Avoiding Bugs When Traveling

It’s vacation season, how can you avoid bringing extra guests home??

One of the theoretical reasons that bed bugs have been having such a comeback is travel.  People are traveling more than ever, and unfortunately, that is great for bed bugs as traveling in peoples belongings is how bed bugs move from place to place.

So how can you prevent bringing home an unwanted guest or two with you when you travel?

If you stay in a hotel or motel, keep these bed bug travel tips in mind. It is important that you take some precautions to ensure that your room is bed-bug free before you settle in. In a recent survey by NPMA, 75% of pest control professionals indicated that they have encountered infestations of bed bugs in hotels and motels. The NPMA recommends the following tips for bed bug prevention when traveling:

  • At hotels, pull back the sheets and inspect the mattress seams, particularly at the corners, for telltale stains or spots. If you see anything suspect, notify management and change rooms/establishments immediately.
  • Thoroughly inspect the entire room before unpacking, including behind the headboard and in sofas/chairs. If any pests are spotted, change rooms/establishments immediately.
  • If you do need to change rooms, be sure that you do not move to a room adjacent and/or directly above/below the suspected infestation.  Bed bugs can easily hitchhike via housekeeping carts, luggage and even through wall sockets. If an infestation is spreading, it typically does so in the rooms closest to the origin.
  • Consider placing your suitcase in a plastic trash bag or protective cover during the duration of your trip to ensure that bed bugs cannot take up residence there prior to departure.
  • Remember: bed bugs travel by hitching rides. After your trip, inspect your suitcases before bringing them into the house. Vacuum your suitcase thoroughly before storing away. Consider using a garment hand steamer to steam your luggage, which will kill any bed bugs or eggs that may have hitched a ride home.
  • Wash all of your clothes – even those that have not been worn – in hot water to ensure that any bed bugs that may have made it that far are not placed into your drawers/closet
  • Avoid setting your luggage on the bed, and, if possible, do not unpack more than necessary.
  • Use the bathroom as a storage place for your luggage until you have inspected the room.
  • If there is a closet, try to hang your luggage inside.
  • Avoid using the dressers in hotel rooms.
  • Thoroughly wash and dry all your clothing/linens immediately after unpacking.  If this is not possible, put your belongings into plastic bags until it can be washed.

You do not have to be scared of bed bugs, but you should be aware of your surroundings and what steps you can take to avoid bringing bed bugs home with you when traveling.