When people travel, they may be exposed to bed bug infestations after staying in hotels. Bed bugs do not normally travel on people, but rather on their backpacks, purses or luggage. Because of their hitchhiking ability, bed bugs can invade a hotel when people travel. Due to their cryptic nature, the bed bugs may not be seen for a period of time. This means you may bring a hitchhiking bed bug home in your luggage or bags after you travel. While there isn’t a way to guarantee you’ll never pick up bed bugs, there are a few good practices you can follow to help avoid bed bugs while you travel.
Inspect the bed
The very first thing you should do to reduce your odds of bringing bed bugs home is to inspect the bed. Some of the common signs of bed bug activity in beds include:
- Clusters of bed bugs in the seams of mattresses and box springs
- Cast skins, insect shells, from developing bed bug nymphs
- Dark brown or red smears on sheets. Keep an eye on the sheets in the hotel you’re staying at. Fecal matter or blood stains after a bed bug has fed is often a helpful sign for spotting an infestation.
Make sure to check the bed frame, bed slats, and headboard using a flashlight if possible (a phone flashlight can even help). If an infestation is bad, you may also see adult bed bugs, since they are visible to the naked eye. While you should thoroughly inspect the bed for signs of bed bugs, you should also make sure to inspect other areas where bed bugs could be hiding. This includes upholstered furniture, cracks in wood floors, the edges of carpets, and luggage racks.
Keep luggage elevated
Speaking of the luggage rack, once you’ve inspected it to make sure it does not have bed bugs, you should keep your bags on dressers or luggage racks throughout your stay. Additionally, you should not place bags and personal items on furnishings that are upholstered as they may hold bed bugs. Travelers should also keep all of their personal belongings closed when not in use. Finally, it is a good idea to search for bed bugs through your personal items once when leaving the hotel and another time before re-entering your ho me.
Consider plastic bags
If you’re wary of bed bugs, you might consider keeping your belongings in plastic bags with in your suitcase. This will create a seal that will help lessen the chance that a bed bug will find its way onto your stuff.
Be diligent when you return home
If possible, keep your luggage separated from other areas where bed bugs might want to make themselves at home. To be on the safe side, you might want to consider throwing your clothes directly into the dryer if garment instructions permit drying on high heat. Generally, it’s a good idea to inspect your luggage after you return home from a trip. If you’re able, empty your suitcase on a non-carpeted surface so any bed bugs that may have hitched a ride cannot immediately hide.
As mentioned, there is, unfortunately, no way to be 100% certain that if you follow these precautions you won’t have to deal with bed bugs. It’s important to note that there is usually no direct correlation between cleanliness and a bed bug infestation—so even a clean hotel could run into an issue. However, keeping these tips in mind can help you avoid bed bugs when traveling.
If you suspect you’re dealing with a bed bug problem, don’t wait to contact Terminix. The sooner you contact a Terminix pest professional, the sooner we can help you get rid of an infestation.