As if there weren’t enough things to worry about while traveling, you can now add bed bugs to the list. These tiny, parasitic insects can be found in virtually every region of the world and they love to make their homes in human objects, including luggage, clothing, and ultimately, beds. If you are a traveler, this means that bed bugs can be found virtually wherever you are — including hotels, libraries, public transportation vehicles, and many other human-inhabited spaces. Resilient and difficult to locate, bed bugs are some of the hardiest hitchhikers out there. When you travel, it’s important to take steps to ensure that you avoid bringing bed bugs home with you. In this guide, our bed bug removal experts at PrevSol will show you how to prevent passenger bed bugs on your travels and how to deal with them once you have picked up these unwanted travel companions.
Pack for Protection and Prevention
Since bed bugs love to make their homes in human objects like clothing and luggage, one of the best things you can do to guard against bed bugs on your travels is to properly protect the objects you take with you. You may not be able to stop bed bugs from hanging out in your hotel room, but you can certainly keep them from hopping into your suitcase. The best way to do this is to travel with luggage that also functions as a bed bug treatment. ThermalStrike carry-on luggage is a TSA-approved way to make sure you don’t bring bedbugs home with you! The bag can reach over 120 degrees Fahrenheit, killing bedbugs at all life-stages and ensuring no pest are in your room or in your stuff! If opt for a less high-tech way of travel, be sure to bring a large plastic trash bag (or two) to completely cover your suitcases wherever you are sleeping. This will keep bed bugs out of your luggage, which will greatly reduce your chances of taking any parasitic passengers home with you. Most public health departments also recommend bringing a few plastic bags or sealable containers to protect clothing for those travelers that plan to use bureau drawers for storage.
Other bed bug prevention items you should pack on your travels include a small flashlight to help you find bed bugs, bed bug monitors to attract and trap any bed bugs that may be in the room, and the EPA’s wallet-sized bed bug ID printout to help you know what to look for during your room and luggage inspection.
Thoroughly Inspect Your Space
When you first arrive at your hotel or rental, you should always inspect your space for pests or other hazards before unpacking. In the case of bed bugs, you’ll want to leave your luggage outside or in the bathtub (the least likely spot for bed bugs) before beginning our inspection. Consult your bed bug ID card so you know what type of insect to look for, and then use your flashlight to search in all of the dark, cramped hiding spots that bed bugs love.
So, where are these hiding spots? There are a number places in any given hotel room or rental where bed bugs love to hide. Start your inspection with your bed. Pull back your bedding, including all sheets and mattress toppers. Check the seams and folds in each piece of bedding for adult bugs and smaller, nearly-translucent nymphs. (These are baby bugs.) Keep your eyes open for dark-red excrement as well. This is a telltale sign of a bed bug infestation, even when the bed bugs themselves cannot be found.
Check your pillows and their seams, as well as all surfaces of any upholstered furniture in your room. If your bed has a headboard, be sure to look behind it and underneath it. Many hotel headboards are attached to the wall with a hanging apparatus and can be easily removed. Other places to check for bed bugs include the insides of nightstands and bureaus as well as the backsides of picture frames and mirrors.
Store and Repack Safely
Though inspections can often help in identifying bed bugs, they are not guaranteed to work 100% of the time. Bed bugs are, after all, quite difficult to spot. To ensure that you keep yourself and your belongings safe and bedbug-free while you travel, choose strategic storage spaces for your clothing and luggage. Keep suitcases on luggage racks (and away from the bed) whenever possible. Don’t leave clothes or other objects lying around on upholstered furniture. Be sure to keep all zippered openings closed when not in use. When repacking for your journey home, do one more thorough check for any signs of bed bugs in your belongings.
Once you’ve arrived at your home, we recommend washing all clothes and luggage and placing applicable articles in the dryer on “high.” The dryer temperature at this setting is typically enough to kill bed bugs and their eggs, which die at 111?F and 117?F respectively. All of these measures will help you avoid bringing bed bugs home. Should you happen to have contracted a bed bug infestation, we have several bed bug heaters designed to effectively eliminate bed bug infestations in homes and apartments. Contact our team to learn more today!