Traveling and Bed Bugs: What You Need to Know Now
As you sleep, it crawls onto your body and with a sudden vicious thrust, sinks its sharp proboscis into you and begins to drink your blood. Sound like the stuff of horror films and childhood nightmares? It’s too bad that it isn’t. Instead, it describes a bed bug attack. Before you think, “Whoa, I don’t have bed bugs,” take a moment to consider how you’re spending your summer vacation time. Taking any trips? Traveling and bed bugs go hand in hand; even if you don’t have any bed bug issues at your house right now, taking the right steps to prevent them after your summer travels is key to making that a continuing reality at your house.
Bed Bugs and Hotels – An Ongoing Problem
Hotels are among the top three places pest control experts find bed bugs. Even if you’re visiting a well-known brand, it’s tough to make sure that it is bed bug-free. After all, just a guest or two before you could have left bed bugs behind in a room, leaving you vulnerable to an infestation in your own luggage. Fortunately, bed bug prevention in this setting just takes a few extra steps.
- Use the Right Luggage: You may not realize it, but making the right luggage choice can actually prevent bed bugs. Consider hard-sided luggage without zippers. Bed bugs like cloth choices and they’re small enough that they can fit through many zippers, so consider upgrading your luggage.
- Avoid the Floor: If it’s possible, don’t put your luggage on the floor when you enter a hotel room. Instead, place your suitcase on a metal luggage rack for the duration of your stay. You may even want to seal your luggage in a plastic luggage bag made just to prevent bed bug infestations. If you do, though, be sure that you leave it sealed the entire time you’re in the hotel and that you avoid leaving any items of clothing on the floor for the bed bugs to infest before you put them back in your suitcase.
- Do a Thorough Inspection: As soon as you arrive in your hotel room, you’ll want to completely inspect it. Start with the mattress. Pull the sheet aside if it’s possible. Look around the headboard, too, as well as the dresser. Use the flashlight on your phone if the room isn’t well lit. You’re looking for any evidence of bed bugs during this inspection, including tiny black spots on any of the linens or any skin castings, which will be brown and translucent. You may also want to look for live bed bugs. If you find anything, ask for a different room or change hotels.
- Check for Bites: One way to make certain you aren’t toting bed bugs home with you is to check for bed bug bites before you go home. Bed bugs bite in a line pattern, often in a series of three. If you see any unexpected bites, carefully follow the after-trip protocol below.
After Your Trip
While the concern is actually picking the bed bugs up while you’re away, the reality is that they won’t come into your house unless you bring your luggage in, and that makes understanding the process of bed bugs removal absolutely key. Don’t bring your luggage inside your home the moment you return from your trip. Instead, do a careful scan of your luggage while you’re still outside. Whether that means in the driveway or in your garage, don’t bring in your luggage until you’re satisfied there are no bed bugs with it. Look through every item in your suitcase one by one, then take it all of your clothing directly to your washing machine. If possible, launder it in hot water, then dry it using high heat to kill any bed bugs that might have come home with you. You’ll also want to carefully vacuum your suitcase before you bring it inside the house to ensure bed bugs aren’t hiding in the crevices.
Worried you may have picked up bed bugs while you were on vacation this year? Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you eliminate them from your home.