With the increase in travel during the upcoming Spring Break season, the incidence of bed bugs will be on the rise. Bed bugs are difficult to get rid of; notorious hitchhikers that can travel with ease from place to place. They also don’t discriminate – bed bugs have been reported in accommodations ranging from 1 star motels to 5 star luxury resorts and everywhere in between, and have been reported around the world. Most home bed bug infestations occur after travel or are brought in by guests. So what can you do to make sure these pests don’t arrive uninvited after your spring break travels?
Do Your Homework
There are several resources out there that provide reports of bed bug infestations at hotels and other lodging facilities. The Bed Bug Registry is a free public database of user-submitted bed bug reports from across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Established in 2006, the Bed Bug Registry has mapped more than 12,000 hotels based on over 20,000 reports from travelers. Other user-generated sites like TripAdvisor also offer reviews that include bed bug reports.
Know What To Look For
Bed bugs are small, only about 4 to 5 mm in size. They are the size of a standard pearl. They have flat, oval-shaped bodies that are red or brown in color. Before traveling, download the EPA’s wallet-sized bed bug identification card for reference.
Check Your Accommodations
Where do you look for bed bugs? Bed bugs are excellent hiders. They are nocturnal so finding them during the day can be a challenge. Always check your room thoroughly before unloading your luggage. Bed bugs are usually found within 20 feet of a host (usually a bed). Bed bugs are commonly found in the seams of mattresses, in the cracks of headboards, in baseboards, and in the folds of upholstered furniture. They can also be found in drawers and closets and even in the fabric of luggage rack straps. Be sure to check each of these places thoroughly and use a flashlight if possible. Leave your luggage outside the door while you check for bed bugs. Be sure to also check the sheets and mattress for small brown spots sometimes tinged with blood. This is a tell-tale sign of a bed bug problem.
Know What To Do
If you find evidence of bed bugs in your room, notify the front desk and hotel manager immediately. Request to be transferred to another room that is not above, below, or adjacent to the infested room as bed bugs can travel through cracks in the ceiling, walls, and floor. If you aren’t comfortable, request a refund and find other accommodations. Request that the hotel launder your clothes immediately. Place all your garments in a sealed bag and put them in the dryer again when you get home. Steam your luggage, as well.
Prevention Is Key
One way to avoid bed bugs is to take steps to prevent them in the first place. Pack a large trash bag with your luggage and store your luggage in it while in the room. Don’t leave any clothes, purses, or computer bags on upholstered furniture in your room. Keep all bags closed when not in use. Double check your bags and clothing before you repack. Once you return home, immediately unpack your dirty clothes directly into the washer and then dry them on high heat. Store your suitcases away from any living areas such as in the garage or the basement.
Call A Professional
Bed bugs can be extremely difficult to get rid of. If you suspect you have a bed bug problem, contact a professional pest control company who can provide you with a thorough inspection and the appropriate treatment plan for your situation.
The time for holiday travel is quickly approaching. The panic, the shopping, and the cooking are all becoming a reality once again and you don’t have time for much else. The last thing you need to add to your ever growing holiday to-do list is a bed bug infestation. The best thing you can do is arm yourself with knowledge to be ahead of the game and use the proven tricks below when returning from your travels!
Things to Know:
Bed bugs are tricky. They are elusive and great at hiding during the day.
They have a method to their madness. Their bites leave behind patterns and clusters. While disturbing, this helps identify an infestation.
Bed bugs are commonly misidentified pests. They are often mistaken for fleas or cockroaches.
They can live for several months without a meal; on top of that, they can survive freezing temperatures of up to -122 degrees.
When travelling back home from your holiday visits, leave suitcases in a garage or driveway and take clothing straight to the laundry room to be washed in warm water. This is especially important for college students coming home for winter break.
Bed bug infestations are very serious and require a thorough inspection and intense treatment. If you suspect that you have an issue with bed bugs, call a licensed bed bug specialist immediately.
As school winds down, your summer camp prep is ramping up. As you go through lists and double check that you have everything your kiddos will need to have the best summer, take precautions to make sure they don’t bring home any stowaways. Read below for ideas on how to prevent the two most common camp nuisances: lice and bed bugs. Lice spread by direct contact with hair of an infested person. Be sure to remind children away at camp to not share personal items such as hats, brushes, and combs.
Be informed; ask if there have been lice breakouts in the past.
Make sure there is a lice control policy in place at the camp.
The infestation needs to be treated quickly and aggressively.
Cabins and other camper belongings are the perfect hiding and breeding sites for bed bugs. They travel in the belongings of other campers and make their way to your home in the luggage of your camper.
Inquire if there have been past bed bug infestations and when the last time the camp invested in new mattresses.
Make sure to properly inspect your child’s bedding when dropping them off at camp.
Use a plastic trash bag to store luggage during the duration of camp. This will make it harder for the bed bugs to hitch a ride back to your home.
Once back home, leave luggage in the garage or in the driveway. Take out all the clothing and immediately take to the washer to be washed with hot water. Once done, make sure to dry the clothing on a high heat setting because bed bugs cannot survive at temperatures above 122 degrees. Vacuum the suitcase before putting it away.
For many of us, the holiday season is a time of joy. It is also a time for travel as we look forward to spending time with family and friends. One thing that can damper our holiday season is dealing with unwanted visitors – no, not that cranky Scrooge of a relative – but bed bugs! Bed bugs are notorious hitchhikers, tagging along with unsuspecting travelers on their clothes and luggage. As we enter the biggest travel season of the year, check out these tips for preventing bed bugs and preserving your holiday cheer.
