Here are the tips from the NPMA, with some commentary from our experts:

1) Know the signs—Signs of a bed bug infestation include black spots between mattresses and in crevices.  Remember that even if bugs are biting you, it takes 7-10 days for welts to appear, if ever.  You might not know you have bed bugs until the infestation has taken root.

2) Change your linens often—This gives you a chance to inspect your sleeping area and nip an infestation in the bud.

3) Inspect hotel rooms before you unpack—Give yourself the opportunity to avoid bringing any bed bugs home by checking as soon as you arrive for signs of bed bugs.  You can change rooms or even hotels if you are uncomfortable with what you find.

4) Check your luggage when you get home—It’s a good idea to take a look at the clothes you packed before you bring them in the house and put them straight into the wash.  A hot dryer will kill any bed bug you might have missed!

5) Examine furniture before bringing it in—Even new furniture can be infested.  There have been well-documented infestations in furniture stores in New York and other major cities.  Be even more careful with used furniture, whether bought or found.

6) New clothes—Check anything you buy at the store just in case.  You don’t want to take any chances.

7) Keep your suitcase off the floor—Bed bugs can be found in carpets even if beds and chairs appear clean.  The best place for your suitcase is on the tile in the bathroom or the luggage rack.

8) Declutter your home—It’s much easier to know when a pest enters your home if you can see flat surfaces!

9) Avoid denial—If you suspect a bed bug infestation, don’t ignore it or put it out of your mind.  The earlier you catch these bugs, the easier they are to eradicate.  Don’t go sleep in another room—they will follow you by the carbon dioxide you exhale!

10) Call in a professional—Do-it-yourself treatments for bed bugs don’t work and can be dangerous, causing reactions and even death if pesticides are not used according to directions and safety precautions.  Insecticide treatments never work with only one treatment and introduce chemicals into your home that are not good for your indoor environment.

Alliance Environmental Group uses ThermaPureHeat(r) to treat bed bug infestations, raising the interior temperature of an area, apartment, home or other structure to over 140°, killing bed bugs at all stages of development in one treatment, without the need to bag food, wash linens or move out for days.  If you suspect you have a bed bug infestation, contact us for an inspection.

Bed bugs are not the end of the world!  It only feels that way!  Stay calm and call in a knowledgeable expert to help you get rid of them and you will have a happy and relaxed holiday season!

Wendy Stackhouse is the Online Community Manager for Alliance Environmental Group and AirTek Indoor Air Solutions.  She welcomes your comments!  For more news and tips or to ask questions of our experts, Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!  For updates on indoor air challenges, Like us at AirTek on Facebook!