As Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday season, Americans will be making travel plans to celebrate with relatives and friends, both near and far. With the increased amount of travel occurring during the next couple of months, we like to remind our friends to be on the lookout for signs of bed bugs. Having an awareness of bed bugs while traveling will help you avoid spreading these hitchhiking pests—or, even worse, bringing them home.
According to a 2015 survey from the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and University of Kentucky, bed bugs aren’t going anywhere. Nearly two-thirds (61 percent) of pest control professionals reported that bed bug infestations continue to rise, and three-fourths (74 percent) reported encountering infestations in hotels and motels.
Bed bugs are notoriously difficult to manage. Bed bugs are resourceful bugs that can easily hitch a ride in suitcases, on clothing and in other human belongings, allowing them to spread quickly and infest homes, transportation systems, offices and any other place where people gather.
The NPMA offers the following tips for avoiding bed bugs while traveling:
- Pull back hotel bed sheets and inspect the mattress seams for stains, spots or bugs. Also check behind the headboard and in sofas and chairs.
- Immediately notify management of any signs of bed bugs and ask for a new room.
- Ensure the new room is not adjacent and/or directly above or below the original room. Bed bugs can easily hitchhike via housekeeping carts, luggage and even through walls via electrical sockets.
- Place luggage in a plastic trash bag or protective cover during the duration of the trip to keep bed bugs out.
- Upon returning home, inspect luggage before bringing it inside and vacuum cases thoroughly before putting them away.
- Dry all fabric items (even those that have not been worn) in a hot dryer for at least 30 minutes to ensure any bed bugs that may have made it that far are not placed into your drawers or closet.
If bed bugs do find their way into your home, do not attempt to deal with the infestation on your own. We’ve seen way too many people put themselves in dangerous situations while trying to eliminate a bed bug problem. For peace of mind, it’s best to call a professional for an assessment and treatment.