Dont let bed bugs hitch a ride during holiday travels


Bed bugs can easily hitch a ride with unsuspecting travelers. While hotels are the most commonly reported location for infestations, all sectors of the travel industry are susceptible. As you prepare for the busiest travel time of the year, there are a few things you can do to help you sleep tight and preserve your holiday cheer. The following information will help you identify, prevent and treat bed bug infestations.
Don’t let bed bugs hitch a ride during holiday travels

How to Identify Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are wingless, light brown to reddish-brown insects with flattened, oval-shaped bodies. Adult bed bugs are approximately one-fourth of an inch long, or about the size of an apple seed. They feed on blood and hide in cracks and crevices near their warm-blooded hosts. They can be found in furniture such as beds, couches, easy chairs, dressers and night tables, as well as electronic devices like alarm clocks and radios.

How Bed Bugs Travel

Infestations usually start when travelers bring bed bugs home in their luggage. Bed bugs are hard to get rid of because they are capable of living up to 12 months without a blood meal. Crowded transportation vehicles like trains, subways and taxies provide bed bugs with opportunities to move from place to place.

Tips to reduce the risk of bed bug problems
  • Check your sleeping room when away from home. Inspect the mattress, box springs and visible parts of the headboard, especially around the edges and seams. Look for little rust colored spots as a sign they’ve been around. Keep your suitcase off the floor (preferably on a flat hard surface or luggage rack) and avoid using the dresser drawers.
  • Once home, inspect your suitcase before bringing it indoors. Unpack and wash clothes in hot water and dry on high heat—the soap and water will help kill the bugs. One remedy for disinfecting your suitcase is to tightly enclose the suitcase in a large, black trash bag and set the bag in the hot sun for a few hours. The heat will kill the bed bugs.
  • Eliminating bed bugs requires professional help. If you think you have an infestation, a trained pest control technician will give you a list of steps to follow, including clearing the floor in the infested room, laundering bed linens and taking apart the bed. Three treatments are recommended by pest control professionals with visits spaced two weeks apart. The repeated treatments are needed because bed bugs can be resistant to some treatments and eggs can survive meaning they may hatch later.

Bed bugs can be found just about anywhere, even in the nicest resorts and well-cleaned homes. By knowing how to spot, prevent and treat them, you will be thankful to arrive back home with happy memories rather than a holiday travel nightmare.

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