Got bed bugs? Make your bed an island

Isolate your bed to keep bed bugs from biting.

It can be extremely stressful to live with bed bugs. Michigan State University Extension recommends isolating your bed in order to get a decent night’s sleep without worrying about being bitten. When you are well rested, you will be more effective at ridding the rest of your home of bugs.

Isolating your bed is a two-part process: First you remove all of the bed bugs that are living in your bed, and then install barriers to prevent other bed bugs from getting onto the bed. Once these two goals have been accomplished, your bed will be an “island” where you can sleep without being bitten.

It is usually not necessary to discard mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and other items if you have bed bugs. These items can usually be encased or treated. Inspect and clean the bed frame and headboard or footboard to eliminate any bed bugs or eggs. Encase your mattress and box spring with zippered encasements. If you can’t afford to buy encasements designed for bed bugs, then any zippered encasement will work as long as you put duct tape over the whole zipper. Encasements keep the bed bugs that are outside your mattress from getting in, and keep the bed bugs already inside your mattress from getting out and biting you.

Move the bed away from the wall, so that bed bugs can’t get onto the bed by climbing up the wall. Put cups, bowls or store bought interceptor devices under all of the legs of your bed. Dust the insides of the bowls or interceptors with talcum powder. For platform beds you can put a long piece of double-sided carpet tape all the way around the outside of the bed. This is intended to prevent bed bugs from crawling up onto your bed from the ground.

Launder all of your bedding (or at least tumble in the dryer on medium or high heat for 30 minutes). When you put it back on your bed, make sure it does not hang over onto the floor, or bed bugs may be able to climb up the bedding onto your bed.

MSU Extension has partnered with the Michigan Department of Community Health to address the bed bug issue. For information on how to prevent or treat bed bug infestations, visit the Michigan Department of Community Health website, www.michigan.gov/bedbugs.

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