Most people become hyper-vigilant about bed bugs after they've had their home treated for an infestation. Those gross little bloodsuckers can turn your life upside down if they invade your space, so it's normal to feel a little paranoid after you've had your home treated.
Here are 3 ways to keep your home bed bug free after treatment:
Set up a quarantine area.
Bed bugs are picked up nearly everywhere. You can take all the precautions you'd like with your luggage in a hotel room, but your suitcase may still become infested in the cargo hold of the plane or taxi you ride home. Office furniture, wall hangings, and bus seats are perfect hiding spots for bed bugs. Be ready for them with an inspection/confinement area.
After you have your property treated, set up a quarantine zone to inspect items brought from outside. In the home, this might be located in the garage or laundry room. Lay a large sheet of clear plastic film on the floor or counter, and set luggage, small furniture, backpacks, or old boxes on the plastic. Use a flashlight to inspect crevices of items for signs of bedbugs.
Keep tools close at hand in the quarantine room.
There should be a vacuum cleaner in the quarantine room to immediately slurp up any insects found in materials or trying to escape on the plastic. A steam cleaner is another option to have available, as you can use it to heat treat the individual items. Just be sure to adjust the steamer to diffuse the spray so it doesn't blast bedbugs all over the room.
If you find a highly infested item, pull the corners of the plastic sheet up around the item and wrap it securely, fastening the gathered area with zip ties or tape to be sure there are no gaps. You'll need to decide how to process these items. Bedbugs can live up to 70 days without feeding, so don't open that plastic until you've figured out how to proceed. You may want to have items sprayed with insecticide or further steam-cleaned, but they won't present a risk to the rest of your home as long as you keep them wrapped up until you decide.
Use new tools and techniques.
At home, have smooth-sided laundry baskets for family members to use, and ask that everyone remove outdoor clothes in the laundry room upon entering the home. Fresh clothes should then be put on before going into any living spaces. This is especially important if anyone attends a school or works in a location where bed bugs are an ongoing problem.
Encourage everyone to leave their shoes in a shallow pan of diatomaceous earth (DE) you have set up near your front door. Your quarantine room, the perimeter around your bed, and the carpet in your car should also be dusted with DE, since it helps repel and kill the insidious bedbugs.
If your property was infested around light fixtures, wall switches and outlets, this means the bedbugs had pathways behind your walls along wiring and possibly plumbing. Cut the power to each room and remove switch and outlet plates one by one, dusting the insides with DE (you can use a special little blower that will force the DE into the wall to cover a larger area) which will prevent the re-use of that hidden highway. Be sure to use the correct type of food-grade DE, and always wear a mask to protect your lungs from the dust.
Look for newer gross-busting tools including special small heat-treating units that sanitize luggage and purses, dissolving laundry bags that let you throw contaminated laundry into the washer without unbagging it, and more eco-friendly options in pesticides. If you have any questions, contact companies, like Arab Termite and Pest Control.