Don’t Bring Back Bed Bugs from Your Hotel Stay!

Traveling can be a great break from everyday life and provide much needed rest and relaxation, but beware that you don’t bring home more than you bargained for when you return to real life.  Bed bugs are have unfortunately made a comeback in recent years and can be found in many hotels, despite efforts to exterminate the pests.  The first difficulty that they are tiny, less than a quarter of inch long as adults, and they love to hide in mattresses, bedding and furniture.  They only leave these clever hiding places at night, when they emerge to feed on humans, leaving itchy red and white welts.

Regrettably another one of their skills is hitching rides in clothing and suitcases, meaning a night in an infested bed could have lasting consequences.  To avoid this exact occurrence, University of Florida urban entomologists Phil Koehler and Roberto Pereira have come up with a list of travel tips:

  • Inspect your hotel room when you arrive. Check mattress seams and folds. Look for blood spots the size of a pencil point. Check behind the headboard as well. They can even lurk in a picture frame or in a popcorn ceiling.
  • If you see signs of bed bugs, demand another room, and inspect that one as well.
  • In the room, keep your suitcases away from furniture and walls until you finish your inspection. Keep your suitcase closed overnight and inside tightly sealed plastic garbage bags when you’re not using them. Keep your shoes and socks inside the plastic bag while you sleep. Bedbugs are attracted to the odor of feet.
  • When packing to leave, check your clothing and luggage for signs of the small insects. Check seams and folds carefully.
  • Back at home, immediately wash all your laundry from the trip in hot water, then machine dry on the highest setting for at least 20 minutes. Even if you don’t wash, putting possibly infested items into the dryer on high heat will kill bed bugs. Even dry-cleanable clothing can be put in driers if you don’t wet it first.

If these tips still fail you or you’ve already brought home some unwanted visitors, there are many companies that will help you get rid of bed bugs.  Unfortunately, there is nothing really available over the counter to handle the infestation because every bug has to be sprayed directly and it’s very hard to kill the eggs, so reinfestation is common. So as is the case with many things, prior prevention is the best method to ensure a safe and bed bug-free home.

Categories: Environment
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Jun
07