When you go on vacation, the last thing you want to bring back as a souvenir is a bed bug infestation. However, that’s exactly what many travelers have been experiencing over the last couple of years. Public awareness of bedbug problems cannot help but increase, thanks to the increase of news reports of innocent travelers coming back with angry red welts, skin infections and other nasty side effects of being attacked by bedbugs while on vacation. Then there are the lawsuits that follow.
In a recent National Pest Management Association Bed Bugs in America survey of pest companies across the USA revealed that a shocking one in five households have experienced a bed bug infestation. Additionally, 80 percent of Americans believe that bedbugs are a growing problem and are fearful of encountering them at hotels. The general awareness of bedbugs has also increased with 27 percent of those surveyed inspecting their clothing upon returning from trips, and a 25 percent checking their hotel rooms for bugs. Over 10 percent of travelers have even altered or cancelled their trips due to concern over bringing back bedbugs to the states.
While you cannot always the areas where bed bugs hide, there are some steps you can take to avoid bedbugs while traveling, and the worry of bringing these critters home with you. Here’s what Cayce Exterminating recommends:
1. Store all clothing and travel items in airtight bags inside suitcases and travel bags, while traveling and while lodging. If at all possible, choose hard-shelled suitcases because this makes it harder for bed bugs and other pests to crawl inside.
2. Inspect your mattress, sheets, pillows, headboard and any furniture for tiny, oval shaped bugs that are clear to reddish brown in color. Eggs may look like tiny grains of rice and will be in clusters. Alert the hotel owner immediately if you spot these critters and change hotels because it is likely that adjoining rooms are infested.
3. Keep your luggage away from beds and curtains, where bed bugs may be hiding out. Instead, opt for hanging items in plastic dress or suit bags in closets when traveling. Keep all toiletries sealed in plastic bags and containers as well.
4. Buy only new items from local shops, and avoid buying from thrift shops and charities while on vacation. That “great deal” you found may turn into an expensive bed bug treatment once you get back to your home or office.
5. Upon return, keep your luggage in the garage until you can inspect it for any stowaways. Most bugs will die within 48 to 72 hours, but be sure to immediately call Cayce Exterminating if you spot any unwanted pests in your luggage before putting your cases back into home storage.
6. Thoroughly wash all clothing and bedding in the hottest water possible upon return from your trip followed by the highest setting on your dryer. Remember to respect your neighbors by not using the local Laundromat to clean your clothes following vacation if you can avoid this.
Have more questions about avoiding bedbugs when you travel? Contact pest control experts Cayce Exterminating.