Prevent Bringing Bed Bugs Home with You by Inspecting Rooms
If you’re sleeping anywhere other than your own home, be on the lookout for bed bugs. Their prevalence is on the rise, especially in hotels.
If bed bugs find their way into your suitcase(s) or your clothing and follow you home, it can be quite costly for you to eliminate the infestation.
How to Prevent Bed Bugs
While traveling, our minds are often consumed with a checklist of items that need to be packed, tickets that need to be printed, and wondering if the weather will have an impact on the itinerary.
But there is also something many travelers don’t think about once they check into their hotel room — checking for bed bugs. Keep these tips in mind so this unwelcome pest doesn’t hitch a ride home with you from your hotel.
“Hotels which have mattress encasements on the mattress and box spring is a good indication bed bugs were a problem or concern. No hotel spends the money on these covers just for the sake of it. Plus, the dust residue of a previous treatment helps to solidify bed bugs were once here,” explained Paul Dube, A.C.E. of Catseye Pest Control.
1. Store Your Luggage
After arriving in a hotel room after a long day of travel, our first inclination is to set luggage on the floor or spare bed.
Until you have thoroughly inspected the room, it is best to store your belongings in the bathroom, more specifically, the tub.
Bed bugs are commonly found hiding in the crevices and creases of mattresses, box springs, headboards, and can also be found in the creases of any furniture in the room. They prefer environments like these because it creates a better place to hide, as opposed to tile floors, which would leave them exposed.
2. Inspect the Bed
Bed bugs are small, oval-shaped bugs that range from brown to reddish-purple-brown in color.
Pull back the bed linens to inspect the mattress, box spring, and headboard — use a flashlight to inspect these areas closely. Be sure to pay special attention to the corners and seams of the bedding as bed bugs prefer to hide in these spots.
Keep an eye out for blood stains and small, black dots that look like mold or black pepper. If you spot anything that looks suspicious, be sure to alert the hotel staff immediately.
If you do spot a bed bug, do not switch to an adjacent room. Bed bugs can be easily transferred via housekeeping carts.
3. Check Surrounding Areas
After checking the bed, broaden your search to surrounding areas in the hotel room.
Bed bugs will routinely travel within a 15- to 20-foot radius around their hiding spot. Check seat cushions, seams of soft chairs, and the closet floor if it’s carpeted.
For the duration of your visit, use luggage racks, dressers, or table tops to store your luggage rather than the floor. Storing suitcases in a plastic bag or protective cover is an added level of protection that can defend against a bed bug infestation.
4. Post-Vacation Precautions
Bed bugs cannot survive in extreme temperatures, especially heat.
Once you return home, it’s essential to wash the clothing you took on the trip — even the items you didn’t wear — in hot water. Items that can’t be machine-washed should be brought to a dry cleaner.
You should also take a few minutes to vacuum the suitcases that were used for the trip. Once they have been cleaned, it is ideal to store the suitcases in an area away from your bedroom, such as a basement or garage.
If any bed bugs made their way into your belongings, these practices will help to prevent the pest from infesting your home.
5. Professional Bed Bug Treatment
If you’ve taken special precaution to avoid bed bugs during your travels, but you have spotted them in your home, it’s time to contact a pest control specialist.
Using specialized equipment will allow them to eliminate the pest from your home completely and safely.
Bed bug treatments can be tedious, difficult, and dangerous if not done correctly. Improper treatment can make bed bugs move to other areas of the house, making the problem worse.
As soon as you see signs of bed bugs, it’s imperative to contact a team of professionals.