Bed bugs are minute insects that feast on the blood of unfortunate sleepers. The results of the bites are skin rashes that can be extremely itchy. If one is planning on traveling for a holiday or business trip, it is best to avoid coming into contact with these pests as getting rid of bed bugs can be labor, monetary and time intensive. The following are some useful tips that one can use to prevent bringing bed bugs home while traveling:
Always Google your hotel name along with the word “bed bugs.” This would inform you if there have been complaints from other travelers about bed bugs in the hotel on TripAdvisor.com, if you get a match, it shouldn’t completely dissuade you from staying somewhere. Just make sure to ask for a room that has never had a problem or that has been thoroughly treated.
Invest in hard sided luggage. If bed bugs come home with you, they are most likely on your luggage. And apparently, they love to attach themselves to the seams and zippers of soft sided suitcases.
Spray your luggage with bed bug deterrent spray before you travel. These help to keep bugs away.
Check Your Room. If you don’t want to let the bedbugs bite, thoroughly inspect your room for signs of infestation. Henriksen advises placing your luggage in the bathroom when you first arrive in your hotel room, because there’s no place for bedbugs to hide in most bathrooms. Next, says Henriksen, “Pull back the sheets and inspect the mattress seams, particularly at the corners, for pepper-like stains or spots or even the bugs themselves. Adult bedbugs resemble a flat apple seed.” Also look behind the headboard, inside chair and couch cushions, behind picture frames, and around electrical outlets. If you see anything suspicious, notify management and change rooms (or better yet, establishments) immediately.
Request A Different Room. If you do have to change rooms, don’t move to a room adjacent to or directly above or below the site of the bedbug infestation. “Bedbugs can easily hitchhike via housekeeping carts and luggage or even through wall sockets,” notes Henriksen. “If an infestation is spreading, it typically does so in the rooms closest to the origin.”
Cover Your Bags. Even if you don’t see any signs of bedbugs, you should still take precautions. Never place luggage on a hotel bed or floor. Use luggage racks if available, and place your suitcase in a protective cover. Even a plastic trash bag will suffice.
Keep Everything Off the Floor. Despite the name, bedbugs lurk in many spots, not just where you sleep. Always be vigilant when you travel. Avoid putting your personal belongings on the floor of an airplane, bus, train, or taxi. Keep your small bag or purse on your lap at all times, and seal your bigger bags inside plastic or protective covers before checking or storing them in overhead bins.
Make sure your apartment or house isn’t bed bug friendly. Also, avoid storing stuff under your bed, unless they are in tightly sealed, plastic containers. Throw out excess cardboard and paper—bed bugs apparently love to hide there. And bookshelves, CD towers, etc, are safer to have in another room.
Treat Your Luggage and Clothes After Travel: the following checklist will help to make sure you leave the bedbugs behind:
• Inspect your suitcases before bringing them into the house, and steam and vacuum all luggage before storing it. You can also use a hand dryer for this.
• Immediately wash and dry all of your clothes—even those that have not been worn—in hot temperatures to ensure that any stowaway bedbugs are not transported into your drawers or closet.
• Keep clothes that must be dry-cleaned in a plastic bag and take them to the dry cleaner as soon as possible.
• If you suspect a bedbug infestation in your home, contact a licensed pest professional promptly. Bedbugs are not a DIY pest, and the longer you wait, the larger the infestation will grow. A trained professional has the tools and knowledge to effectively treat your infestation.
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