What You Need to Know About Bed Bugs and Traveling
No matter how much fun you had on vacation, it’s always nice to come home. What’s not nice, however, is bringing a suitcase full of bed bugs home with you. Here is what you need to know about bed bugs while you’re traveling:
What you’re looking for
You probably won’t find any actual bed bugs during your inspection. Instead, you will find remnants of bed bugs that will alert you to their presence in the vicinity. Keep an eye out for brown or black stains, which bed bugs leave behind after they feed. You are more likely to see these stains than the bed bugs themselves, though it is possible that you will encounter an actual bed bug. Alert hotel management immediately if you find either bed bugs or brown/black spots that could have been left by bedbugs. Bed bugs can be contained to a small location, so you might be safe simply switching rooms. Going to another hotel is another option.
Don’t put anything on the bed
It’s tempting to throw your suitcase on the bed and jump in the shower once you have arrived at your hotel, but this is actually a huge mistake. Putting suitcases on the bed is just inviting bed bugs to jump in and follow you home. Instead, place your suitcase in the closet, bathroom, or elsewhere on the floor far away from the bed where bedbugs are less likely to be hanging out. The bathtub is a recommended location to store your suitcase until you have thoroughly investigated the rest of the room. Avoid the luggage rack and drawers as other traveler’s may have unknowingly passed bed bugs on to these areas.
You want to start your inspection of the hotel room immediately. Get out your flashlight and begin by searching the bed. Remove the sheet and mattress pad so that you can thoroughly investigate the mattress and box spring. Move the bed away from the wall so you can access the headboard. Once you have secured the bed, check any other upholstered furniture including chairs, loveseats, and pull-out sofas. Keep checking every day, especially if you wake up with red bumps on your skin as these might be bed bug bites.
During your stay
Even if you haven’t found any bed bugs or any suggestions of bed bugs in your hotel room, you should still take some precautions to make sure you don’t end up bringing bed bugs home with you. First, bring along a separate bag for your dirty laundry. Bed bugs are attracted to the smell of chemicals that are left behind in dirty clothing, so separating dirty clothes into another bag can reduce your chances of bed bugs finding their way in to your home.
Once you get home
As soon as you get home, launder all of the dirty clothes that have been accumulating in your dirty laundry bag. If immediate laundering is not possible, then seal your laundry in a plastic bag until you are able to get to it. The next step is to empty and thoroughly vacuum your suitcase. Instead of throwing the contents of the vacuum in your household trash, discard it in to a separate bag to reduce the chances of bed bugs travelling throughout your home. Store your suitcase in a plastic bag or sealed box so that bed bugs cannot travel around your home if they did end up in your suitcase. Finally, wipe down all the shoes you and your family members wore on your trip with a damp cloth and hot water to get rid of any bed bugs that may have hitched a ride there. Throw the towel away in a separate garbage bag, just like you did with the vacuum contents.
Bed bugs are irritating and downright disgusting, and the amount of people filtering in and out of hotel rooms increases the chances that they are lurking in hotel rooms around the world. Take these precautions to look for bed bugs and make sure they do not follow you home. For more information on what to do when you encounter bed bugs while traveling, contact us today. Find out more about our bed bug treatment Des Moines options here.