Bedbugs: how do I make sure they don't come back?

Once the infestation is under control, the following tips will help prevent their return:

  • Avoid moving to another bedroom. While you may feel a strong need to do so, surviving bedbugs could tag along which might lead to another infestation. Instead, continue to use the same bedroom, monitor carefully and often for any surviving bedbugs, and take the steps below to protect yourself from being bitten.
  • Completely enclose your mattress and box spring in zippered bed encasements available from allergy or pest control supply companies. Put duct tape over the zipper, because zippers have a space where bedbugs can enter or escape. Mattresses can also be wrapped and sealed in plastic film. As long as the encasement stays intact (no rips or holes), the bedbugs will not be able to get through it to bite you and will eventually die. It is a good practice to keep the mattress enclosed this way for a full year.
  • Coat bed legs with double-sided carpet tape or petroleum jelly, or place the legs of the bed in leg protectors or glass jars with a bit of baby powder to trap the bedbugs on their way up or down the bed leg. Commercially available bed leg interceptors are available and are a way to detect bedbugs.
  • Use white or light-coloured sheets. This makes it easier to spot them.
  • Remove headboards completely.
  • Paint existing wood furniture (including baby cribs) white for easier detection. (Use only paint that is safe for use on baby furniture.)
  • Replace upholstered furniture with metal or plastic, or material that can easily be cleaned with soap and water.
  • Vacuum daily. For the first few weeks, even after you no longer see any bedbugs, throw out the vacuum bag right away, like you did during the treatment phase.
  • Look for new infestations on a regular basis.

For more information on pesticide use and regulation, contact Health Canada's Pest Management Information Service.

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