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Bring Home Memories – Not Bed Bugs – This Spring Break!
Spring break is no longer simply for college students. Now, many adults also "break" the winter blues by heading for warmer destinations. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) reminds all travelers of the risk of bringing home bed bugs from their spring sojourns, especially as the NPMA continues to note a 71% increase in reports of these pests since 2001.
"Bed bugs are elusive, nocturnal pests that thrive on blood," says Jim Fredericks, technical services director for NPMA. "While these pests do not transmit diseases, bed bugs inject an anesthetic-like liquid that numbs the skin as they bite, leaving their victims undisturbed. It is only when people awake that they find unexplained, itchy red welts covering their bodies."
One reason that bed bugs pose such a problem for travelers is their keen ability to "hitchhike." Bed bugs can travel easily - from beds to sofa cushions, from room to room and even home via suitcases. Once an infestation develops, bed bugs are extremely difficult to remove and require the experience of a pest professional to eliminate an infestation.
More, it is important for travelers to understand the prevalence of bed bugs. "Although many associate bed bugs with sanitation levels, this is simply a myth," states Fredericks. "Vigilance is critical, especially as we know that a five star resort can be as susceptible to bed bugs as a hostel."
The NPMA offers three tips to prevent bed bugs from returning home with travelers:
- At hotels, pull back the sheets and inspect the mattress seams, particularly at the corners, for telltale stains or spots. If you see anything suspect, change rooms/establishments immediately.
- Thoroughly inspect the entire room before unpacking, including behind the headboard and in sofas/chairs. If any pests are spotted, change rooms/establishments immediately.
- After traveling, inspect your suitcases before bringing them into the house. Vacuum them thoroughly and wash all of your clothes in hot water.