversized man-eating shark — could have helped them. Once the main protagonists know what to look for, they take the fight to the big shark.

Here’s the sort of vigilance you’ll need to avoid introducing bed bugs into your apartment:

  • Pay careful attention to areas closest to your bed. While bed bugs can travel up to 100 feet in one night, they typically stay within 8 feet of where people sleep.
  • Keep your home as neat and organized as you can. Removing clutter also removes bed bug hiding places.
  • Vacuum regularly to ensnare the bed bugs that managed to navigate around the door sweeps, seals, and similar “roadblocks.”

Tracking down bed bugs

In “Poltergeist,” a family beset by unwanted visitors — who lurk inside their TV and closets — goes on the offensive to rid the evil spirits from their home. They’re aided by various technological gadgets, but you won’t need as much: just a flashlight.

  • Hunt for bed bugs using a flashlight, looking for small reddish spots on bedsheets or mattresses; round, dark spots that look like ink; or tiny eggs, eggshells, and pale yellow skins.
  • Check for the bed bugs themselves in mattresses, box springs, and bed frames.
    • Be sure to look under the mattress as well as in the seams, folds, and edges.
  • Examine furniture near the bed (nightstands, etc.).

Terminating bed bugs

In movies such as “Predator,” “The Thing,” and “Aliens,” beleaguered heroes face long odds when they switch from being the hunted to the hunter. The following suggestions will ensure you have far more success.

  • Bring in a professional. Select an exterminator with experience treating for bed bugs. The exterminator’s weapon of choice is usually a sprayed insecticide.
  • Bring the heat. Exterminators may also use a heater capable of raising a room’s temperature to a bed bug-killing 122 degrees Fahrenheit.
    • Cold also makes an effective weapon; you can freeze infested items for several days at 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Bring in a waste collector. You’ll need to throw out items that are too infested.

(Click here for tips on hiring an exterminator.)

Bed bug bites can cause aggravating skin irritation. Their simple presence can cause a fair amount of anxiety. Sometimes, the only thing left to do is move out after your lease is up, especially if you suspect the infestation’s “ground zero” is located elsewhere in your apartment building. Find the perfect, bed-bug free apartment on ApartmentSearch.com today.

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