Bed Bugs On the Move This Thanksgiving Season

Bed Bug Travel Tips Prevention - Johnson Pest ControlAs 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.

Contact us today to find out more about bed bug prevention or to talk to someone about a suspected problem.

How To Check Your Hotel Room for Bed Bugs

How to Check Your Hotel Room for Bed BugsBusiness Insider has a pretty great tips list on how to check your hotel room for bed bugs.

Here’s the bulleted list. Check their article out for some photos.

  1. When you enter a room, don’t unpack. Bring your luggage to a clean bathtub or  a rack that will keep it off the floor until you have inspected the room. In the off chance you find bed bugs this will keep them from getting onto your luggage. Bed bugs cannot climb up the porcelain/plastic of a bathtub, so if that option is there for you do that first.
  2. Grab some tools to inspect the bed: a flashlight (or even the flashlight app on your phone will suffice) and a credit card will do the trick. This will allow you to see into some of the cracks and crevices of the mattress and box spring.
  3. Pull the blanket and linens off the bed. Start with the corners, where bed bugs like to hide. You’re looking for bugs or dark brown blood spots. Because the sheets of a hotel bed get changed out regularly you are unlikely to find them on the sheets. Look on the mattress. Go straight down to the mattress and the box spring.
  4. Closely examine the folds and seams in the corner of the mattress for signs of bed bugs. Use a credit card to get underneath the folds of the mattress, where bed bugs love to hide, and closely examine the darker hiding spots with a flashlight. Similarly, if the mattress has buttons you want to check underneath the buttons of the mattress as well. Any fold or overlap has potential for a bed bug to be hiding.
  5. To be thorough, check all four corners of the mattress – not just one. One or two corners should give you a good idea of what you might be dealing with, but it does not hurt to check. If you are like me and make a big mess of the covers on a hotel bed then you might as well start that mess while you are inspecting. Do not forget to check underneath the mattress at the box spring as well. Since the box spring will be relatively undisturbed compared to the mattress bed bugs will often choose that as a suitable living space.
  6. Check any upholstered furniture for signs of bed bugs. They like to hide in the dark places, so check the seams and folds of the furniture. Also you can look underneath the furniture seat. Depending on the set up of the room, and the level of infestation, bed bugs would more than likely be detectable around the bed before finding on a chair. It’s a long way for them to travel if they are hanging out on a chair. Still a chair might have been moved from a room that was infested so it could have bed bugs and the mattress does not. It is possible and a good reason to give it a check.
  7. Similarly, check the curtains. Bed bugs will often make curtains their home. Curtains, similar to the mattress and box spring, go relatively untouched by the cleaning staff. In a home they are likely on sheets and mattresses and then spread out from there. Because a hotel room gets turned over so frequently those less touched areas are good spots for the bed bugs to infest a room.
  8. Look behind the headboard and in any grooves on the headboard or nightstand. Shine the flashlight in the dark area and look for fleeing bugs. It may seem like overkill, but the headboard is one of those hiding spots that doesn’t get touched by the cleaning crew. Caution, removing the headboard, or looking behind it might make you somewhat grossed out after seeing the dust, fluff, dead bugs, left clothing, etc.

We’ve talked about ways to avoid bed bugs when you are travel before. It is also a good practice to check the to see if the hotel you are staying at has had a number of instances of bed bugs and when those might have happened.

If you believe that your room does have bed bugs alert the front desk that you would like a new room and that they should have the room fully inspected by a professional.