While the holidays are filled with fun, family, and traveling, one not-so-fun side effect can be hard to get rid of: Bed Bugs. Bed bugs are active all year but most likely to travel into your home after a trip. Here are 10 ways you can prevent bed bugs now and throughout the year. If you already have bed bugs, call a pest control company. They’re difficult to get rid of and usually requires professional treatment for fast, effective results.

1. Inspect

Inspect your hotel room or rental for signs of bed bugs before bringing your luggage in. It’s more and more common for hotels to have issues with bed bugs – even expensive and familiar ones – so it’s important to check every room. Bed bugs can be found in any type of furniture (usually cracks & crevices), not just beds. Check sofa cushions, chairs, behind headboards, and around mattress corners (pull back the sheets). Look for evidence of bed bugs, usually distinguished by very small, dark-colored stains. Another indication of bed bugs is skin shells that have been shed during their growth phases.

2. Move

If bed bug evidence is found, request a different room (preferably not next door to the infested room) or change your accommodations.

3. Unpack

Bed bugs often go unnoticed because of their small size and nocturnal behavior. So even if you inspect your room and don’t find anything, be cautious when unpacking clothes. Don’t leave luggage lying on any furniture – bed, tables, sofas, chairs – and use the luggage racks (after inspecting!) usually provided by most hotels.

4. Contain

After you’ve returned home, do not bring luggage into your home. Seal in plastic bags or containers and store for a few weeks somewhere outside of your home – garage, outdoor storage closet, etc. You can take further precautions by steaming or vacuuming your bags before storing them.

5. Wash

Clothes should be washed in hot water before bringing them back into your home.

It’s possible to take all of these precautions and still bring bed bugs into your home. If you’re experiencing bed bug bites or seeing evidence of bed bugs, contact a professional bed bug control company to access the situation. An exterminator can determine the best treatment plan and provide you with recommendations to prevent future infestations.

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