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How to Prevent Bed Bugs

If your neighbours have bed bugs, these unwelcome pests could get into your home, too! Prevent bed bugs in your house or apartment, with these handy tips.


how to prevent bed bugs

No one wants a colony of bed bugs moving in next door but if you live in an apartment building and your neighbours have bed bugs, there’s a chance you might find these unwelcome pests in your own home! Luckily, just a few simple steps can help toward the prevention of bed bugs – and stop them settling in your home in the future.

Never use bed bug pesticides on beds or bedding unless it’s a product specifically recommended for that. If in doubt, ask the advice of a pest control expert.

What are Bed Bugs?

Bed bugs are small, orange parasites which feed on blood from humans and other animals.  They are not dangerous to people, but their bites can produce a red, itchy welt. They are typically found in and around beds in homes, as they are attracted by body heat and carbon dioxide, but they can infest other items of furniture as well. They spread by crawling through cracks and spaces in between walls, which is why they can become a problem in buildings with multiple occupancy, such as apartment blocks.

prevent bed bugs

How to Avoid Beg Bugs by Making a Detector

If you think you already have bed bugs, early detection can mean the problem is much easier to deal with and can prevent bed bugs setting up in your home in larger numbers. Bed bug detectors or ‘interceptors’ are available to buy, but you can also make an effective device cheaply and easily yourself.

You will need:

  • A small round plastic container, that’s big enough to fit under your furniture legs

  • A larger plastic container, such as a Tupperware box that fits the smaller container inside it

  • Masking or rough-sided tape

  • Glue


  1. Apply four strips of tape to the inside of the small container, so that they reach up to the sides.

  2. Next, cover the outside of the larger container with tape, right up to the top edge.

  3. Cover the bottom of the small container with glue and stick inside the larger one.

  4. Dust the outer sides of the small container and the inner sides of the larger with talcum powder. The tape will mean bed bugs (if you have any) will be able to get in, but the talc will make the other sides slippery enough that they can’t get out again.

  5. Move your bed away from any walls, and make sure no bedding is touching the floor or other furniture. Place a detector like this under each of your bed legs.

What To Do if You Discover Bed Bugs

If you discover bed bugs in the inner container, the bugs are present in your bed. Bed bugs in the outer container means that you have them elsewhere in your home.

  • Small numbers of bed bugs can be treated with a bed bug spray, available online or from hardware stores.

  • Larger numbers should be dealt with by a reputable pest control company.

With these tips, fighting bed bugs will be much more manageable. If you are concerned about a widespread problem or infestation, then remember to always consult professionals.

Preventing Bed Bugs Spreading Between Homes

If you suspect there is a bed bug problem in your building, request an inspection of all communal areas by a reputable pest control company. If you rent your house or apartment, ask your landlord to arrange an inspection.

You can help learn how to avoid bed bugs and stop them spreading by following these tips:

  • Be careful when using communal facilities, such as a laundry room. Don’t put your washing down on any surfaces, and always run a hot wash, as cold water washing doesn’t always get rid of bed bugs.

  • Prevent bed bugs getting in through cracks or crevices with a product containing ‘diatomaceous earth dust’ which is deadly to the bugs. Apply the dust anywhere there’s a gap in your walls or skirting boards, such as behind power outlets, the gaps around heating and water pipes, and around telephone cables.

  • Afterwards, plug these gaps and crevices with a reliable sealant, or hire a contractor to do the job.

  • Buy beds with metal or synthetic frames. Bed bugs are attracted to wooden frames rather than metal, so this is an easy way to learn how to avoid bed bugs.

  • Wrap your mattresses in plastic covers to prevent bed bugs getting inside or, to stop any bugs inside being able to reach your skin.

  • Vacuum all areas in your apartment or house regularly, sealing and disposing of the vacuum bag away from your building.

Originally published