Memorial Day Kicks Off the Summer Travel Season... and Bed Bugs are Ready

FAIRFAX, Va. (May 25, 2011)After a wet winter and spring across much of the country, nearly 35 million Americans plan to travel during the Memorial Day weekend, according to the travel organization, AAA. With many travelers staying in hotels, traveling by train, plane or going on a cruise, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) advises people to keep bed bug prevention and detection tips in mind to keep a dream vacation from turning into a nightmare.

The good news is that summer is finally here; the bad news is that bed bugs continue to lurk in places people typically visit during a vacation, said Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. Although bed bugs are a year-round pest, people have a greater chance of picking up this hitchhiker during the summer as travel increases. Bed bugs are a souvenir no one wants to bring home.

According to recent surveys of professional pest control companies, bed bugs are the most challenging pest to treat and also one of the least understood by consumers. Many people who may not have traveled since the bed bug resurgence last year may also lack awareness about the problem.

Here are several NPMA tips to help travelers remain bed bug-free. More information can be found at

  • Pull back hotel bed sheets, inspect the mattress seams, box spring, around and behind the headboard, sofas and chairs for telltale brownish or reddish spots, shed skins or bugs.
  • Avoid putting luggage on the bed or upholstered furniture.
  • If changing rooms, be sure the new room is not adjacent to the possibly infested room.
  • Use a large plastic bag to store luggage.
  • Upon returning home, inspect and vacuum suitcases thoroughly before bringing them into the house.
  • Wash and dry clothes on hot whether worn or not or have them dry cleaned.
  • Consumers suspecting an infestation should contact a licensed pest professional.

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.