Prevention through education is the best way to avoid the spread of bed bugs from household to household.  Whether you wish to avoid initial bed bug encounters or if you wish to prevent a reoccurrence, there are things you can do to decrease the likelihood of bringing bed bugs into your home


Secondhand furnishings:

Check secondhand furniture, beds, and couches for any signs of bed bug infestation before bringing them home.  This includes furnishings from rent-to-own stores or refurbished furnishings.  Mattresses sold with a clear plastic cover over it does not necessarily mean it's new.  The price should be an indicator as to whether it is refurbished.



Using protective covers that encases your mattresses and box springs have been shown to eliminate bed bug hiding places and make bed bugs easier to see. Be sure to purchase a quality product that that will resist tearing and have a specially designed zipper closure.



Bed bugs prefer out of the way areas to molt, digest their blood meal, and reproduce. Keeping clutter to a minimum reduces the number of hiding areas.  Less clutter also makes inspection easier and control methods more efficient.  Consider using plastic bins with lids to store items and sealable bags for small items and plush toys.



Be vigilant when using shared laundry facilities. Transport items to be washed in plastic bags (if you have an active infestation, use a new bag for the journey home). Remove from dryer directly into bag and fold at home. (A dryer on high heat can kill bed bugs.)



Sealing cracks and crevices around baseboards, light sockets, etc., will discourage movement through wall voids and reduce harborage.  Bed bugs love to hide behind baseboards.






Having a conversation about bed bug with houseguests can be tricky.  Just remember that bed bugs are notorious hitchhikers;  jackets, coats, household belongings, suitcases, purses, shoes, etc. are just some of their transportation vehicles.



When traveling yourself, be sure to take a few minutes to inspect the room you'll be staying in for any signs of bed bugs and inspect your luggage before you reenter your home.



Michigan Manual for the Prevention and Control of Bed Bugs
United States Environmental Protection Agency