You’re heading out for a little fun in the sun, but if you’re not careful, you may return home with more than just bottles of sunscreen in your suitcase. Many travelers inadvertently wind up transporting bedbugs home with them. DexKnows can help you find local resources to solve your bedbug problem if you do, but the best way to avoid bedbugs is to prevent them from hitching a ride in the first place.
The bad news is that travelers can find bedbugs in all parts of the world, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The insects are small, reddish-brown and wingless. They are also very hardy, able to live for several months without their food of choice — blood. But while the thought of bedbugs might be enough to make you shudder, they’re not particularly dangerous. It’s not likely that they’ll give you a disease, although their bite may make you itch and in some cases requires medical attention if you’re allergic to them, according to the CDC.
Below are some strategies you can use to avoid taking bedbugs back home with you.
Do your homework
Before making reservations, call the hotel and ask them what they do to prevent bedbugs, suggests Health magazine. Also consider checking out online resources and reviews, such as on DexKnows, to determine whether the hotel you’re planning on staying at has a problem. Health Magazine suggests the bedbug registry as a good starting point. Keep in mind, bedbugs live everywhere — from swanky hotels to roadside motels.
Inspect your room
Once you arrive, do a quick search for bedbugs. Generally, bedbugs like to hide out in beds (hence, their name). When traveling, look to see if your hotel room has an infestation by looking for signs of them on the mattress or box spring; on furniture, such as the headboards or dressers; and even behind the wallpaper, says the CDC.
Look for these signs:
- Signs of molting (bedbugs shed their exoskeletons during this process)
- Fecal material, which looks like small blood spots
- A telltale sweet, musty smell
If you see signs of bedbugs, call the hotel management immediately and ask for a new room at least two floors away, says Health magazine.
Protect your luggage
Avoid taking them home with you by taking precautions. Bedbugs will often jump onto suitcases, hiding in little nooks and crannies, or even in the clothing. Health magazine suggests that one way to prevent this from happening is to stow your luggage in the bathroom at the hotel, where bedbugs are less likely to be found, while you do an inspection for signs of the little critters in your room. If you don’t find signs of bedbugs, it’s still wise to avoid leaving clothing around and to keep your suitcase on a luggage rack off the floor. Another way to avoid a problem is to buy ready-made plastic bags designed to cover and protect your suitcase when you travel.
Wash up after arriving home
Once you get home, Health magazine suggests that you do a thorough inspection of your luggage and kill any potential lurkers by washing all your clothing at a high temperature. Be alert for bite marks on your body that may signal a bedbug problem.
If you do bring bedbugs home from spring break, keep in mind that it’s best to call the professionals when it comes to tackling the problem. DexKnows can help you find local experts to deal with your bedbug problem. But if you follow the strategies above, you’ll greatly reduce the chances of these parasites stowing away and creating a problem in your home.