Sadly, bed bugs have become an increasingly common concern in American homes. They are found in all 50 states, and they spread easily. Homeowners often bring bed bugs home after staying in a hotel or other vacation accommodation, so as you travel this summer, you should be wary of these pests. Below, you’ll find some advice to help you avoid bringing bed bugs home from your summer vacation.
What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?
The first step in bed bug prevention is learning to identify them. You may have heard that bed bugs are too small to see without help, but that’s not true. Bed bugs are a reddish-brown color and are about the size and shape of an apple seed. They do not have visible wings and cannot fly. Bed bugs are sometimes confused with fleas, but fleas are much smaller and darker in color.
How Do You Check for Bed Bugs?
The myth that bed bugs are invisible may come from the fact that they’re good at hiding. You’ll rarely see them out in the open, so you’ll need to be proactive about checking for them whenever you stay in a hotel or other travel accommodation. Check your room for bed bugs before you bring in any of your luggage and before you sit or lie on any of the furniture.
Some places to check for bed bugs include:
- The seams of mattresses and cushions
- Cracks on bed frames and headboards
- Along baseboards
Sometimes you may not see any actual bugs, but you may see tiny, reddish brown spots on sheets or mattresses. These are stains left by bed bug feces. If you see either stains or actual, live bed bugs, do not bring your luggage into the room. Instead, find another place to stay.
How Else Can You Avoid Bringing Bed Bugs Home?
Even higher-end hotels deal with bed bugs from time to time, so choosing better accommodations won’t necessarily keep you safe. Check reviews before booking a room. If recent reviewers say they’ve had trouble with bed bugs, don’t stay in that hotel.
You should still check your room for bed bugs, whether you paid $50 or $500 for your stay. And even if you don’t find any evidence of bed bugs, you should avoid storing your luggage on the carpet or bed where bugs could crawl into it. Keep your items in your suitcase rather than unpacking them and keeping them in a hotel dresser. Hang up any coats rather than draping them over chairs or the bed.
What Should You Do if You Stayed Somewhere With Bed Bugs?
What if, after staying in a certain hotel, you realize there may have been bed bugs in your room? There are a few other precautions you can take to make sure you don’t introduce these pests to your home and incite an infestation:
- Place your luggage and shoes on the patio or porch when you get home, rather than bringing them inside.
- Wash your clothing in hot water and dry it on high heat for 30 minutes to kill adult bed bugs and their eggs.
- Treat items like shoes and your suitcase with heat or insecticides before bringing them indoors.
- Send non-washable clothing to the dry cleaners immediately. Place them in sealed plastic bags before transporting them so you don’t introduce bed bugs to your car.
By learning how to identify bed bugs, checking your room for them, and taking a few other precautions, you can ensure you don’t bring bed bugs home from your summer vacation. If you are concerned that there may be bed bugs in your home, contact PermaTreat Pest and Termite Control. Our team will inspect your home, and if needed, recommend an extermination method that’s right for you.