Worried That You Brought Bed Bugs Home from Vacation?
By Chris Williams on August 14, 2015.
It’s late summer and people are returning from those last minute vacations before school starts again. But some of you are not as relaxed as you should be because you keep thinking about that one motel that turned out to be a little seedier than its 3-star rating would suggest. Could you have brought bed bugs home with you?
Start Your Trip With a Bed Bug Inspection
Hopefully, when you found yourself in a questionable motel room, you did a check for bed bugs before you even unpacked your bags (see Do I Really Have to Check My Hotel Room for Bed Bugs?). If you suspected bed bugs, you would have been better off not unpacking your bags at all. Some experts suggest that you leave your luggage and clothes encased in a large plastic bag while in the room and that you keep it off of the floor.
Another protective measure is to seal your luggage in a large plastic bag before you put it in your car for the drive home. Once home, isolate your luggage while unpacking and immediately wash and dry clothing. (See How to Avoid Bed Bugs After the Trip!) for more info.
But What if You Didn’t Check for Bed Bugs?
Fine, you’re saying, but we didn’t do any of that and now we’re home. What can we do now? First, don’t panic. The chances of bringing bed bugs home are not nearly as great as the media would have you believe. These days, the hospitality industry is well aware of the issue and tends to be proactive when it comes to bed bugs. Even if a single bed bug crawled into your luggage, chances are nothing would come of it. However if several bugs or a pregnant female bed bug found her way to your home, you could have a problem in a few weeks.
If you did bring bed bugs home, and depending on how long you’ve been home, the bug or bugs have probably dispersed. Even so, washing and drying vacation clothing and other washable items will kill any bed bugs that may remain. Wash all the bed linens too, and while you’re stripping the beds, look for hidden bed bugs or blood spots on the sheets. Store your emptied luggage in sealed plastic bags away from bedrooms or living spaces.
Exterminators Are At Your Service
Don’t apply pesticides as a preventive treatment. Just be diligent. If you have bed bugs, someone in the family will notice nighttime bites before too long. Odds are that won’t happen. If at any point, you suspect bed bugs, or you notice other evidence of bed bugs such as shed skins, blood spots or fecal spots on sheets, contact a professional exterminator like Colonial Pest for an inspection (see How to Pick a Bed Bug Control Company).
Photo credit: Gilles San Martin / Foter / CC BY-SA