This time of year, many of us are packing our bags and getting ready to travel for the holidays. The last thing you want to deal with is a surprise visit from a horde of bed bugs! These tricky pests can be more than just bothersome; in addition to leaving behind itchy bite marks, bed bugs can trigger serious allergic reactions and may cause anxiety or insomnia in victims.
Bed bug infestations can also be very challenging to get rid of, which is why it’s so important to avoid picking these pests up in the first place. Unfortunately, travel is the number one way that these insects spread from place to place. Knowing how to avoid bed bugs while traveling is a crucial step in keeping yourself safe from these pests. Here are our top tips for preventing bed bugs while on vacation:
Carefully Inspect Hotels and Guest Rooms
Though bed bugs can travel through clothing or luggage, you’re most likely to pick these pests up by unknowingly staying in an infested hotel or guest room. That’s why it’s so important to carefully inspect your room for signs of bed bugs before getting too cozy. Here are some of the main signs of bed bugs to look out for:
- A strong and musty or pungent odor
- Dark or rusty spots on bedding or walls or bloodstains on bedding
- Fecal spots, which look like small black ink spots from a Sharpie pen
- Pale white eggshells, which are difficult to see against light surfaces
- Shed skins, which look like a bug but will shift or float away when disturbed
Use a Mattress Protector or Encasement
Mattress protectors and encasements are water-resistant sheets that can be placed on top of or zipped around a mattress. They are intended to shield you from all sorts of contaminants, including bed bugs. After inspecting your room for bed bugs, you can use a mattress protector or encasement for an extra layer of defense.
Seal Your Clothes in Plastic Bags
Bed bugs often travel by hiding in the folds of our clothing. So, if you leave your clothes out near an infested area, some insects could crawl into your luggage and spread to your home that way. Keeping your clothes sealed in plastic bags, even while inside your suitcase, is a great way to keep these pests from attaching to your belongings.
Vacuum Your Luggage Upon Returning
Vacuuming your luggage immediately upon returning from a trip can help you eliminate any stray insects that may have wandered into your bags. This step is particularly important if you carried your luggage through an airport, which jumbles your belongings with that of hundreds of other people.
Immediately Wash and Dry Clothes on High Heat
High temperatures can kill adult bed bugs and their eggs. Just 20 minutes of 118°F heat is enough to wipe out any existing insects. So, washing and drying your clothes on high heat is a quick and easy way to eliminate stray pests and stop an infestation before it has a chance to begin.
Store Your Suitcases in Plastic Bags
After you’ve vacuumed your suitcases, it may be valuable to wrap them in plastic bags before storing them. That way, if you missed any insects or eggs while vacuuming, they will suffocate and not be able to spread into the rest of your home.
Experienced Bed Bug Exterminators
While these steps are great ways to prevent bed bug infestations, these pests are incredibly tricky. Even a few bugs could lead to a full-blown invasion, which could be very challenging to get rid of. Thankfully, if you’re dealing with a bed bug infestation, you’re not alone. The experts at United Pest Solutions are prepared to help you quickly and safely remove these pests so you can rest easily. Just give us a call to get started!