Bedbugs are the last thing you want to worry about while on vacation. They turn a relaxing trip into quite the opposite. We all cringe at the thought of having the tiny hitchhikers catch a ride with us, but with these great tips, spotting them is easy. Let us help you avoid a nasty experience from ruining your getaway with tips on how to avoid and deal with bedbugs while traveling or you can use these valuable tips at home.
What are Bedbugs?
Bedbugs are small, brown, oval-shaped insects that resemble something of an apple seed. They feed on blood and are great at latching on to luggage and clothing. They’re also incredibly tiny which makes them difficult to spot.
Before going on your trip.
First, don’t bring a pillow or blanket from home – this just gives them another place to hide and come back with you. Pack a flashlight for an inspection of your room once you arrive and for your luggage at the end of the trip.
Light colored and plastic luggage is best. Bed bugs don’t like plastic and bright colors make them easier to see against their dark shell. Pack white garbage bags in case you need to separate any belongings if they do latch on to you.
How do I check for them?
While doing an inspection may seem a bit excessive, you will be happy you took the time if you, unfortunately, do find one of these little buggers. Doing an inspection of your room once you arrive is ideal. Put your luggage on a hard surface like a counter or in a bathtub rather than the carpet or bed. Use something with a hard edge like a credit card for checking edges and use a flashlight to check dark corners of the closets, and drawers.
Inspecting the sleeping area is arguably the most important part. Slowly lift up each corner of the mattress to check each section for fecal staining (dark brown or reddish spots). Don’t forget the headboard, the box spring, the wall behind the bed, the pillows and each crevice you can reach/see. Usually, at hotels, the bedspreads are white which makes it easier to see a dark bug. Don’t store anything under your bed and keep your shoes in an open area for the duration of your stay.
How do I know if I have bed bugs?
The most common way we realize we have bed bugs is when we look down and see tiny bites on our bodies. They’re itchy, red, resemble the feeling of a mosquito bite and are plain uncomfortable. Bed bugs often leave straight rows of bites, instead of spreading out their trail like other insects that bite.
Preventing bed bugs when you return home
To be safe, bring all of your luggage or infected items into the garage or another space that isn’t directly inside of your home. Empty all belongings and do another thorough check with a flashlight. Wash all of your clothing in hot water. Hot water will kill any bugs if you did pick any up. For dry non-washable items, throw them in your dryer on high heat for half an hour. Vacuum your luggage and empty the dust collector into a garbage bag right away.
Where bedbugs can be found in the home
Bed bugs tend to be in spaces where many occupants sleep or where there is a large traffic like a college dorm or a hotel. Bugs love to hide in bed frames, mattresses, and box springs because they love parts of the home where people sleep more than anything. Since bed bugs are flatly shaped, they can be found in cracks and crevices of rooms and furniture and they can travel through spaces in walls and pipes holes. Given they like warmth, bed bugs can hide out in laptops and charge ports which you may carry into other rooms.
How do I stop the spread?
There are a couple of things you can do to make your home less desirable for bed bugs. Vacuum the bed, box springs, and carpets often to remove bugs and eggs, seal all tears with duct tape, and keep the bed isolated by pulling it away from the wall. Dispose the vacuum contents in a plastic sealable bags and remove it from your home immediately. Like clothes, wash and dry the bedding on high heat weekly. Leave the pillows in the dryer on high temperatures for 20-minute cycles as well. For security, do not let the sheets touch the floor or carpets. Decluttering the bed and floors will eliminate hiding areas and help you see clearer.
Thinking about bed bugs makes us all squirm. Indeed, you don’t want to be thinking about them while you’re traveling or come home to them from relaxation town. But taking the precautions could cause you to avoid the extreme annoyance and stress that comes with pesky bedbugs. Remember, if the infestation keeps growing, call professionals.
Source: Health Canada and USA.Gov/Health