Bed Bug Prevention: How To Avoid Bringing Bed Bugs Home From Vacation

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Avoid a Bed Bug Infestation: Follow These Tips for Bed Bug Prevention

Let’s face it: the last thing anyone wants to deal with is a home pest infestation. But while many insects are little more than a nuisance, others can be a nightmare to deal with. Bed bugs fall into the latter category.


Ask anyone who’s ever had to deal with a bed bug infestation, and they’ll tell you what an awful experience it was. Meanwhile, for those who are fortunate enough never to have dealt with bed bugs first hand, the thought of hundreds of tiny biting insects in your bed is extremely distressing.

Of all the pests out there that can infest your home, bed bugs are perhaps the most difficult of all to treat. While it’s possible to get rid of bed bugs with the help of a home pest control professional, it’s far from easy -- and getting rid of them on your own is next to impossible.

Without a doubt, the best strategy when it comes to bed bugs is prevention. Unlike many pests, however, bed bugs rarely enter your home and take up residence by chance. Rather, bed bugs typically make their way into your home via clothing, suitcases, and other items following a vacation, business trip, or other occasion for travel.

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As summer approaches and travel increases, it’s essential to practice bed bug prevention in order to avoid bringing bed bugs home with you from a trip. While some may believe that the fear of bed bugs is exaggerated and overblown, the numbers say otherwise. According to a recent survey by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and the University of Kentucky, bed bugs are on the rise here in the United States. In the years prior to 2000, only about 25 percent of surveyed pest control companies in the U.S. reported having encountered a bed bug infestation during the past year. Now, that number has skyrocketed to 95 percent of pest control companies surveyed. These companies also agree that bed bugs are the most difficult type of pest infestation to treat.

There’s good news, though: with the right bed bug prevention tips, you can avoid bringing bed bugs home from your next vacation. Below, we’ll look at what you should do upon arrival at your hotel or vacation rental to check for bed bugs. We’ll also cover some best practices that you can observe upon returning home. In the unfortunate event that you do end up with bed bugs, we’ll also look at what you can do to get rid of them.


How to Check for Bed Bugs in Your Hotel Room or Vacation Rental

Some people think that bed bugs are no more common in hotel rooms or vacation rentals than anywhere else. According to recent NPMA data, however, 80% of pest control companies surveyed reported that they had treated hotels and/or motels for bed bugs infestations within the past year. Compare this with 18% for public transportation, 38% for office buildings, and 17% for movie theaters. In fact, next to homes and apartment buildings, hotels and motels are the next most common place that pest control companies report having treated for bed bugs.

One of the biggest challenges with bed bugs is their ability to rapidly spread from one area to another. In a hotel or motel environment, a bed bug infestation in a single room can quickly turn into an infestation in adjacent rooms.

With this in mind, it’s essential to check for a bed bug infestation when you arrive at a hotel, motel, or vacation rental. Here are the steps you ought to follow:

  • When you first enter a hotel room, it’s a good idea to place your luggage (including suitcases, backpacks, purses, and other items) in the bathroom until you’ve determined that the room is free of bed bugs. It’s unlikely for bed bugs to take up residence in the bathroom, making this the safest place for your belongings while you perform a check.
  • Once your belongings are safely stored in the bathroom, you’ll want to begin by checking for bed bugs in the room’s mattress or mattresses. Begin by pulling back the sheets (including the comforter, top sheet, and fitted sheet) to expose the mattress underneath. Next, check around the seams of the mattress. You’re looking for tiny, black dots or spots around the seams and corners of the mattress. If you see these small black flecks, you could be dealing with a bed bug infestation.
  • It’s also possible to spot the bed bugs themselves on the mattress. Adult bed bugs are very small, but they are in fact visible. Typically, adult bed bugs measure about 1/4" long by 1/8" wide, and are reddish brown in color. Nymphs (young bed bugs) are harder to spot, as they can be as small as 1/32” in size.
  • If you don’t see any bed bugs on the mattress itself, you’ll still want to check other areas of the room. Inspect the headboard, nightstands, couches, chairs, desks, and even behind picture frames. All of these areas can harbor bed bugs.

If you think you see signs of bed bugs anywhere in your room, it’s important to let the hotel management know and switch rooms right away. Remember, bed bugs can move from room to room in a hotel, so it’s important that you switch to a room that’s not adjacent to the original one.

Even if you don’t encounter any of the telltale signs of bed bugs, you may still want to take additional precautions. Placing your luggage in a sealed plastic trash bag will reduce the risk of bed bugs making their way into your suitcase.


What to Do When You Arrive Home

After a trip, there are bed bug prevention steps you can take upon arriving back home. Even if you didn’t encounter any signs of bed bugs in your hotel room or vacation rental, it’s still a good idea to follow these steps.

  • First, unpack your suitcase outside of your home. Check the corners and seams of your suitcase for any signs of bed bugs.
  • Next, vacuum your suitcase thoroughly before storing it. If possible, dispose of the contents of the vacuum immediately. This should all take place outside of your home: don’t bring your luggage inside to vacuum it.
  • Finally, you’ll want to wash all of your clothes in the warmest water possible (depending on the garment) to kill any bed bugs or eggs that may be present. This includes clothes that you didn’t wear. If you have any items that need to be dry cleaned, keep these sealed in a plastic bag until you can get them to the dry cleaner.


Bed Bug Infestation? Contact Home Pest Control Today

The above bed bug prevention measures will go a long way towards keeping bed bugs out of your home. However, it’s still possible to end up with a bed bug infestation in spite of your best efforts.

If you think you may have bed bugs in your home, it’s important to contact a professional pest control company. It’s next to impossible to get rid of bed bugs on your own -- and the longer you wait, the harder it will be to control the infestation.

Home Pest Control has decades of experience in providing comprehensive, effective bed bug treatment here in South Carolina. One of our trained technicians will assess your home for bed bugs and design a customized treatment strategy that meets your needs. With Home Pest Control, you can rest assured that we’ll eliminate your bed bug infestation while using safe, environmentally friendly methods.

Want to learn how to prevent pests all year long? Download our free pest control calendar for homeowners!

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Written By: Home Pest

December 6, 2017

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