If you’re getting ready to travel for the holidays, we want to ensure you’re staying safe from potential pests on the road — or, rather, in the bed. Hotels, in particular, can quickly become a breeding ground for bed bugs, regardless of the hotel’s star rating. And if you bump into bed bugs while traveling, it’s possible to bring them home with you . . . not the kind of souvenir any traveler wants!
The odds of finding bed bugs in your hotel are relatively low, but it’s still worth taking a few minutes to check for signs of bed bugs and take steps to avoid bringing any of these little pests home. And if you have brought them home unknowingly, we at Advantage Termite and Pest Control can help!
Signs of a Bed Bug Infestation
If you’re worried about encountering bed bugs while traveling, here are some signs of bed bug activity to look for when staying at a hotel, rental property, or even in a friend’s guest room:
- Shells or molted bug skins
- An unpleasant, musty smell
- Dark spots on the mattress that look like mold or even rusty-colored blood stains
- Live bed bugs anywhere in the room (small brown bugs the size of a lentil)
If you don’t see any of these signs but wake up with itchy bumps on your skin, there may be bed bugs in the room that you overlooked. Bites from bed bugs usually leave a rash in a cluster or zigzag pattern, and you may notice the itching more at night or first thing in the morning when the bites are fresh.
Three Tips to Avoid Bed Bugs While Traveling
If you’re proactive about checking for bed bugs while traveling, you’ll help yourself avoid an unpleasant bed bug encounter and help the hotel or rental property catch an infestation and take care of it before it spreads. Here are three tips to avoid bed bugs while traveling:
1. Do Your Research
Bed bugs can crop up anywhere, even in the nicest hotels with excellent sanitation practices. Still, it never hurts to do your research before booking your stay. Read reviews from multiple sites on the hotel you’re considering for your trip, keeping an eye out for recent mentions of bed bugs.
If you find a review that’s a few years old but mentions bed bugs, the hotel has likely taken care of the situation, but you should call and talk to them about the issue to investigate how they dealt with it. You can also check this bed bug registry to see if the hotel you’re staying at has recently been reported for bed bug issues.
2. Inspect Your Room
Before bringing your luggage and other belongings into your hotel room, break out a flashlight and quickly inspect the space for signs of bed bugs. Be sure to check all over the bed — sheets, mattress, bed frame, blankets, and pillows — but also give these other parts of the room a good once-over:
- The luggage stand
- Other furniture (especially fabric furniture like couches or accent chairs)
- Around baseboards
- Behind picture frames
Despite their name, bed bugs can be found on more than just beds! They can be found anywhere in the room, so it’s good to cover your bases. If you do find possible signs of bed bug presence in your hotel room, tell the property management team immediately and ask for a new room. If you’ve already found bed bugs in one room, it’s probably wise to check your new room as well to make sure it isn’t a more widespread problem.
3. Protect Your Belongings
Once you’re satisfied that your room is unlikely to have bed bugs, feel free to settle in! However, bed bugs are notoriously difficult to spot, so you should still take extra precautions to avoid inviting them into your luggage to hitch a ride home. Here are some quick dos and don’ts:
- DON’T leave your luggage on the floor
- DO elevate your luggage on a luggage stand or on top of a desk
- DON’T unpack belongings into hotel drawers
- DO keep clothes in your suitcase
- DON’T lay out clothes or other belongings on the bed
What to Do If You Bring Bed Bugs Home
Despite your best efforts, it’s possible you may just not catch the little pests in action and inadvertently bring them home. To eliminate bed bugs that have invited themselves home with you, do the following immediately when you get home:
- Keep your luggage outside of your house and inspect it for signs of bedbugs within the seams and fabric of your luggage as well as in your clothes themselves.
- Unpack your clothing and wash everything in hot water and dry on high heat to wipe out any hidden bed bugs. If you have clothing that can’t be laundered like normal, take it to the dry cleaners. Dry cleaning and steaming will eliminate bed bugs as well.
- Vacuum all around your suitcase (and anywhere else you unpacked your belongings) after returning home from your trip.
- Steam your luggage to take care of any unwelcome guests (a handheld steamer will do the trick just fine!)
If you are still concerned about possible bed bug presence in your home, give us a call at Advantage Termite and Pest Control! We’ll ensure your home is free of bed bugs so you can rest easy knowing you’re the only living creature in your nice, cozy bed at night. Call us at first sight — We do it right!