How easy is it to pick up bed bug hitchhikers? Well, bed bugs actually hitch rides easily to just about anywhere, making bringing bed bugs wherever you travel a reality. Cars, airplanes, busses, hotels, Airbnbs, VRBOs, clothing and furniture stores, ride-sharing (e.g. Uber and Lyfts) are all examples of places from where you can bring these critters home.
Bringing bed bugs or eggs can happen when you don’t take the right preventive measure – starting with educating yourself on common bed bugs. Remember it’s MYTH that bed bugs can only be found in dirty hotels or motels. Bed bugs DO NOT discriminate. They are an invasive species that can survive for long periods of time even when the temperature drops. They will live in the cracks and crevices of even the cleanest mattress and box spring. Because they are attracted to blood, warmth, and carbon dioxide, bed bugs travel wherever they can find their next meal. Therefore, you can also find them in your clean luxurious 5-star hotels. And if they travel back with you from a trip, bed bug infestations may be the unwanted souvenir from your vacation.
Avoid Bed Bugs From Traveling Back Home With You
To prevent bed bugs from traveling back home with you, thorough inspections of any room and luggage racks where you will be staying is key. Look for the presence of adult bed bugs and bed bug eggs. You generally can do this without any extra tools, but a flashlight can be useful.
- Check the places where bed bugs live such as the bedding and mattress seams. Check the box spring and headboard before sleeping. Inspect the bedding seams, folds of fabric and staples closely – anywhere a bedbug can safely nestle away.
- Look for signs of bed bugs themselves, shells, blood spots, droppings on the back of the headboard. It may also smell musty due to the pheromones they release.
- Inspect luggage racks. Don’t place your luggage on the bed or the floor, if possible.
- Know the difference between bed bug bites and the bites of other insects.
Your number one priority should be making sure that you don’t bring bed bugs or eggs into your home after traveling. The most important thing for travelers concerned about bed bugs is to inspect your luggage and belongings before re-entering your home.
- Upon returning home, unpack directly into a washing machine and inspect your luggage carefully. Remember that time in a dryer at high temperatures kills the bed bugs. Just washing will generally NOT kill bed bugs.
- Place luggage inside of a sealed plastic bag or another container that can prevent an infestation from growing.
- Store suitcases away from your bedroom, such as in the basement or garage. Never store suitcases under your bed.
Effectively Deal with Bed Bug Infestations
The fear of bed bugs when traveling shouldn’t keep you from seeing the world. It starts by taking the right preventative measure and the ability to spot bed bugs or eggs. By following these tips you can greatly reduce the likelihood that traveling will inadvertently introduce bed bugs into your home.
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