From avoiding bed bugs at home to worrying about bed bugs in school, we have a lot of everyday risk to these nasty pests. Add in the fact that survey released by the National Pest Management Association shows that bed bug infestations are on the rise and we have even more to worry about. Additionally, while the risks of bed bugs are present at home, traveling and staying at a hotel increases these risks.
Interestingly, a bed bug infestation has nothing to do with cleanliness – you can pick them up in even the finest hotels, and they can hitchhike into the cleanest homes at any time. Luckily, you can help reduce your chances of a bed bug infestation by catching them early. Knowing how to identify best bugs can help you take action quickly.
What are bed bugs?
Bed bugs are small, non-flying insects that feed by sucking blood from humans or animals. Additionally, they thrive in temperatures between 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, which disturbingly allows them to develop into adults most rapidly. In fact, a thriving colony can produce up to three generations per year.
Bed bugs are unlike ordinary pests:
- They require the blood of a warm-blooded person or animal to survive. Body heat and carbon dioxide indicate the presence of a host. After the feeding process, they might not return for days or weeks.
- They don’t die quickly. Instead, they mature in 36 days and live as long as 12 months, feeding fairly infrequently.
- They spread very quickly. One female bed bug can reproduce about 1,000 eggs over the course of three months.
- You don’t notice them. Their small, flat and narrow size easily slips through the cracks of mattresses, as well as bedding, bed frames, other furniture, carpets, floor boards and clutter. You might spot one if you look closely, but you typically only see them in groups. Their blood or fecal stains may also signal their presence.
- In general, bed bugs seek out dark, warm places. Aside from spots in your bedroom, they may congregate in drywall, lighting and other fixtures – basically any place humans or pets sit.
It’s no wonder we want to keep these pests away from our families, right?
What attracts bed bugs?
Technically, bed bugs are not attracted to people, but our smell and carbon dioxide. In particular, bed bugs are attracted to the smell of dirty laundry. As a result, hotels remain a common place find bed bugs because we typically leave our dirty clothes piled in a warm room.
A recent study by entomologists at the University of Sheffield, published in Scientific Reports, tried to determine what attracts bed bugs, which can help us avoid bed bugs in hotels or while traveling. The study shows that:
“Soiled clothing is significantly more attractive than clean clothing to active bed bugs moving within a bedroom sized arena and elevation of CO2 to a level that simulates human occupancy in the same arena appears to initiate search behavior rather than direct it. Our results show, for the first time, how leaving worn clothing exposed in sleeping areas when traveling can be exploited by bed bugs to facilitate passive dispersal.”
The study makes it clear that leaving laundry strewn around can increase the risk of bringing bed bugs into your home following a stay at a hotel while traveling.
How to Avoid Bed Bugs In Hotels?
With that in mind, let’s look at five smart ways to avoid bed bugs while traveling and staying in hotels.
Research your destination to avoid known issues with bed bugs in hotels
One of the best ways to avoid bed bugs when traveling is pre-trip research. For example, travel sites share customer reviews that provide 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. Also, look for reviews from spring and summer travelers because bed bugs are generally most active during warm months.
Initiate a thorough bed inspection to avoid bed bugs in your hotel room
Once you’re in the room, it’s time to give your sleeping area a thorough examination. This step will help avoid getting bed bugs in your hotel room. Fortunately, 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 to avoid bed bug bites. 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 because they are attracted to the scent of dirty clothes. Since they aren’t paying you rent, it’s a good idea to keep your bags out of their reach. To help avoid getting bed bugs, place your bags on an elevated on a table or desk rather than leaving them on the floor. Additionally, special wrapping is available for luggage that will help keep bed bugs from invading your space while traveling.
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.
Even those who take precautions may accidentally pick up bed bugs. The quicker you act, the less the bed bug infestation spreads throughout your home. If you’ve found yourself in this situation, reach out to Eliminate ‘Em’s pest control experts for same-day bed bug removal. To make an appointment, call us today at 1-866-601-5357.