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Five Tips to Keep the Bed Bugs Away

I’ve dealt with lice, but I’ve heard that nits are nothing compared with bed bugs. Once they make their way into your home, they’re quite determined to stick around.

Bed bugs are now a nationwide epidemic. According to the Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite Act of 2009, bedbug populations have increased by 500 percent in recent years — they can be found everywhere from homes, cruise ships, dormitories, hotels, retail stores and daycare centers. Freaked out yet? There’s more.

In New York, downtown branches of stores such as Abercrombie and Fitch and Hollister have been temporarily shuttered to decontaminate after infestations. Kings County Hospital briefly closed a triage ward after a patient brought in bed bugs, according to NBC New York.

The scary thing about bed bugs is how fast they reproduce. Female bedbugs can lay up to 5 eggs in a day and 500 during a lifetime. Plus, the little buggers are hard to kill and professional bed bug services are pricey. Friends of mine had a bed bug-sniffingn dog (who knew there was such a thing?) check their apartment when they feared a possible infestation. Lucky for them, it was a false alarm.

Is there anything you could do to avoid bed bugs? I’ve done some research and here’s what I’ve come up with:

Five Ways to Keep the Bed Bugs Away

1. Don’t buy or inherit used furniture.

2. After buying new or used clothes, throw them into a high heat dryer.

3. Limit clutter so bed bugs have fewer places to hide.

4. Inspect luggage and clothing after a hotel stay. You might want to wash clothes when you arrive home (and put in a high heat dryer) just to be safe.

5.Consider encasing your mattress and box spring in a special bug-proof cover.

Of course, there’s no way to guarantee that you won’t get bed bugs, but if you follow these tips, you’ll hopefully be saving your family from these persistent blood suckers.

Do you have any tips for avoiding or getting rid of bed bugs? Please share!

Photo: flickr/ooh food

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