When we stay in hotels these days, we’re used to the idea of ââtaking steps to protect ourselves against COVID-19 and other potential infections. But there is another threat in hotel rooms that deserves to be avoided: bed bugs.
âBed bugs can be present in any hotel, regardless of the cost of the rooms. In fact, a pest control company just told us the other day that all of the calls it gets right now are about your dearest properties, âsaid Jeff White, product manager at pest control company SenSci.
“That said, bed bugs certainly tend to be a bigger problem in lower socio-economic circles for a variety of reasons,” he added. âRoadside hotels and motels where you have a higher incidence of extended stay residents may have a higher incidence of issues compared to some of your upscale hotels, but honestly it all can vary dramatically. one establishment to another. “
If you’ve ever been confronted with a bedbug infestation, you know this is not an experience you would wish your worst enemy to have. It is therefore worth being careful while traveling.
âBedbugs affect people in different ways, but for the majority of people, they can cause extreme anxiety, panic and worry,â said Matt Kelley, president of Prodigy Pest Solutions. âThis, in turn, can significantly interfere with a person’s regular sleep cycle. In addition, the bedbug is a very difficult pest to treat. Finding an infestation in a hotel, before bringing bedbugs home, will therefore save you money and anxiety in the long run.
While you can never fully guarantee a bedbug-free existence, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of being exposed or bringing them home with you. We asked Kelley, White, and other experts to share the best ways to find bed bugs in hotels and other protective measures travelers can take.
Know the signs
“There is no way to 100% prevent bedbugs from bringing into a home because they are incredibly small and cryptic creatures, hiding deep in cracks and crevices, which can make them look incredibly hard to detect, “said Brittany Campbell, entomologist at National Pest. Management association.
However, it’s worth doing a bed bug inspection when traveling and staying in a new location if you know the signs to look for live bedbugs, fecal stains, dead skin, and eggs for, hopefully, them. catch early before they have time to pack in and hitchhike in your luggage, purse or backpack with you, âshe added.
Although bedbugs are very small and often hidden during the day, they are still usually large enough to be seen with the naked eye. Kelley noted that this is true at all stages of the bedbug life cycle.
âIn addition to live bugs, bed bugs leave behind distinct evidence, including feces (looks like someone took a ballpoint pen or marker and made marks or dots), molded skins (empty shell of a bedbug) and eggs (they look like tiny grains of white rice in clusters), âhe explained.
Inspect the bed
As the name suggests, bed bugs often hide in and around beds, so this is the first place you should check out.
âI generally recommend checking obvious areas such as the edges of the mattress and box spring as well as any areas you can see on the headboard without moving everything,â White said.
In addition to the visible seams of the mattress and box spring, you can also inspect pillows, sheets and comforter for any telltale stains or stains.
âThis type of inspection will usually identify higher level infestations but may not detect 10 or fewer bedbugs,â White added. âIf anyone wants to inspect the room more thoroughly, which requires removing the beds and moving the mattress and box spring, you must first seek permission from the hotel.
Discover the rest of the room
Once you’ve inspected the bed and its surroundings, be sure to check out other upholstered furniture.
âIf there are sofas or chairs, it’s important to look at their underside, between the cushions and along their seams,â Kelley noted.
Do a thorough inspection before unpacking. If you find anything suspicious, notify the hotel as soon as possible and look for changing rooms or establishments. The key is to be proactive so that you can identify problems early on.
Change room if necessary
âIf you discover a bedbug during the inspection, do your best to carefully capture the insect and take photos and videos of what you find,â Kelley advised. “This documentation helps you and the hotel management to choose the best next stop for your stay.”
If you decide to change rooms within the same facility, make sure you do not move to an adjacent room or directly above or below the suspected infestation.
âBed bugs can easily hitchhike via cleaning carts, luggage, and even wall outlets,â Campbell explained. âIf an infestation does spread, it usually does so in the rooms closest to the origin. “
Protect your suitcase
Even if your visual inspection doesn’t reveal any evidence of bedbugs, you can still take steps to make sure you don’t bring them home. Perhaps the most effective measure is to protect your luggage from invaders.
âConsider placing your suitcase in a plastic trash bag or dust cover for the duration of your trip to make sure bed bugs can’t get in there before departure,â Campbell advised.
Some travelers also put their suitcases in the bathtub or in another part of the bathroom, away from the carpet or soft furnishings.
Inspect and clean your belongings at home
The bed bug prevention process doesn’t end when you leave the hotel. Whether or not you have seen traces of bedbugs, you can still take precautions when you get home.
âRemember: bed bugs travel by hitchhiking. After your trip, inspect your suitcases before you bring them into the house, âCampbell recommended. âVacuum your suitcase carefully before putting it away. Consider using a hand-held garment spray to spray your luggage, which will kill any bedbugs or eggs that may have hitchhiked home.
She also suggested drying all the clothes in your luggage on high heat for at least 20 minutes to kill all life stages of bedbugs and any eggs that might have ended up in the bags. And if you suspect an infestation in your home, seek professional help.
âBed bugs are not a DIY pest because they are one of the most difficult pests to control,â Campbell said. âHomeowners should immediately dry bedding, linens, curtains and clothing on the hottest dryer setting, as well as vacuuming the infested area. From there, homeowners should seek the help of a licensed pest control professional who can properly inspect and treat the home.