Beds bugs are not like rodents or other pests and insects that come into your home from outside. You have to bring them in on items that they have already infested.
Picking them up while you travel and the purchase of used or second-hand furniture and/or bedding are among the most likely ways bed bugs will find their way into your home so these are the two areas you want to be the most diligent in with your precautions.
Avoid purchasing used furniture – especially bedding products. Bed bugs love to hide in the ticking and seams of mattresses. The screw holes of headboards and other wood furniture as well as the plush parts of couches and chairs are other favorite bed bug hideouts. If you do purchase secondhand items, leave them outside for a while after you get them. Vacuum or clean all parts of the items thoroughly and inspect them closely before you introduce them into your home.If there are pillows or cushions that can be washed, do that in the hottest water possible and dry on high heat as well.
When you travel follow these precautions:
Bed bugs are often found in places like hotels, motels, hostels, and dormitories because of the high volume of overnight guests. Remember, they feed at night while you’re sleeping, then retreat to a sheltered crevice by morning. That shelter might be within your luggage, clothing, purse or souvenirs.
Bring a flashlight and inspect the room. Flashlights with strong LED beams work best. Pay attention to the bed and furniture. Look under the mattress especially by the four corners. You will be looking for bugs, eggs, shed body casings or digested blood that has a brown color. Don’t forget to look behind the headboard and in all its screw holes and crevices. Chairs are another place to inspect as well as along the baseboards near the carpeting – especially behind the bed or other large furnishings. Inspect the legs of furniture or any parts of it that touch the ground as well.
Mind your bags:
Do not put your bags on upholstered furniture, the floor or under the bed. Keep bags as far away from the bed as possible. Whatever you’re not wearing or using, keep sealed in your luggage or zip lock bags. Plastic bags of all sizes are things that you should permanently put on your travel packing list. You can use them to store your luggage or other belongings so that bed bugs cannot penetrate your things and end up going home with you.
You should take your laundry out of your luggage and bring it inside in a plastic bag or basket. It should all be laundered and then dried for at least 20 minutes on the hottest dryer setting past the normal drying time.