Preparing for Spring Break Travel in 2022
Spring Break 2022 is here! If you can afford the fuel to head out on the open road, more than likely, you will not be the only one. While you are on your adventure, it is very possible that you will encounter a few hitchhikers. There may be an occasional desperate, broke college student hitching a ride across the country south to the white sands. You may also encounter some desperately unwanted hitchhikers aboard the planes, trains, Ubers & Lyfts, in the hotels, beach condos, and bed & breakfast venues. Be on the lookout for bed bugs looking for a ride back to the confines of your comfortable home. Bed bugs are notorious for hitchhiking on a garment or bag and being transported to another location. No one wants to arrive home only to have to deal with a bed bug infestation a few weeks or months later. With these great tips, this spring is a great time to enjoy a safe and bed bug-free vacation.
So, the question is: are you ready? Do you have a plan of action to identify bed bugs before you transport them home? Do you know how to eradicate them for your customers in the most effective way? Here are a few tips to help you prepare for spring break and enjoy a safe and bed bug-free vacation whether you are a traveler, hotel, an administrator of public transportation or a rideshare vehicle, or pest control operator.
- For the Traveler
Before selecting a hotel, motel, inn, Airbnb, VRBO, or Bed & Breakfast, check the recent reviews on Google or in the Bed Bug Registry. It is important to keep in mind, however, that any place that has guests coming and going could have bed bugs in a room at one time or another. It is a myth that bed bugs only inhabit dirty places. Even a high-end, clean guest room can be inhabited by bed bugs. The next steps are vital to keeping yourself and your possessions bed bug-free.
Be sure you know what a bed bug looks like. The adult bed bug looks similar to an apple seed – flat, oval shaped without wings. They are usually a rusty brown color. The nymphs are clear but will change to a bright red after feeding. They will shed their skins as they grow, and you will find them lying around. Bed bug eggs are white and very small, about the size of a pin head. If you want to know more about what a bed bug looks like at every stage, read our blog ‘how to identify a bed bug’ and view accompanying pictures.
Bedrooms and living areas of hospitality properties should be thoroughly inspected prior to unpackaging to avoid any possibilities of bed bugs getting into your belongings. It is a good idea to set your luggage and belongings in the bathroom on the tile floor while you do the inspection. Begin with the beds. It is vitally important to pull back the bed sheets to inspect the box spring and mattress seams. Use a flashlight to do a visual inspection of the headboard and upholstered furniture. If you see anything suspicious, you should notify management immediately and request to change rooms.
In addition to these important steps, Lights Out Bed Bug Spray will kill bed bugs on contact. Spraying Lights Out on your luggage before traveling will prevent you from bringing these pesky bugs home. Lights Out is non-toxic, all-natural, and it really works!
During the stay, keep an eye out for bites that appear in a cluster, a path or highway, across your body.
Upon arriving home, be sure to inspect all suitcases, hand bags, and boxes for any signs of bed bugs prior to unpacking or bringing anything into your home. When you arrive home, clothes should be laundered immediately using a washer and dryer. Vacuum soft textile luggage and wipe down hard-surfaced items such as laptops and cases.
If you find that you have allowed some hitch-hiking bed bugs into your house, consider selecting a pest control professional who treats with heat. Raising the indoor temperature with the thermostat or space heaters won’t do the job. Special high-temp rated heat equipment is necessary for successful heat treatment. However, it is possible that black plastic bags in the sun or laying your suitcase open in a hot car on a sunny day may work to kill bed bugs in luggage or small items if the contents become hot enough. Bed bugs die when their body temperatures reach 111°-113°F.
- For the Hotelier
Verify that your staff is ready. For new employees, initiate a training campaign to identify bed bugs and what to do if bed bugs are found in a room. For seasoned employees, simple reminders for the housekeepers of how to check a room for bed bugs would be beneficial.
Does your hotel have a plan in place for how to handle bed bugs? If not, begin working on setting up a plan. Decide if you will hire a pest control company to handle your bed bug issues or if you will invest in a bed bug heater to save money and keep the treatments in-house.
- For the admin of public transportation or a rideshare vehicle
Think through your treatment options, don’t automatically reach for a spray can. Try other things first. Integrated pest management (IPM) techniques may reduce the number of bed bugs and limit your contact with pesticides. If pesticides are needed, always follow label directions or hire a professional.
- For the PCO
What is your gameplan? Is your staff prepared to answer the questions that are presented by customers who are panicked because they have picked up bed bugs on their spring break vacation? Consider heat when the calls begin to come in to the office for bed bugs treatments. Whether it is an electric bed bug heater or a propane bed bug heater, heat has been proven to be very effective against bed bugs.
Bed bugs are spring break bound, and they can ruin your vacation. But, with a quick inspection, you can put bed bugs out of your mind and enjoy your stay. Have fun, be safe, and call us if you have any questions pertaining to bed bugs or disinfectant products.