Since the pandemic ended, traveling has become increasingly more common again, whether it’s during the summer for a vacation or during the holidays at the end of the year. It is important to know how to prevent bed bugs while traveling and avoid going home and dealing with a problem that could have been avoided.
About Bed Bugs
Being educated on the appearance and signs of bed bugs is crucial to preventing infestations. Bed bugs are the size of an apple seed and have a flat and oval-shaped body that is reddish-brown. They are nocturnal, and do their feeding at night where a host sleeps like in beds, mattresses, box springs, bed frames, and upholstered furniture. During the day, they hide in these spaces to remain undisturbed and be able to reproduce. Females can lay hundreds of eggs in their lifetime. Eggs are laid in secluded areas and take 1-2 weeks to hatch (depending on the environmental conditions).
While knowing their behaviors and how they look, it is important to learn the signs that indicate the presence of bed bugs.
- Bites - Inspect your body for any bites that are present. These bites will appear small and red and are primarily in clusters or a line on the skin. They can become inflamed or irritated and usually appear after a day or two after being bitten.
- Blood stains and dark spots - While sleeping, it’s common to squish bed bugs that are present, and they can leave blood stains on sheets or pillowcases especially after they have finished feeding. They can also leave dark spots on mattresses, bedding, or furniture. These dark spots are feces they leave behind.
- Odor and shed skins - As bed bugs grow, they will shed their skin, which look like translucent, empty exoskeletons. You may notice these while inspecting your belongings. In severe infestations, a musty odor can be left behind that is left from a bed bug's scent glands.
Tips to Prevent Bed Bugs While Traveling
While enjoying your travels, here are some tips to implement and use to prevent bed bugs.
- Inspecting your accommodation - When you arrive at where you are staying, inspecting for any dark spots, shed skin, or live bed bugs in the furniture and bedding is important. While doing this inspection, use a flashlight to see in dark areas like behind the headboard, along the seams of a mattress, and in furniture.
- Use luggage racks - Avoid keeping your luggage with your belongings on the floor or the furniture in the room. Using luggage racks or placing them on hardwood surfaces can prevent bed bugs as these spaces are less likely to harbor them.
- Seal your belongings - Making sure to protect your belongings while you travel is important. Keep things in resealable plastic bags or containers to keep your clothes and other belongings in to prevent bed bugs from getting into them.
- Wash and dry your clothes - Once you get back home, or even before you leave, it’s important to wash and dry your clothes. The important aspect of this would be washing with hot water, and drying in high heat. Bed bugs are sensitive to high temperatures and will die off along with their eggs in these conditions.
Actions to Take
What many don’t realize is how common bed bugs are, as they are easily transferable from place to place. If you do happen to experience them, here are steps to take to easily deal with them.
- Consult with a pest control company - As much as you would like to handle it yourself, bed bugs are one of the most difficult pests to deal with. Especially since they can reproduce by the hundreds, it’s better to consult with a licensed and trained pest professional. With Spidexx, we include a thorough checklist on what to continue to do along with the treatment, to successfully make your home bed bug-free.
- Clean, clean, clean - The checklist we provide includes daily cleaning tasks to decrease the bed bug populations. We suggest vacuuming, washing and drying clothes, removing belongings, and having protective covers over your mattress and belongings. Completing these tasks will prevent bed bugs from having an environment that they can easily reproduce and live in.
- Monitor and follow up - Even after the treatment, it’s still important to monitor the areas for any signs of bedbugs and continue any recommended post-treatment tasks. This will prevent you from having an infestation and keep your home safe.
- Dry your clothing on high heat - When you get home from vacation, do not bring luggage indoors right away. Start by washing and drying all your clothing on a high heat setting for at least 45 minutes. Next, visually inspect the rest of your belongings and suitcase. To take an extra step, you can place your suitcase in a heavy duty garbage bag and store it in the garage for several weeks.
Doing your part in practicing these tips while traveling, and staying vigilant in knowing the signs of bed bugs will make a whole difference. If you have any questions regarding our bed bug treatment or want to schedule an inspection to be safe, please call our office at (844) 922-7732.