1. Prepare For Your Guests
When you have guests staying with you, make sure you are prepared for the possibility of bed bugs being brought in with them. Don’t put your guests’ coats and bags on the bed. Instead, clean out a closet and use it to store their belongings. If you have to put their items on the bed, lay a sheet down first. It can be cleaned later. Place a plastic mat by the door for them to place their shoes on. If possible, provide luggage racks for them to use to store their belongings on. Use a bed bug mattress cover on any beds your guests will be using. If your guests will be sleeping on the couch, lay a sheet down over it first.
2. Clean Up After They Leave
Once your guests leave, make sure to go behind anywhere they kept coats or luggage and clean. Vacuum closets where luggage and coats were kept. Vacuum the beds and couches where they slept. Seal the vacuum bags immediately and dispose of them outside. If you used sheets under luggage or on your couches, wash them in hot water and dry them on high heat. Wash the plastic mat you used for their shoes with hot, soapy water.
3. Be On The Lookout
Whether you have guests who just left or you are the guest yourself, check your surroundings for signs of bed bugs. Inspect the mattress, box springs, and headboard, especially around edges and seams. Make sure to check couch cushions and chairs, as well. The most common sign of bed bugs is small, rust colored spots. Avoid using dresser drawers if possible. When you arrive at your destination, especially if you have been in a heavily populated area (subway, bus, airport, etc) check your shoes, jackets, hats, and luggage immediately. Be sure to check around zippers and seams. If you spot bed bugs, remove the clothing immediately and wash in hot water and dry on high heat. Vacuum luggage and seal and dispose of the vacuum bag immediately. If you are going to be a guest at a hotel or other lodging accommodation, you can also check the Bed Bug Registry, which is a free user-submitted database of bed bug reports across the US and Canada.
4. Don’t Wait Around
Once you arrive home from your travels, unpack your luggage and change your clothes immediately. Wash everything in hot water and dry on high heat. The heat of the water and air from the dryer will kill any bed bugs that may be lingering around. Once unpacked, vacuum or steam your luggage and seal it in plastic bags or containers. Store your luggage outside the home (in a garage, shed, etc) until you need to use them again.
5. Call The Pros
Bed bugs are resilient and can be extremely difficult to get rid of. If you suspect you have a bed bug problem, call a pest control professional who can come in and provide you with a thorough evaluation and comprehensive treatment plan.
While many of us are planning vacations or trips to visit family for the upcoming holiday season, bed bugs are planning their vacation too, as unwanted guests that hitchhike their way into your home from hotel rooms, rented houses & condos, families’ houses, and college dorms. So what can you do to minimize your risk? Follow these bed bug prevention tips:
Inspect your accommodations. Check your hotel room or rental for signs of bed bugs before bringing your luggage in. From high end hotels to small B&Bs or rental homes, any property has the potential to be bed bug infested – so it’s important to check every type of accommodation. Bed bugs can be found in furniture (usually cracks & crevices), including beds, end tables, sofas & chairs, dressers, etc. Be especially sure to check around mattress corners, looking 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.
If you suspect that your room has bed bugs, ask to be moved or consider another hotel or rental.
Even if you find no traces of bed bugs, be careful when unpacking your clothing. Use provided luggage racks rather than placing suitcases on the beds or furniture or thoroughly inspect dressers before placing clothing in drawers.
Don’t unpack when you return home. Resist the urge to bring your luggage inside your home when returning from a trip. Instead, unpack outside of your home, wash all clothing right away and be sure to run everything through a high-heat dryer cycle (bed bugs cannot withstand high temperatures). Then store suitcases outside if possible, like in your garage or a storage closet. Another option, if you don’t have anywhere to keep luggage outside your home, is to seal suitcases in large, plastic storage bags before bringing inside.
If you’re experiencing bed bug bites or seeing evidence of bed bugs, contact a professional bed bug control company to access the situation. DIY bed bug control is not recommended; an exterminator can determine the best treatment plan and give you recommendations to prevent future infestations.
Before making spring break or summer travel plans, consider checking the bed bug registry to see if your hotel is on the list.
The Bed Bug Registry is a website dedicated to reporting bed bug activity across the United States and Canada, for both hotels and other travel accommodations, as well as rental properties. The site offers a free, neutral platform where travelers can report bed bugs in a public environment. Since 2006, the Bed Bug Registry collected over 20,000 reports of bed bugs in 12,000 locations.
Because bed beds are excellent travelers, it’s likely you’ll bring them back home with you if staying in a bed bug infested hotel. So the first step in bed bug prevention is being able to find and identify them. Bed bugs are red to brown in color, depending on when their last blood meal was, flat and oval in shape, and about 1/4 inch in size or smaller. They like to hide in dark, undisturbed areas like the cracks and crevices of bed frames, headboards, mattresses, box springs, furniture, and upholstered items like chairs and storage benches. They can also be found behind baseboards, under carpet, behind electrical switch plates, and in under-bed storage containers. A sure sign of bed bugs are small, dark spots on sheets and pillowcases. If beds bugs are found are suspected, ask to be moved to another room or consider getting a refund and moving to another hotel.
Even if you don’t find bed bugs in your hotel room, there are steps you can take when you get home to prevent a bed bug infestation. Don’t bring your luggage inside your home. Instead, remove all of your clothing, wash immediately and run through a high-heat dryer cycles (bed bugs can’t survive in high temperatures), and then vacuum your suitcase and store outside your home in sealed bags or containers, like in the garage or a storage closet.
If you suspect a bed bug problem in your home, contact an exterminator immediately. Bed bugs are best eliminated when the infestation is identified and controlled early and DIY bed bug treatments are not recommended.