It’s easy to understand why souvenirs are so popular. Everyone wants something physical that reminds them of a happy vacation spent with loved ones. When you picture souvenirs, however, we’re guessing you picture snow globes, postcards, and culturally appropriative knick knacks–not bed bugs. Unfortunately, traveling is maybe the number-one way most homeowners end up with bed bugs. And you don’t even have to travel somewhere with a bed!
Bed bugs, ticks, moths, and other pests like them have evolved to become excellent hitchhikers. Given half an opportunity, they’ll happily bum a ride back to your place with you. The last thing you want to do after a nice, restful vacation is contend with an infestation of gross bugs. Here are some vacation pest prevention tips to ensure you only bring home the things you want next time you go on vacation.
You’re not even safe from pests 30,000 feet in the air. Pests like moths, silverfish, and bed bugs sneak into suitcases. You check those bags, take off, and your new pests get a free flight. It’s not uncommon to pick up pests at the airport itself, too. The number of people traveling and the amount of garbage they create foster pest communities that are just as diverse and thriving.
Keep your bags sealed whenever when you aren’t using them–this means in the hotel, on the road, in the airport, and even on the plane. Refrain from keeping food in carryout bags. Don’t take garbage from the plane with you. Wash all your clothes when you get home. Throw your bags in the dryer for 20 minutes to kill bed bugs hiding in them. Carefully inspect everything you brought home for signs of pest infestation, even after washing and drying it.
People have nothing on a bug’s love of the open road. Bed bugs, fleas, ticks, and spiders are just as comfortable wandering from one (ahem) cockroach motel to the next on a cross-country adventure. All of the hotel advice above counts double for road trips. Check the sheets, carpet, curtains, and bathroom for signs of pest infestation. Keep your bags elevated and tightly shut whenever you’re not using them. Check your socks and the inside of your shoes every morning.
Keep your windows closed when possible out on the road, especially if you’re traveling through wooded areas. Don’t eat messy foods in the car, and thoroughly clean up any food or beverage spills immediately. Keep the interior of the car clean and dehumidified. Have everyone stay hydrated to prevent sweating and heat generation, but make sure you don’t leave beverages in the car after you get out.
No, we’re not going to teach you how to keep your in-laws from coming back with you. That’s not the kind of vacation pest prevention we specialize in. But it’s important to be wary of pests in any home, no matter how clean and well cared-for it seems. Pests don’t discriminate, and the theory that they only pick on dirty homes is totally wrong.
Follow all the steps above, and change the sheets you’ll be using as soon as you arrive. Check furniture for signs of infestation, particularly if it’s old or beat up. Don’t hang up your clothes in their closet or leave your bag open in their living room. Remember that bed bugs seem to look for travelers specifically. The residents probably don’t even know they’re around. Following these tips should keep you safe from those pests, but good luck explaining what you’re doing under the bed to your mother-in-law.
The greatest vacation pest prevention challenge yet! You’re going outdoors. Pests LIVE outdoors. Insects and all kinds of other pests will assail your site for as long as you’re there, looking for a weakness to exploit. You won’t give them one.
Keep food in sealed containers 10 feet from the site and at least 8 feet in the air. Keep your firewood supplies 20 feet away. Seal your tent with your bags inside it when you’re not using them. Sleep under a mosquito net and check your sleeping bags for pests every night. Dispose of food remains immediately by taking them away from the site. It should go without saying, but always wear bug spray and anti-tick ointment. Thoroughly wash and dry all your equipment when you get home, including your clothes, your tent, your sleeping bag, and your own body. Check yourself for ticks or bites.
Follow each of our vacation pest prevention protocols while you’re out enjoying your time off, and you won’t have to worry about bringing back any unexpected “guests” when you return. Those freeloaders will have to find some other tourist!
If you’d like to learn more about pests, check out some of our blogs. If you need pest investigation, prevention, or a treatment service, let us know right away. Have a great vacation!