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Holiday Travel? Worried About Bed Bugs?

By Chris Williams on December 19, 2013.

Bed bugs from travelingDoes your upcoming holiday travel include a stay in a hotel, or motel, or guest cottage, resort, or similar lodgings? In the back of your mind, are you a little worried about bringing home bed bugs?

First, don’t be overly concerned. Bed bugs are not as widespread in travel lodgings as the media would have you believe. Follow your gut. If that place looks like it could have bed bugs…then it could have bed bugs. Unless you’re in the habit of staying in dives or hostels, you should be fine if you just arm yourself with some basic bed bug knowledge, bed bug inspection tips, and protective measures. Following are a bunch of bed bug travel tips gleaned from various experts. You can follow some of these, or all of these, depending on how worried you are about bringing bed bugs home!

Travel Tips to Avoid Bringing Home Bed Bugs

  • Hard-sided, clamshell luggage is less attractive to bed bugs than soft-sided, fabric luggage. Bed bugs like textured surfaces.
  • Try to pack clothing that can be washed in hot water and that can go in the dryer…because that will be your first step when you get home.
  • Small electronics, toiletries, and items that can’t be laundered should be kept in zip-lock or similar bags inside your suitcase.
  • Place a few extra large garbage bags and twist ties in your car for the end of the trip (see below).
  • Pack a small, high intensity flashlight for a quick bed bug inspection before you unpack in the hotel. Put it on top for easy, first access.
  • Unless you suspect bed bugs, a quick inspection of the bed and immediate surrounding area should do. Using a flashlight, check behind the headboard, between the mattress and box spring, and in the track where the box spring sits on the frame. Pull one corner of the fitted sheet back and check the seams of the mattress. Check behind pictures on the wall. You’re looking not just for the bugs themselves packed into crevices, but also for shed bug skins and bug poop or blood spots on sheets and mattresses.
  • Don’t place your luggage on the bed or on upholstered furniture, and try to keep it up off of the floor. Use the luggage rack. Keep your suitcase closed at all times. If you’re really concerned, don’t put your clothes in the drawers unless they’re sealed in plastic bags.
  • Before you place your luggage in your car for the ride home, place it in a large, heavy duty plastic garbage bag and tie it off. This restricts any bed bugs to your luggage and protects your car.
  • Once home, unpack your suitcase outside, in the garage, or somewhere other than your bedroom. Wash everything that can be washed in hot water and dry in the dryer for 30 minutes. After you’ve emptied and checked your suitcase, store it sealed in a fresh garbage bag until its next use.
  • If you discover bed bugs upon your return home, you need additional help. Contact a professional pest management company.

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