Are you planning on traveling for the holidays? Are you worried about bringing bed bugs back with you? With the steady increase of bed bug activity across the country, many people share your concern. Bed bugs are becoming more and more common and the chances of encountering them are pretty high.
Whether you’re taking a business trip or visiting Aunt Edna for the holidays, there is a good chance that you may come in contact with a bed bug infested area. There’s no need to panic. The best thing to do is to become informed.
- The little buggers don’t fly, but they are good hitchhikers and can easily climb onto luggage or clothing which is how infestations are usually spread. Most people know that bed bugs are typically found in places where people sleep like beds in apartments, houses, hotels and motels, but they have actually been found almost anywhere people visit. This includes public transportation (taxis, planes, cruise ships, etc.), department stores, movie theaters, office buildings, schools, churches, and various other places.
- Bed bugs do not discriminate. They don’t care if you are rich or poor or dirty or clean. A swanky five star hotel is just as likely to have bed bugs as the seedy no-tell motel down the street.
- Bed bugs may be icky but they are not dangerous. According to a recent survey conducted by the National Pest Management Association, the fear of being bitten was at the top of the list of concerns associated with getting bed bugs. Bed bugs have not been proven to transmit any disease and their bites are relatively painless. The typical reaction to a bed bug bite is a red swollen bump that occurs at the site of the bite with perhaps some itching, while it is estimated about 40% of the population does not react to bed bug bites at all. In rare cases, moderate to severe allergic reactions can occur.
So, if the bed bug bites are painless with no long-lasting effects or disease associated with them why do people fear them? The most likely reason is because they feed on us while we sleep in our beds. The idea of something sucking out our blood while we are supposed to be safe and snug at night is psychologically troubling and quite unsettling. There may be no concern for disease, but there can be stress and psychological trauma associated with having them.
Packing and Checking In
- Consider a hard-shelled suitcase, offering fewer crevices where bugs can hide.
- Check for bed bugs before unpacking or settling into your room. Avoid putting your baggage on the bed or on the floor—use the luggage rack or place luggage in the bathroom while you inspect the room. For the duration of your stay, consider hanging clothing in the closet or keep your luggage on the dresser.
- Pull back the sheets from the mattress and look for bugs along the seams or tiny blood spots on the mattress or sheets. Look along the edges and in the seams.
- Inspect the headboard and behind it.
- Examine upholstered furniture and window treatments.
- Notify management immediately and change rooms or hotels if you see evidence of bed bugs.
- Before you bring your suitcase into the house, vacuum off luggage and consider using a brush to scrub items that can’t be washed.
- Unpack immediately and launder all clothes in hot water and dry on high heat.
If you inadvertently bring bed bugs home with you and discover bed bugs in your home, call Terminix immediately. The faster we can come out to inspect and assess the situation, the easier it will be to get them eliminated. A small infestation is cheaper and easier to control than one that has had time to spread.