Spring break is coming up and with it many people in Arizona will be traveling and we all know how disgusting and traumatic bed bugs can be. They cause anxiety, panic and can be extremely difficult to get rid of. They seem to infect every corner of the Earth and love a good trip. The key to never getting bed bugs is understanding how to search, identify and prevent them. This bed bug prevention guide illustrates some of the basic precautions to take when traveling and how to handle your luggage upon arrival at hotels and when you’re coming home.
Identifying Bed Bugs
Obviously, to be able to prevent bed bugs you need to know what they look like and how to identify them. The main ways to identify if there is a bed bug problem is by looking around the bed and mattress seams for black specks that seem to resemble pepper flakes. These are bed bug feces and are a sure sign that there is a bed bug presence. Bed bugs themselves are rather flat with a slight elliptical shape to them with a reddish-brown color. They are usually no bigger than an apple seed in size.
Preparation When Traveling
There are some basic things you should do before embarking on your trip like:
Pack a flashlight – You’ll need one to inspect for bed bugs in your hotel room and around the bed where you plan on sleeping.
Use a hardshell or collapsible suitcase – Hardshells usually are easy to clean and don’t have seams where bed bugs can hide. If a hard-shell isn’t possible than a collapsible type suitcase is another option as these can be washed easily upon arriving home.
Bring a plastic bag (optional) – If you want to be extra careful, bring a large garbage bag to put your suitcase in during your trip. This will make it even more difficult for bed bugs to get into your luggage.
Read reviews carefully – Of course doing your due diligence on any place you plan on staying in is paramount. Any reviews that mention bed bugs should be taken seriously. Avoid any place with reviews mentioning bed bugs at any point during the establishment’s history, even if the review is old.
Inspecting for Bed Bugs
Upon arriving at your hotel, hostel or wherever you’re staying immediately put your luggage in a bathroom during the inspection process. Bathrooms are much safer to store your luggage in since they are usually full of slippery surfaces and tiles that bed bugs do not like. This will give you some time to inspect your room thoroughly before bringing your luggage into the actual hotel room main area.
Check All Areas of Your Room
You’ll want to be as thorough as possible with your inspection of your room. Areas you’ll want to check are:
- Head boards
- Box frames
- Night stands
- Book shelves
- Mattress pleats
- Curtain pleats
- Sheets and pillows
- Any items that have small crevices and crannies (like alarm clocks)
Keep Luggage Off the Ground
Once you’ve determined that room is clear, you can bring your luggage out from the bathroom into your room. Even though you may think that you are clear if you didn’t see anything during your inspection, you still want to be careful. Keep all of your luggage off of the floors, preferably on a desk or table that can’t easily be climbed up on from the ground.
Inspecting Rental Cars for Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are hitchhikers and they love to travel. That means that they can also end up in rental cars and get into any items you may have stored in the trunk or inside the car. After picking up your rental, do a quick sweep of the trunk, inside and tire areas to ensure there are no bed bugs hiding out in the rental. Check under spare tires as well for any remnants of past or present bed bug infestations.
Never assume that you came home bed-bug free. It’s always best to assume that you DID come home with bed bugs and get in the habit of handling your items as such upon arriving home. Some basic things to do when you’re coming home from your trip include:
Wash all your clothing in hot water. Even the clothing you didn’t wear. – If any bed bugs slipped in during any point of your trip, they will be killed during the wash.
Inspect Your Luggage Outside Your Home
Before bringing your luggage into your home, do a thorough inspection outside with a flashlight and a keen eye. The last thing you want to do is bring a single bed bug into your home from not checking your luggage thoroughly. You’ll want to inspect all necessary parts of your suitcase where bed bugs may be hiding such as:
- Seams and folds in your suitcase
- Zipper pockets
- Outside edges or crannies
After following these basic steps and educating yourself on how to identify bed bugs and prevent them, you’ll be able to travel the world and have peace of mind knowing that your chances of bringing bed bugs home with you are very slim. Staying alert and being diligent in your efforts will ensure you have many safe travels that are free of bed bugs. Check out the infographic below that helps illustrate the bed bug prevention process. And of course for any bed bug related situations be sure to talk to an expert at Bug Guardian Pest Prevention for possible bed bug treatment options.