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Bed Bugs at Camp? Prevention Tips for Vacation


Bed bugs are a nightmare wherever you encounter them, but finding them when you travel, especially during vacation or at summer camp, can be a terrifying experience. Once you see bed bugs, the chances are incredibly high that you’ll bring them back home, and then you’ll have to learn how to get rid of them. Is there anything you can do the moment you see them to end your fears? Start with a good bed bugs removal plan plan by learning more about how to prevent them from traveling home with you.

Where Can Bed Bugs Be Found on Vacation?

The first step before going on vacation is to learn a bit more about where you might encounter bed bugs. It was once thought that you might only find bed bugs in cheap, dirty hotels or at summer camp cabins. That’s just no longer true. Bed bugs are absolutely everywhere these days. You might find them in a really nice hotel. You might even find them at a relative’s home. The truth is that that bed bugs can be almost anywhere and knowing how to spot them is important.

Signs of Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are usually about the size and shape of an apple seed. Often, you’ll find tiny brown or black stains on the bed if there are bugs. You will usually find these in the crevices of the mattress. Keep in mind that the evidence of a bed bug is typically very small, so you’ll have to look closely at the sheets and the mattress.

How Bed Bugs Travel

Bed bugs can crawl from place to place, but given their size, it will take them a very long time to get from point A to point B. At most this may get them from one room to another. But how on earth do bed bugs get from one home to another? Or from a hotel in Germany to your home in Worcester?  

The answer is that bed bugs are hitchhikers. A location doesn’t need to be dirty or otherwise what people typically expect when it comes to a bed bug problem. Even five-star hotels have reported a bed bug issue now and then. This is because a few bed bugs might tag along on someone’s clothing or their luggage and end up in the hotel. Then the next person to stay in that room before the bed bugs are noticed may have a few hitch a ride out of the hotel and to their next destination.

Finding Out Where Bed Bugs Came From

Chances are you won’t find out where the bugs came from, unless you were in a single hotel or camp cabin and nothing else. It may be that you were on an airplane and a few bed bugs that fell off at one point lingered in the seat and decided to hang onto your clothing until you got home. Hotels and others places do what they can to keep bed bugs out of their rooms, but because bed bugs can be elusive, this isn’t always 100% possible.

5 Tips on Handling Clothes for Vacation

Suitcases and clothing are main attractors for bed bugs. Taking the necessary precautions for these items will lead to the highest chances of success when it comes to avoiding bed bugs. Here are some tips on how to handle your suitcase and clothing for vacation:

  1. Keep your baggage off the floor or even store it in the bathroom.
  2. You can also consider changing suitcase types. Hard-sided suitcases are well suited to travel these days, as there’s no place for a bed bug to hide.
  3. Make sure any clothing you pack can be washed at a high temperature and put through the dryer, too.
  4. Leave your luggage in the garage when you return home. Take all articles of clothing directly to the washer.
  5. Vacuum out the empty suitcase to make certain no little critters made it home with you.

Why Bed Bugs are a Problem at Summer Camp

Bed bugs at summer camp are a problem because bed bugs will hitch rides home in suitcases, duffle bags, backpacks, in clothes, and even in books you bring to camp. They’re tiny and can breed an infestation once they reach your home without you even noticing.

Chances are, the first time you’ll suspect there are bed bugs will be weeks later, when you’re wondering how you got a series of bites in your sleep. Bed bugs come out at night and bite in rows as they travel, feeding on your blood. They’re extremely difficult to find because they’re exceptionally small, hide out of sight, and avoid the light.

Summer Camps Use the Same Locations

Bed bugs and camp are a problem because many groups of people will use the same camp location time after time. From cabins to colleges, they may see numerous groups use their facilities each summer. Bed bugs can survive the laundry and thorough cleaning processes. So it may not be all the camp’s fault if there’s an infestation. A single camper who brings in a bed bug infestation may lead to several rooms being infested and several children taking those infestations home with them.

3 Additional Tips for Preventing Bed Bugs at Summer Camp

Vacations are one thing, but summer camps can be another beast. Having kids from a variety of locations congregate in one place leaves many opportunities for others to carry bed bugs into a cabin. Here are some extra tips on giving your child the best chance of leaving bed bugs outside of your home:

  1. Before you ever send your child to camp, ask camp administrators if they’ve ever had a bed bug problem in the past. If they have, be certain to ask about how it was treated.
  2. If you drop your child off in his or her cabin, dorm, or room, inspect the area for bed bugs on your own. Look at the mattress, in the cracks and crevices, and behind the headboard. If you spot any problem areas, be sure to report it immediately. If you won’t actually be in your child’s sleeping area before camp begins, teach your child how to look for bed bugs.
  3. Have your child store his or her suitcase in a plastic bag to keep bed bugs out of the luggage before camp is finished.

How to Address Bed Bugs on Vacation

If you suspect bed bugs on vacation, address it immediately. Have the location you stayed get in touch with a pest control specialist that addresses bed bug infestations – not all companies do. If an infestation has been taken home, call a pest control specialist like Ransford. Bed bugs can be eliminated, but they require a few treatments and the process must be thorough.

Bed bugs and vacation destinations are old friends, so it doesn’t hurt to check the corners of the mattresses when you arrive, and to inspect clothing on return. These aren’t guaranteed ways of spotting bed bugs, but they can increase your chances of spotting bed bugs. You can then deal with it before it becomes an infestation and huge problem for you and your family.

Don’t Fear Vacations  

This doesn’t mean you should be worried every time you go on vacation. Quality hotels and summer camps should have regular pest inspections and do everything they can to make sure their rooms are pest-free. If you do discover bed bugs have come home with you or you child, don’t panic. Simply contact a bed bug pest control company and get them taken care of as quickly as possible. With environmentally safe products and years of experience, they should be able to get bed bugs out of your home and leave you comfortable once again.

Bed bug pest control is far worse than prevention. This vacation, avoid the bed bug removal process. Take a few precautionary measures so your gift to yourself isn’t to have to get rid of bed bugs. If you do run into the dreaded bed bug infestation, call Ransford Pest Control at 508-756-5197 for help.

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