Whether you are heading out for a family vacation, business trip or a backpacking experience, any travel comes with its share of hectic itineraries and excitement. From exotic destinations and Instagram-worthy hotels, to modest B&B options for “spend less and see more” vacations, when it comes to travel, your choices are unlimited. However, if you are not careful in your selection, you may find yourselves in bed with the bed bugs and wake up with nasty bites that put a damper on the rest of your plans. Worse still, if you end up bringing them home through your clothes and baggage, you will expose your entire home to a full blown infestation.
How to Ensure that Bed Bugs Don’t Invade Your Travel Plans
There are several precautions that you can take to make sure these blood-thirsty insects do not make a mess of your plans, during or after travelling abroad:
• Before Travel: While high-end hotels tend to maintain certain basic standards of hygiene and safety, budget motels, inns, hostels, B&Bs may not necessarily be up to the mark. As budget travelers and backpackers, you should definitely read up reviews of the accommodation that you have booked to ensure that there are no specific comments about bed bug issues. However, do note that these pests are not always a result of poor sanitation, hence they could be found at a one-star location, as well as a five-star one.
• During Travel: Bed bugs are difficult to spot on darker backgrounds and are more attracted to fabric upholstery. When travelling by train or air, preferably use light coloured, plastic or hardtop luggage, or seal your cloth bags in white plastic garbage bags during the journey.
• At your Accommodation: Once you have checked in to your room, take time to conduct a simple visual inspection. Like little vampires, bed bugs feed off human blood, hence, they are most commonly found on the pillows, mattresses, bedsheets and blankets, where they are in close proximity to their food. However, these nocturnal insects can also be on the walls, in the carpet, on the headboard, or in the crevices and folds of the couches and other furniture in your room.
- Look around all these areas for small stains or dots in red or pale yellow. These could be blood, waste or the dead skin of the bugs.
- Use a flashlight to inspect the nooks and crannies of the bed and other furniture, and look out for tiny black dots scurrying away from the light. If you notice any movement, inform the staff and get your room changed.
- Place your luggage away from the walls and off the floor. As far as possible, avoid unpacking into the closets and drawers. Instead, prop the luggage on the stands and keep your bags closed after every use.
- Avoid placing your shoes under the bed and do not let your clothes lie on the floors at any time.
• During and After Return from Travel: Before you pack up and proceed on your return journey, check your clothes, personal items and luggage for any signs of these nasty hitchhikers. After you return home, inspect again before bringing the luggage to your bedroom. Preferably, unpack in a utility area or garage, and wash your clothes immediately. Tackle any stray bugs that may have managed to get into your belongings by laundering all fabric items in hot water, or putting them in the dryer for approximately 20 minutes.
Just 4mm to 5 mm in size, these tiny bugs can create havoc in your homes and lives. While they do not pose any major health risks, bed bug bites are itchy and annoying. In severe cases, they could leave behind scars that are prone to infection. Although you may do your best to check for bugs during and after your travel, you can never be 100% sure. Despite your best efforts, if these nasty bugs have infested your home, rely on the friendly, affordable and professional pest control services of Pest Detective. As experienced bed bug exterminators, we have been serving the residents of Vancouver, Surrey & Langley, Victoria, Maple Ridge and the lower mainland BC area since 1986. Our crew has the necessary skills and training to keep your home pest-free at all times.
Contact us at Pest Detective to schedule a bed bug inspection or to address a full-blown infestation.