Scratch Harmful Bug Bites Off Of Spring Break Worries List

NPMA provides travelers with bed bug and mosquito protection tips

FAIRFAX Va. (March 21, 2016) – There’s nothing more frustrating than a relaxing Spring Break gone wrong and itchy bug bites would certainly detract from carefree fun in the sun. However, with new concerns about Zika, a mosquito-transmitted disease sweeping across the Americas, and bed bugs not only biting, but also hitching rides back home as souvenirs, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) is urging vigilance to help protect against these public health threats, especially while traveling.

“Spring Break marks the start of the busy travel season and the warm spring and summer heat rises, bringing out bugs. As people travel, it’s important for them to be aware of the pest threats around them, including mosquito-transmitted diseases such as Zika and Dengue,” said Cindy Mannes, vice president of public affairs for the NPMA. “And, no one wants to unknowingly stay in a bed bug infested room or property. These pests are amazing hitchhikers and will follow you back home. Identifying and avoiding contact with these pests will help ensure a safe and healthy vacation.”

The NPMA recommends the following bed bug and mosquito protection tips:

  • Whether staying at a hotel, bed and breakfast or rented bungalow, thoroughly inspect rooms before unpacking, including behind bed headboards and in furniture. Pull back bed sheets and check mattress seams for evidence of bed bug activity.
  • Set luggage away from walls and never place it on a bed. Use large plastic trash bags or protective covers to store suitcases.
  • Once back home, unpack luggage outside, wash and dry all clothing on a high heat setting and vacuum luggage, paying particular attention to seams.
  • When spending time outdoors, apply an insect repellant containing at least 20% DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon-eucalyptus, and reapply as directed on the label. People spending long amounts of time outdoors should consider wearing long pants, long-sleeve shirts and closed-toe shoes to limit skin exposure to mosquitoes. The main type of mosquito that carries Zika is a daytime biter, so taking preventive measures at all times of the day is crucial.
  • Mosquito-borne diseases that are rare in the United States are often common in many foreign countries, so anyone traveling outside of the U.S. should be aware of travel advisories. If a person falls ill upon returning home, seek prompt medical attention.

For more bug bite protection advice, or to find a licensed pest control professional, visit


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. For more information, visit