Waking nightmare – realizing in the morning of a hotel stay that you weren’t sleeping alone, but rather with an army of tiny creatures that have given you bed bug bites! What’s worse is to further the issue by bringing these little buggers home with you in your luggage! Unfortunately, hotel bed bugs have become more than a reality over the past several years. Bed bugs are masters at hiding out in cracks and crevices and creeping into luggage and other belongings. Here are several things you can do to protect yourself from any run-ins with these little beasts.
Know What You’re Looking For
Adult bed bugs are about a quarter-inch in length, flat, and reddish-brown like an apple seed. Younger bed bugs are smaller with a lighter, creamier color. Bed bugs are crawlers, so if you see a flying insect, it is not a bed bug. They can leave behind wings, black dots of feces, or brownish spots where they maybe were squished. Signs of bed bugs are little dark stains that could indicate a bed bug infestation. In a serious scenario, you could even see the bugs’ pearly white eggs or castaway shells. If you do find one of the critters, get it into a plastic bag or a glass so that you have proof for the hotel.
Nip it in the Bud
The first thing to do to avoid bed bugs is to do your hotel room due diligence. Upon entering any hotel room, do a thorough scan of the bed, wooden headboard, and any other upholstered furniture. A thorough scan will include behind and under the bed, all layers of the bed including mattress (especially seams), linens, box spring, pillows, dust ruffle, etc., all sides of night tables, any wall décor, drapes, carpeting, rugs, and all corners of walls, woodwork, and furniture. Avoid keeping your luggage on the floor.
Handling Infested Items at Home
Laundry. If you have been the victim of bed bugs it is imperative to treat all of your belongings when you get home. Rule number one – keep your luggage in the garage or on an outdoor porch. Put your clothing directly from the suitcase into a plastic bag to directly transfer it to the washing machine. Wash your clothing on a 30-minute cycle in hot water. Then place in the dryer on a “hot” setting for another 30 minutes. This will kill any bed bugs and their eggs. Be sure to tie-up and throw away the empty garbage bag immediately after emptying of clothes. Keep the bill for anything that you need to send to the dry cleaner in case you can get reimbursed.
Other Belongings. Any other items from your suitcase such as shoes, toiletries, shoes, and the actual suitcase should stay in the garage or outdoors until you can inspect them or treat them cold, heat, cold or insecticide. To treat with heat, place infested items into a plastic bag and place in a hot car where the inside temperature will rise to 120 degrees for an hour or more. If you are in a geographically cooler locale, you can treat with bed bugs with cold by placing the items into a chest freezer for a day or two for dis-infestation. If neither of these options is viable, items can be treated by a professional pest management company.
Established in 1997, family-owned and operated Rid All Termite & Pest Solutions has served over 10,000 businesses and homeowners in the mid-south area of Olive Branch, MS. Through community education, affordability, and top-notch customer service, we lead the mid-south pest control industry. We serve you best with integrity, ongoing employee training, and safety awareness. Visit our website for more information or call (901) 377-9915.