Know Before You GoBy Missy Henriksen
Sunday, April 21, 2013
How to Prevent Bringing Bed Bugs Home From Travels
Before we know it, summer will be here and millions
of people around the country will begin packing their bags to have
some fun in the sun. Before embarking on vacations, many of these
travelers will create a travel checklist to help them prepare for
hitting the road. While packing sunscreen, turning off lights,
cleaning out the fridge and locking doors are all likely to make
the list, it’s also important for travelers to bring along another
type of list to use before and after unpacking from their trips —
the bed bug
Even the most seasoned travelers are at a higher risk of
encountering bed bugs when traveling because these blood-sucking
pests are excellent hitchhikers and are
easily transported from one place to another in human belongings
like suitcases. As a result, bed bugs continue to remain a problem
in lodging facilities. In fact, 75 percent of pest professionals
have treated bed bugs in hotels and motels, according to the
2013 Bugs Without Borders Survey conducted by the National Pest
Management Association (NPMA) and the University of Kentucky.
All travelers will benefit from a little bed bug know-how to
help ensure they don’t bring them home as an unwanted souvenir. If
you and your family are planning on getting away this summer, here
is your bed bug prevention checklist:
When You Arrive At The Hotel
- Thoroughly inspect the entire room before unpacking, including
behind the headboard, under lights, and inside dressers, drawers,
sofas and chairs.
- Pull back the sheets and inspect the mattress seams and box
springs, particularly at the corners, for pepper-like stains, spots
or shed bed bug skins.
- Place suitcase in a plastic trash bag during the duration of
your trip to ensure that bed bugs cannot take up residence there
prior to departure.
- Do not place luggage on upholstered surfaces. The safest place
is in the bathroom in the middle of a tile floor or on a luggage
rack after it has been thoroughly inspected. Do not use a luggage
rack if it has hollow legs, where bed bugs may hide unseen.
If You Suspect Bed Bugs Are In Your Hotel Room
- Notify management and request to change rooms immediately.
- 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.
When You Arrive Home
- Inspect your suitcases outdoors before bringing them
into the house.
- Vacuum your suitcase thoroughly before storing it. Consider
using a garment hand steamer to steam your luggage, which can kill
any bed bugs or eggs that may have traveled home with you.
- Wash and dry all of your clothes - even those that have not
been worn – on hot cycles.
- Keep clothes that go to the dry cleaner in a sealed plastic bag
until they can be transported.
If you get settled back in at home following a trip and suspect
that you may have brought some hitchhiking bed bugs back with you,
contact a licensed pest
professional in a timely manner. Bed bugs are not a DIY pest
and should be left to a professional.
Looking for more information on bed bugs? Check out this Pest ID card
or visit AllThingsBedBugs.org
for a plethora of bed bug resources.