Much like other insect species, bedbugs are innumerable and everywhere. Getting rid of them is challenging, even with the latest insecticide formulations. That’s why adhering to bed bug infestation tips is one of the best ways to avoid them. Travel is one of those things that significantly increases the risk of bed bug infestation. Bed bugs are known to hitch a ride from one location to another, a major reason to explain their presence in nearly every country. Given their size and ability to go without food for prolonged periods, bed bugs can hide in articles of clothing and travel suitcases while remaining undetected for months. This means travelers are likely to have bed bugs in their luggage without knowing it.
As a traveler, you want to protect yourself against these vermin. In addition to being a nuisance, bed bugs can also cause health issues. For example, their presence can lead to intense skin itching that can pave the way for secondary infections. That’s why it’s important to take all the necessary precautions against them when traveling.
As a savvy traveler, you want to do certain things to protect yourself from bed bugs when on the road. These include:
1)Researching Your Lodging Before Booking
The reality is that some locations and cities have more bed bug infestation cases than others. There are now pest control companies that publish a yearly list of cities and destinations with the highest number of reported bed bug infestation cases. It’s a good idea to take a look at such a list whenever you’re traveling. It will inform you of the likelihood of encountering a hotel or motel with bed bug issues at your destination. Of course, just because a city ranks high on the list of places with increased bed bug infestation does not mean every hotel there has bed bugs. However, it gives you an idea of what to expect and what precautions to take. A simple trick is to call a hotel before booking a room and ask about their bed bug protocol. If it seems less than satisfactory, find another lodging.
2) Thoroughly Inspect Your Room Before Unpacking Your Luggage
Once you’ve decided to book a room in a supposedly bed-bug-free hotel, it doesn’t hurt to take some extra precautions. Before unpacking your luggage, inspect the room thoroughly for any signs of bed bug infestation. Place your luggage on the bathroom rack instead of the bed or the floor while carrying out this inspection. Use a flashlight to check the headboards, bed joints, and mattress seams. These are notorious hiding places for bed bugs. Also, look out for reddish stains on the bed sheets, as these could indicate their presence.
Don’t forget to inspect the carpets and upholstered furniture; these room items provide good hiding places for bed bugs. Sometimes, bed bug infestation is obvious, as evidenced by the presence of tiny, oval-shaped, reddish-brown pellets. These are adult bed bugs. The younger ones (nymphs) are white and tear-drop-shaped. Even when you fail to see the obvious signs of bed bug infestation, avoid keeping your luggage and clothes on the bed. Instead, use the closet.
3) Contact Management
Sometimes, your best inspection efforts may fail to identify the presence of bed bugs. You’ll only become aware of them when you wake up the next morning with itching and red welts on your exposed skin. Contact the hotel management immediately to discuss the next step. They may suggest moving you to another room. However, given the propensity of bed bugs to crawl through conduits like phones and cable lines, it is likely that adjacent rooms are also infested. Ask to be moved to a room farthest away from the one you’re vacating. If the hotel management is unwilling to accommodate your request or is uncooperative, it’s best to check out and go elsewhere.
4) Take Precautions Upon Returning Home
Even before traveling back home, be careful with your personal belongings if you think you unknowingly stayed in a place with a bed bug infestation. For instance, if you suspect that your clothes were exposed to bedbugs, place them in a plastic bag like a Ziploc bag and seal them. This ensures that any bed bugs that are in such clothes do not spread to other articles of clothing in your suitcase.
When you get home, unpack your suitcase outside the house, preferably in your yard. If you live in an apartment building, do it in a public area like the laundry room. Proceed to wash all your unpacked clothes, including the unworn ones, in hot water. Dry them on high heat. For items like shoes that cannot be washed, put them inside a dryer. Turn the dryer onto the highest setting. Leave the items there for at least half an hour. This will ensure that live bed bugs, their eggs, and nymph are all killed.
Ultimately, dealing with bed bugs requires the utmost vigilance and precautionary steps.