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Good night, sleep tight: How to avoid the bed bugs’ bite

86523965Even more than airport delays or toll roads, bed bugs are fast becoming the bane of modern travelers. And these days, the nasty little critters seem to be everywhere.

A survey released in 2013 by the National Pest Management Association shows that bed bug infestations are on the rise. That same survey also showed that hotels are the number one non-residential site for bed bug infestation.

With that in mind, let’s look at five smart ways to keep your hotel room free of bed bugs.

Research your destination

One of the best ways to ensure your hotel bed is comfortably pest-free is to do some pre-trip research. Travel sites that offer customer reviews are an invaluable resource for travelers. Hotel guests who have been unfortunate enough to suffer through bug bites are typically highly motivated to share their tale of woe. Travelers should also note that bed bugs seem to be most active during warm months.

Initiate a thorough bed inspection

Once you’re in the room, it’s time to give your sleeping area a thorough examination. Bed bugs often leave telltale signs of their presence – specifically, dark spots or blotches that are clearly visible on light-colored sheets and fabrics. If your eyesight is sharp enough, you may even spy them in the crooks and crevices of the bedding. Look everywhere from the headboard to the footboard — anywhere a bedbug could find refuge. A flashlight makes a great tool for uncovering evidence of hidden bedbugs.

Expand your search perimeter

If you search the bed and find everything in order, you might be inclined to go ahead and lie down. You’d be making a potentially itchy error, however. Despite their moniker, bed bugs don’t always take up residence in the bed. These persistent little bugs like to spread out, which makes an inspection of nearby chairs and desks a requirement. Books, radios and any other objects within a dozen feet of the bed should be checked for evidence of infestation. If you do find evidence of bugs, immediately ask the hotel operator for a new room — preferably one on another floor, as bed bugs can easily travel from room to room searching for food.

Keep an eye on your belongings

Suitcases and travel bags make great temporary homes for bed bugs. Since they aren’t paying you rent, it’s a good idea to keep your bags out of their reach. Instead of placing your bags on the floor or on a bed, keep them elevated on a table or desk. You can also purchase special wrapping for your luggage that will help keep bed bugs from invading your space.

Check yourself for evidence of bites

Bringing bed bugs home from vacation is one of the worst possible scenarios for travelers. They are one of the most difficult infestations to treat. So if you notice any redness, bumps or itching, it’s a good idea to call in a professional pest control company – that way, you can contain and eliminate the problem before it gets worse.

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