Don't Pick Up Hitchhiking Bed Bugs During Holiday Travels

Monday, December 6, 2010

Over the next several weeks, with images of vacations, family reunions and time off dancing in their heads, millions of Americans will be hitting the roads, skies and rails, traveling to various holiday destinations. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) advises travelers to take some simple precautions to avoid the most unwanted holiday present - an encounter with bed bugs.

"Whether going to grandma's house or a hotel, travelers should be on the lookout for signs of bed bugs. Parents whose children are returning from college should also inspect their belongings before bringing laundry and packed bags inside, as infestations have been reported on campuses across the country," said Missy Henriksen vice president of public affairs for NPMA.

"However, there is no need to be alarmed or alter travel plans. With a few simple steps, travelers can diminish their risk of dealing with bed bugs," added Henriksen.

Travelers should remember the following tips from NPMA:

  • Thoroughly inspect the entire room before unpacking. Don't put luggage on the bed.
  • Pull back bed sheets and inspect mattress seams, particularly the corners, for telltale brownish or reddish spots. Bed bugs can also be found in box springs and behind baseboards, electrical switch plates, picture frames, wallpaper, in upholstery and furniture.
  • If changing rooms within the same hotel, ensure the new room is not adjacent to the possibly infested room.
  • If staying at a residence, inform the homeowner immediately of a suspected bed bug problem.
  • Use a large plastic bag to store luggage.
  • Upon returning home, inspect and vacuum suitcases before bringing them into the house.
  • Wash all clothes - whether worn or not - in hot water or take them to a dry cleaner
  • If you suspect an infestation in your own home, contact a licensed pest professional to inspect the property.

For more information on bed bugs or to find a licensed pest professional, please visit: www.pestworld.org.

The NPMA, a non-profit organization with more than 7,000 members, was established in 1933 to support the pest management industry's commitment to the protection of public health, food and property.

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