As Spring arrives and travel season begins, one thing to be careful of is bed bugs, especially when staying at hotels and motels. Just because it may be a "five-star" hotel, you are staying in, unfortunatley the presence of Bed Bugs is not determined by the cleanliness of the living conditions where they are found...
The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) recommends the following tips for bed bug prevention when traveling:
- At hotels, pull back the sheets and inspect the mattress seams, particularly at the corners, for telltale stains or spots. If you see anything suspect, notify management and change rooms/establishments immediately.
- Thoroughly inspect the entire room before unpacking, including behind the headboard and in sofas/chairs. If any pests are spotted, change rooms/establishments immediately.
- If you do need to change rooms, be sure that you do not move to a room adjacent and/or directly above/below the suspected infestation. Bed bugs can easily hitchhike via housekeeping carts, luggage and even through wall sockets. If an infestation is spreading, it typically does so in the rooms closest to the origin.
- Consider placing your suitcase in a plastic trash bag or protective cover during the duration of your trip to ensure that bed bugs cannot take up residence there prior to departure.
- Remember: bed bugs travel by hitching rides. After your trip, inspect your suitcases before bringing them into the house. Vacuum your suitcase thoroughly before storing away. Consider using a garment hand steamer to steam your luggage, which will kill any bed bugs or eggs that may have hitched a ride home.
- Wash all of your clothes - even those that have not been worn - in hot water to ensure that any bed bugs that may have made it that far are not placed into your drawers/closet.
Luckily, Bed Bugs are not known to spread disease, they are more of a nuisance than anything. But if you are bitten by Bed Bugs, the bite marks may take as long as 14 days to develop in some people, leaving you little idea as to where you may have encountered them. Better to take precautions, then bring these critters home with you from a vacation!