The primary way bed bugs spread is by hitching rides with travelers. They do that by sneaking into these travelers’ boxes, bags, and belongings while they aren’t looking. Keep a careful eye on your luggage while traveling to avoid bringing any unwanted hitchhikers on your trip with you.
Bed bugs love travelers. For these bloodsucking stowaways, every in-law in your guest room is an opportunity to see the world. Unfortunately, they won’t just leave after they’ve made themselves at home, either. The bed bugs you bring back from your travels tend to stick around. That’s why it’s so important you keep bed bugs from following you on your travels in the first place. We want to help you do that. Here are the five best ways you can avoid picking up bed bugs while you’re traveling this holiday season:
1. Keep your belongings off of the floor
Bed bugs spend most of their time looking for warm, dark, secluded places to hide. Unfortunately, those warm, dark, secluded hiding places are often luggage! If your bags are on the floor, they’ll be all-too-easy for bed bugs to get into.
Whenever you’re unpacking for the night, be sure to keep all of your traveling bags in elevated areas. Never leave anything unattended on the floor. The less accessible your bags, the harder it’ll be for bed bugs to come on your trip with you.
2. Do some research on where you’re staying
Take the time to research the bed bug history of any lodging you’re planning on using. If that hotel or motel has a history of bed bug problems, chances are someone’s documented those problems online. There are even websites like the Bed Bug Registry to help ensure you find a place to stay that’s bed bug-free.
Obviously, if you’re staying at a relative’s home, this is trickier. After all, you may feel a little awkward asking them about their history with bed bugs! In these cases, we recommend you play it safe rather than sorry. Bring your own bed sheets and pillows. Make sure you store them in elevated places!
3. Choose your luggage carefully
Bed bugs love fabric. They love eating it, living in it, and burrowing into it. They’ll try to get at any fabric piece of clothing, accessory, or luggage you have. You can dissuade them from getting into your things by using a hard shell suitcase.
Hard shell suitcases are far harder to infiltrate than their soft counterparts. Just make sure you keep it shut tight when you’re not using it. Oh, and–say it with us–ELEVATE IT!
4. Thoroughly inspect your sleeping area before you settle in
After you arrive where you’re staying and before you unpack, follow the following steps. First, pull the comforter back on the sheets. Look for any telltale red or brown spots on sheets. Then, systematically check all the tucked-away places where bed bugs like to hide. Look under the mattress, between the mattress and box spring, behind any furniture, underneath cushions, and even in corners.
If you find bloody smears, dark brown splattering, or dried skin in likely spots, bed bugs are probably nearby. If you can, you should find another place to sleep. If you can’t leave, then you should thoroughly wash the sheets on the hottest possible setting. Do not unpack your bags or leave them on the floor.
5. Check your bags before you get back home
You should thoroughly inspect your bags after you get home and before you head back inside. Check your luggage and all its contents for any signs of bed bug infestations. Look for brown or red marks on clothing, smears in cracks and crevices, or dried shed skin.
As soon as you get back inside, throw all the fabrics you brought on your trip into your dryer. Run them through once on the highest heat setting. If you can, you should consider drying your bags and other belongings this way, too. High heat will kill any bed bugs you couldn’t see. Don’t unpack your belongings until you’re sure they’re bed bug-free!
Next time you’re vacationing, road tripping, or visiting relatives, don’t stress about the possibility of bed bugs. Instead, simply follow these tips diligently when they’re relevant and focus on having a good time. As long as you keep up with these prevention rules, you’ll shouldn’t have to worry about unwanted stowaways ever again.
Even if your trip takes a turn and you do find bed bugs, however, don’t panic! The team at Griffin Pest Solutions can find and wipe out your bed bug problem quickly, effectively, and permanently. They may have come home with you, but we’ll make sure they don’t make themselves at home. Have a safe and happy trip!