One of America’s most prevalent pest problems is bed bug infestation. Unfortunately, regardless of where you go and stay or how clean your house is, your home is still susceptible to these tiny nocturnal creatures that consume human blood in order to survive. This parasitical tendency of bed bugs cause people to suffer from extremely itchy reddish bite marks depriving their victims of a good night’s sleep.
Another propensity of bed bugs is hitchhiking. Because of their very minute size, bed bugs usually go unnoticed when they crawl on our belongings including hand bags, suitcases, clothes, and other materials made of fabric. This makes it easier for these pesky pests to transfer to and spread in other places besides our own bedroom.
How Do We Get Bed Bugs?
People who travel a lot at times get bed bugs from the hotel or motel rooms they are staying. Consequently, they unknowingly carry the disgusting critters back home after their trip. Once these pests have found settlement inside your bedroom undetected, they can multiply their numbers in no time and the last thing you know, your house is already crawling with these bugs.
Prevention Tips for Travelers
Travelling is supposed to be fun and refreshing to one’s body, mind, and soul. Of course, you can’t afford to have your vacation ruined due to the disturbance caused by these tiny bloodsuckers. Thus, to avoid bed bugs while you are out on the road, you need to take note of these few practical tips:
Upon entering your hotel room, avoid placing your luggage on the bed, on the floor, or right next to the wall.
If the bed, floor, or walls have bed bugs on them, then these ectoparasites can easily lodge into your suitcase. The best move would be to elevate your luggage by putting it on a metal luggage rack. However, you have to keep the luggage rack away from the bed or wall.
Thoroughly inspect, preferably with a flashlight, the hotel bed and other potential hiding areas for telltale signs of bed bugs.
Start by pulling back the bed sheets and then by checking the mattress’ sides and seams, pillows, bed frame, box spring, headboard, and other parts of the bed especially the ones with cracks and holes. Also look into any furniture, particularly upholstered ones, and those items that are in close proximity to the bed (i.e. chair, sofa, lamp, mirrors, bookshelves, drapes, picture frames, and objects on the wall). Once you see dark brown or black spots (bed bug feces), blood stains, exoskeletons, eggs, and even a single live bug on those areas or items, it is clear there is plenty more of the pests around. You should also be mindful of that offensive musty odor lingering in the room. If you perceive these indications of bed bug activity, then you should consider transferring to another establishment or another room well away from the infested one.
- Pack your clothes, shoes, toiletries, and other travel necessities in sealable plastic bags during the trip and open the plastic bags only when necessary. This is one precautionary measure that prevents those sneaky pests from getting into your belongings.
- Enclose your suitcase in a plastic trash bag to thwart the bed bugs.
During your entire travel prior to your journey back home, it is better to wrap your suitcase with a protective cover like a plastic trash bag to block pest entry. This way, you can prevent bed bugs from hitchhiking into your belongings and being brought home as souvenirs.
- When returning home, leave and unpack your luggage in outdoor spaces like the garage or storage room. This is to keep the bed bugs from gaining access to the interior parts of your household. Keeping your suitcases outside also exposes the bugs to temperatures that are beyond their level of tolerance.
- Wash your clothes using hot water and leave them in the dryer for at least 20 minutes. This technique is proven to exterminate bed bugs. Note: Wash all washable items you have brought during your travel including those unworn or unused clothes.
- Steam or vacuum your suitcases before you put them back to the storage.
Vacuum cleaning effectively sucks all lurking undetected bed bugs hiding in your luggage. Steaming also helps kill the bugs as these pests can’t stand too much heat.
As you finally go on a holiday, be sure to keep these tips in mind so you can avoid getting in contact with these nocturnal pests. When you suspect your hotel room has bed bugs, don’t hesitate to inform the hotel management about the problem. Hotels each have their distinct protocols regarding pest control in case a bed bug heat treatment or chemical treatment is called for. Surely, they also have contacts with a trusted bed bug exterminator. Coordinating with the right personnel is imperative so you, being the hotel guest, can immediately transfer to a much safer room or to another hotel.