If you find yourself traveling this week, or any time really, you may be susceptible to bringing more than just some souvenir T-shirts back with you. In recent years, bed bug infestations have become increasingly problematic worldwide, leading to many hotel guests picking up some unwanted hitchhikers on their trip and unknowingly bringing them back home.
Once they get into your bed or other belongings, it won’t be long before you’ve got a serious problem on your hands, so working to avoid bed bugs in general is a good practice for travelers of all kinds. By following these tips while you’re out and about, you can minimize your risk of being bitten by the bed bugs.
1. Inspect Your Room
Any time you find yourself staying in a new hotel or other guest room with a high volume of visitors passing through, it’s good to do a thorough inspection of the room before you unpack and make yourself at home. As soon as you arrive, inspect the bed, headboard, and surrounding areas for little bugs – less than an inch in size, and usually a brown or reddish color. These bugs could be alive or dead and may be hiding in cracks, crevices, and seams. Pull back the sheets and check the mattress as well, keeping an eye out for any spots, stains or other signs that raise a red flag. If the room is too dark for you to accurately inspect, use the flashlight on your phone. And don’t forget to inspect the curtains if they’re in the vicinity of the bed.
2. Keep Luggage Sealed and Safe
If you can avoid unpacking all your luggage and allowing it to come in contact with your hotel room, you should. The best place for your clothing is zipped and closed inside your luggage – sealed further in plastic bags if you really want to be proactive. By unpacking all your clothes, leaving them around your room, or laying them down on the bed, you’re putting yourself at the highest risk for bed bugs to get into your belongings.
3. Look for Blood Spots
If you’ve successfully checked your room and haven’t found any evidence of bed bugs, get yourself a good night’s rest. But in the morning, remember to check your sheets again, this time looking for any blood spots that may have appeared as a result of a bed bug biting your skin. If you’ve been bitten or have found bed bugs attaching themselves to your belongings, you may be in for a rough morning, but you can still take preventative measures to prevent them from following you home.
4. If You’ve Been Bugged, Take Action
If you find evidence of bed bugs, get out of there. Request a new room from your hotel management – preferably one far away from the room with the bed bugs in it! If you have clothes or other belongings that may be infested, throwing them in the dryer at the highest heat setting will help. Temperatures over 120 degrees will kill bed bugs, so washing clothes with hot water can do the trick as well. When you get home from your trip, it is good practice to put all your clothes in the wash with hot water, and immediately vacuum out and clean the inside of your luggage before stowing it away. If you have a household steamer, this can also kill bed bugs hiding in clothes, luggage, or other belongings that can’t make it into the washer and dryer, so don’t hesitate to do a quick pass with the steamer as well.
By following these tips and staying vigilant on your travels, you can prevent bed bugs from making their way into your home. But if for some reason they’ve snuck past you and are now living in your home, give us a call right away. We’ll come out to your home to perform a bed bug treatment to help you kick these unwanted invaders out.