Many states are beginning to lift stay-at-home restrictions just in time for the summer travel season. If you are getting ready to embark on a highly anticipated vacation, don’t forget one tiny, but trip-altering, threat: hungry bed bugs. While these elusive pests are found just about everywhere, they are especially common in hotel rooms, making the start of the summer travel season the perfect time for Bed Bug Awareness Week, June 7-13.
While hotel occupancy may have been down across the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic, travelers should be aware that bed bugs can survive months without feeding, so they are still present. They are also excellent hitchhikers and can steal away in suitcases, purses and other items, making inspection crucial to preventing an infestation when you return home.
Bed Bug Spotting
In April 2020 alone, more than six million conversations on the topic of finding bed bugs took place online in the U.S.* So it’s clear that bed bugs are a common nuisance. Here are some tips to protect yourself and your home from these blood-sucking pests:
- Thoroughly inspect the entire room for bed bugs before unpacking, including behind the headboard, under lights and inside dressers, drawers, sofas and chairs.
- Pull back the sheets and inspect the mattress seams and box spring, particularly at the corners, for pepper-like stains, spots or shed bed bug skins.
- Bring a small flashlight for quick visual inspections.
- Place suitcases in plastic trash bags during the duration of your trip to ensure that bed bugs cannot take up residence there prior to departure.
- Vacuum and properly inspect suitcases after returning home. Don’t bring the suitcase into your home until after this inspection.
- Vacuum and inspect your car, paying close attention to the seats and trunk, to ensure no bed bugs made the journey home with you.
If you suspect an infestation while traveling, contact hotel management immediately and ask to switch rooms; then carefully inspect the new room as well. If you think you may have brought hungry bed bugs home with you, give us a call. Getting rid of these pests is not a do-it-yourself job.
*Online engagement findings are a result of research conducted by Advanced Symbolics Inc.