Spring is here! That means many of us have upcoming traveling plans for the warmer months. Whether you are taking the kids on a Spring Break trip to Disneyland or you’re heading out for a getaway with your honey, we’ve got some bad news: hotels are one of the main ways people get bed bug bugs.
Bed bugs are essentially the hitchhikers of the bug world. They latch onto your luggage or that coat that you threw in the corner and discreetly hitch a ride all the way home. In today’s blog, you’ll learn all about how to prevent “catching” bed bugs while traveling! Keep reading to learn more!
Why Prevent Bed Bugs?
This seems like an easy question to answer, but it goes beyond simply wanting to keep these creatures out of your home. Bed bugs, while not known to transmit diseases, are parasitic insects that suck blood from their victims. While small and not venomous, the bed bug bite can cause a red, itchy rash and some people are more sensitive to the bite than others.
Secondly, bed bugs are incredibly difficult to get rid of. They are actually resistant to most pesticides. Considering that bed bugs are often (but not always) found in your bed, it is unlikely that you would want to spray chemical pesticides where you sleep. That means that once you have bed bugs, you need specific types of treatment to get rid of them.
At Earthwise, we offer heat treatment for bed bugs. Heat treatment involves heating up the space to a temperature high enough to kill off the existing bed bug population and their eggs. Depending on how far from the original point the infestation has spread, this may require several treatments to ensure we get them all.
At the end of the day, while we are proud to offer non-chemical bed bug treatments in Sacramento and the surrounding areas, we would rather our clients not have to deal with these pesky pests to begin with.
Know How To Identify Bed Bugs
Before you can prevent bed bugs from hitching a ride from the hotel to your home, you need to know how to identify them.
The Bugs Themselves
These insects are very tiny. They are roughly the size and shape of an apple seed and are usually brownish-red in color, but can be a lighter color if they have not fed recently. Bed bugs are characteristically flat and roughly 5-7 millimeters in length. If you see any of these bugs, alive or dead, it is certainly a sign of a recent or current infestation. You might also find exoskeletons that the bugs have shed and cast off. These are often lighter in color and semi-transparent.
Evidence Of Bed Bugs
One of the most obvious signs of a bed bug infestation are rusty colored stains on the sheets or mattress. Most often found in the seams of the mattress, these stains may be from where the bugs have excreted waste or where they have been crushed. You might also find bed bug feces on your bed. This looks like a small dot about the size of a pinhole that is reddish or black in color.
One other surprising indicator of bed bugs is a somewhat sweet, musty smell. Bed bugs release a scent from their underbelly. When an infestation is large enough, you might be able to smell it as soon as you walk in the room.
Bed Bug Bites
Bed bugs bites can look different from person to person depending on how sensitive your skin is. Bites most often appear on the face, neck, arms, legs, or other exposed areas. Bed bug bites can leave anything from a mosquito bite-esque bump to a red rash. Most often, bites will be itchy and may even burn. The tell-tale sign of bed bug bites are several bites close together, often in a line or zig-zag pattern. Though this doesn’t always occur, it is one of the easiest ways to guarantee a bite is from bed bugs.
Bed bug bites will typically go away on their own and do not require treatment other than some topical anti-itch cream or an antihistamine if needed. However, if you believe you have been bitten by a bed bug are are experiencing any severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing, swollen tongue, blisters, fever, or other abnormal reactions, you should seek medical attention.
How To Prevent Bed Bugs While Traveling
1. Look Around The Room Before Settling In
Begin by performing a visual inspection of the entire room. Take a close look at the bed, behind the headboard, behind picture frames, in drawers, behind the curtains, and on sofas and chairs. Travel with a flashlight or use the flashlight on your phone to get a better look.
2. Check Bed Bug Hiding Spots
Next, check all of the usual bed bug hiding spots thoroughly. This includes inspecting the bed sheets layer by layer and inspecting the mattress. Since most hotel sheets are white, evidence of bed bugs should be easy to spot, but make sure to look closely anyways.
After inspecting the bed, look at the curtains. Most hotel curtains are very thick and have multiple layers of fabric in them. Check the front and back of the curtains and make sure to check near the seams of the curtains.
Look underneath the sofa cushions and inspect all the cracks and crevices in upholstered furniture.
Also closely inspect the luggage rack whether you plan on using it or not. Check all areas of the rack, including inside hollow legs of the rack if applicable.
3. Keep Luggage And Clothing Off Of Fabric Surfaces
The safest place for luggage is in a thoroughly inspected bathroom as bed bugs typically do not like cold, hard surfaces. If this isn’t possible, then consider placing your luggage on an inspected luggage rack. While it can be tempting to throw your clothes or jackets on the hotel chair or floor, this is a bad idea as it can attract bed bugs. Even a thoroughly inspected room can still have bed bugs hiding in it! Make sure to not take the chance so that you don’t end up calling us for bed bug treatment a few months down the line!
4. If You Find Evidence Of Bed Bugs In Your Hotel…
If you suspect a current or past bed bug infestation, contact hotel management immediately and request a different room. Often, bed bugs can travel to neighboring rooms, so consider asking for one on a different floor.
Management should be willing to take care of the issue. One of the most reputation-damaging things a hotel can experience is a bed bug infestation, and they will likely want to keep you happy. After all, bed bugs are not a sign of a dirty hotel. Sometimes they hitch a ride from another traveler’s suitcase and there’s nothing that the hotel can do about it until someone alerts them to it.
5. Take Precaution At Home
Even if you didn’t find evidence of bed bugs, you might have still been in the same room with them. Or, another likely scenario if you are flying on a plane or taking another mode of public transportation, is that another passenger did not follow this bed bug inspection guide and brought bed bugs into a public space where they can transfer between luggage pieces in cargo areas.
Once home, thoroughly inspect your suitcase before bringing it inside. If you stayed at a hotel where you suspect a bed bug infestation was rampant, you might even want to vacuum your luggage or use a garment steamer to get rid of any bed bug eggs or mischievous bugs.
After you determine that your suitcase is safe to bring inside, haul it straight to the laundry room and wash everything you brought on a hot cycle, even if you did not wear it. While the water itself might not be enough to kill off any lingering pests, the heated dry cycle should do the trick.
Know Who To Call For Bed Bug Treatment In Sacramento
Even the most vigilant people can accidentally bring bed bugs into the house. If, some time after your trip, you notice itchy rashes or bites on your arm or any of the signs of a bed bug infestation that we discussed earlier, call us right away.
Earthwise Pest Management is Sacramento’s leading pest control company and we can perform a thorough inspection of your home to find the problem.
If bed bugs are found, we will use a non-chemical bed bug heat treatment to kill off any existing bugs and eggs and ensure that you can move forward with peace of mind.
If you have any questions for our team about a possible bed bug infestation or you are experiencing any other issues, give us a call. We’d love to provide you with a free quote and let you know a little bit more about our pest control services in Sacramento and the surrounding areas.
Get in touch today!