Apparently, like people, bed bugs enjoy traveling, because the little buggers are becoming a major problem for hotels and hotel guests. While the thought of a bed bug infestation can be a disturbing one, don’t let it keep you from a fun vacation in Georgia and the Southeast. Just take steps to avoid bringing them home. At Active Pest Control, we have plenty of experience with eliminating bed bugs, so here are a few simple ways you can cancel bed bugs’ travel plans.
Knowledge Is Power
To avoid a bed bug infestation, it’s important to know what the little beasties look like. Adult bugs are about the size of an apple seed, and they’re usually a reddish-brown color. This insect species does not have wings, and their bodies are flat. The pests typically come out at night to feed on your blood because you’re an easy target when you’re sleeping. You won’t feel them feed, but you’ll likely spot red welts on your body afterward.
The one, and only, good thing about bed bugs is that they don’t transmit diseases. However, some people may be allergic to them. They are attracted to blood, carbon dioxide, and warmth. Some studies have found that they are also attracted to dirty clothes, so keep this in mind when you’re traveling. If you suspect that you’ve come into contact with the critters, then be sure to take bed bug control steps like calling a professional pest control company.
How to Avoid Bed Bugs When Traveling
People often discover bed bug infestations following a trip. The reason for this is that popular travel sites attract people from all over the world, and those people bring the bugs on vacation with them inadvertently. To avoid returning home with the insects, it’s important to check your hotel room for bed bug signs.
Before admiring your room’s view or grabbing a snack from the minibar, do a bed bug sweep. Until you’ve determined that your room is free of them, store your luggage in the bathroom. This is the best storage place for your things because the bathroom is the least likely place to find the bugs. Missy Henriksen, the National Pest Management Association’s vice president of public affairs, says the reason for this is that “They don’t like the tile floors, and there aren’t as many hiding places. They like to be closer to where people may be sleeping.”
Where to Look for Bed Bugs
Inspect your hotel room’s bedding. Pull the linens back and search for bed bugs and the signs of them all around the bed. Kick your inspection up a notch by peeking under the mattress and behind the headboard. Bed bug signs include small specks of blood stains or tiny black dots that remind most people of ground pepper or mold. You should also keep your eyes peeled for the actual bugs. If a hotel is infested with them, you may spot live bugs crawling around and hiding in the seams or corners of the room’s bedding.
Expand your search to the area around the bed. This may include looking behind picture frames, under the alarm clock, and beneath the telephone. If there are books, flip through the pages. According to studies, most bed bugs stay within 15 feet or so from the bed. However, you may spot them a bit further away. Because of this, it’s worth your time to check in the seams and cushions of any sofas or soft chairs in the room. Don’t forget to inspect the closet for signs of them before stashing your luggage inside.
Take Bed Bug Inspections to the Next Level
To help avoid a potential bed bug infestation, store your luggage off the ground. When you place it on a carpeted area of the floor or on any of the beds, you may just wind up with some guests who won’t leave. Besides the bathroom, the safest place for luggage is on a desk, perched on a luggage rack, or stored on top of a dresser.
If the thought of bringing bed bugs home with you makes your skin crawl, then kick your protection efforts up another notch by wrapping your suitcases in plastic. You can purchase suitcase-sized plastic covers from storage and luggage retailers. Garbage bags for yard debris will do in a pinch. When you wrap your belongings in plastic, they’ll also be protected during transit. Keep in mind that the bugs can also hide on airplanes, taxis, and even trains.
What to Do When You Return Home
If you spot a bed bug or the signs of an infestation in your hotel room, then take precautions to avoid an infestation once you return home. To make sure your property does not become infested, you should unpack your suitcase outside of your home. Unload it in your garage or even on a blanket in your yard. Inspect every item, and if you want to be extra-sure, wash everything in hot water or put it through a dry cycle. If you need to wash delicate items, keep in mind that even a low dry cycle will kill the bugs.
You can also disinfect your suitcase with “no-pest” strips. Place your suitcases with the strips in them inside garbage bags. Seal the bags and store them in your garage or outside for at least two weeks. The pesticide in the strips will fumigate the bag and kill any bed bugs.
Active Pest Control Knows Bed Bug Control
Though it may seem like a lot of extra work to protect yourself from bed bugs, you shouldn’t worry too much. If you’re vigilant enough about checking your hotel room for bed bugs in the first place, you should be able to avoid bringing them home. And while infestations can be stressful, the bed bug control professionals at Active Pest Control have the experience and knowledge necessary to tackle the problem.
If you do feel like you may have accidentally brought a hitchhiking bed bug home, contact us immediately for a free inspection and a little peace of mind.
Bed Bugs in Georgia: A Guide for Georgia Travelers in Georgia
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