As a homeowner, you are most likely aware of the tasks necessary to maintain the appeal, cleanliness, and value of your home. From repairing a leaky faucet and mowing your lawn to replacing loose roofing shingles, it is easy to see how homeownership can be overwhelming at times. Unfortunately, you may not be placing enough time and effort into pest control. Considering the United States has seen an increase in bed bugs within the last few years, educating yourself on these pests is key to protecting your home and health. The excessive infestations of bed bugs may stem from improper education and pest control, but the overall increase in travel also plays a role. Using these traveling tips, you can prevent a bed bug infestation at home.
In most cases, you will be staying in a hotel or other accommodation during your vacation or business trip. Unfortunately, hotels and vacation rentals are common areas for bed bug infestations because these pests can easily hitch rides on luggage, clothing, and your body.
When you first check in to your hotel room or rental unit, use the following tips to stop bed bugs from traveling home with you:
- Go the Bathroom – When you enter your rental, go straight to the bathroom. The cold, hard tile and porcelain surfaces in the bathroom do not offer a comfortable, appealing space for bed bugs to hide. Before checking out the rest of your rental, store your luggage, shoes, and coat in the bathroom to protect yourself from the bugs.
- Check the Bed – After leaving the bathroom, spend a thorough amount of time inspecting the beds. Pull the linens back and check the top, sides, corners, and back of the mattress, headboard, footboard, and rails. Bed bugs range in size from 1mm to 7mm, so they may be too small for you to see. However, small dots that resemble black pepper or blood stains are both signs of a bed bug issue.
- Move Around the Room – Look for signs of bed bugs on chairs, nightstands, books, window treatments, and even the telephone. Check the entire room.
If you notice any issues, contact the hotel desk immediately. In most cases, they will be willing to move you to another room or offer you a full refund.
During your Stay
If your hotel room or vacation rental seems free of bed bugs, you should still protect yourself and personal belongings during the stay.
Never leave your luggage on the floor since bed bugs can quickly make a suitcase or bag home, hitching a ride to your own home. Set up a luggage rack for your suitcase or store it on a desk or dresser. If you hang clothes in the closest, consider wrapping your garments in plastic or a trash bag. Store shoes, handbags, hats, and wallets in plastic bags, as well.
Even after inspecting and protecting your personal belongings while away, you should still use precaution once you arrive home. Use the following tips to protect your home and family from possible bed bugs after your trip:
- Separate – Do not dump your luggage into an existing pile of dirty laundry at home in case you have one or more bed bugs in your travel clothes.
- Wash – Rinse the clothes from your luggage in hot water before running through your traditional wash cycle.
- Vacuum – After removing all items from your luggage, use an attachment to vacuum out the interior of each suitcase, bag, or garment case.
- Store – After cleaning out your luggage, wrap it in plastic or a trash bag before storing.
Traveling for work or pleasure is important, but you should not have to worry about a possible bed bug infestation. Using these tips, you can prevent bed bugs from infesting your home after the trip.