Bed bugs have quickly become the pest of concern across the nation. They are small reddish-brown insects about 3/16 of an inch in size (approximately the size of an apple seed) that feed on the blood of human hosts. They can be in hotels, transportation like taxi cabs, airplanes, trains, and buses; even places like movie theaters and department stores. They don’t care if it’s a five-star hotel or a one-star hotel, or how clean an area is. They can infest any type of indoor area.
So how do you get bed bugs? By being in any of these places you can get bed bugs, but there are tips and tricks to avoiding them that you should know. Bed bug bites can affect all people differently but typically they are on your upper body area and look like red mosquito or spider bites and can become very itchy for some people. If you are concerned you may have bed bugs seek the help of a professional pest management company that has experience and training in bed bug control.
Travelers’ tips to prevent bed bugs from coming home with you:
- Travel with duffle bag style luggage. These bags have minimal seams (i.e., hiding places for bugs) and can be laundered easily if infested.
- When checking in to a hotel, leave your possessions in your car. First, go to your room and inspect the mattress (remove bedding), box springs (top and bottom), the bed frame and where the frame meets the floor, headboards (many headboards attached to the wall are removable), baseboards, furniture, and pictures near the bed.
- Examine all surfaces for signs of an infestation, such as tiny rust-colored spots or fecal spotting.
- Bed bugs typically come out in the early morning hours to feed, but during the day they will usually hide within a 5-foot radius of the bed.
- Plastic bedbug-proof encasements are available for your luggage.
- Place your luggage as far away from the bed area as possible and avoid putting it on the floor. It is best to elevate it off the floor or put it in an area with hard surfaces such as the bathroom.
- Upon waking, thoroughly check the pillowcases and bedding for bed bug fecal spots (will look like small, dark blotches of ink). If you see spots, assume your room has bed bugs and that they are in your possessions.
- Carefully inspect your luggage when repacking and when you return home. Always keep luggage off of the bed and store it in an area beside your bedroom.
- Place all your clothing and duffle bag immediately in the dryer for at least 15 minutes at the highest setting upon returning home from travel. The heat from drying will kill any bugs or eggs.