Preventing bites

  • Cover up. Because bedbugs don't tend to burrow under clothing, you may be able to avoid bites by wearing pajamas that cover as much skin as possible.
  • Mosquito netting. Some studies indicate that bed nets impregnated with the pesticide permethrin may help protect sleepers against bedbug bites. However, this practice may be helping bedbugs develop resistance to this pesticide.

Preventing infestations

  • Secondhand items. Inspect used mattresses or upholstered furniture carefully before bringing them into your home.
  • Hotel precautions. Check mattress seams for bedbug excrement and place your luggage on tables or dressers instead of on the floor.
  • Birds and bats. Eliminate any neighboring bird and bat habitats that may serve as a refuge for bedbugs.

Insect repellents designed to protect against mosquitos or ticks aren't very effective against bedbugs.

Feb. 16, 2012