Tip 1- Always inspect your sleeping area– the best preventative measure is to inspect the area in and around one’s bed before unpacking. Remember, bed bugs are active at night- they hide during the daytime. The places most often inhabited by bed bugs include: the creases of the mattress, crevices within the bed frame and headboard, cracks within the floor, and behind pictures or other wall hangings. Look for tiny black spots (excrement) which are smaller than poppy seeds, rusty or redish stains on bed linen, translucent light brown skins (bugs shed their skins), or live bugs (bed bugs are oval, brown and flat- they can be ¼” to about 3/8” long).
Tip 2- Pre-treat your gear and outerwear with a bed bug repellent- Permethrin is by far the most popular bed bug repellent (google it to find out more). Permethrin can be used to pre-treat sleeping bags/liners, back packs, fitted sheets, and clothing. It is safe and pre-treatment can withstand many launderings.
There are other precautions one can take to avoid bed bugs, with varying degrees of effectiveness and practicality in our view. These include storing one’s gear away from sleeping areas (not always possible), spraying one’s bed with insect repellent (which could be irritating to others and may not have an effect on the bed bugs anyway) and purchasing a so called “bed bug proof” sleeping sack (which is typically made of a heavier more tightly woven fabric and still offers no guarantee the bugs will not crawl through the opening at the top).
Have a suggestion on how to avoid bed bugs? Have an experience to share? Please leave a comment.