Important Traveler Tips For Avoiding Bed Bugs

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Does your job require its fair share of traveling? You may have concerns of plane reality, terrorist attacks, illness, arrival times and many more. Have you ever been concerned about bringing home bed bugs?

Most of us have heard a story or two about how ferociously difficult it is to rid your home of bed bugs, but what you may not realize is how obscenely easy it is to bring them home from your travels. Small and clever, bed bugs tuck into seams and nooks on your luggage with ease. Bed bugs aren’t just showing up in hotel rooms, they’re lurking in rental cars, taxis, and in some cases, the airport baggage claim area. The website, Bed Bug Registry is designed for travelers to check-up on the hotel they plan to stay in. Bed bug sniffing dogs (yes they exist) are popular to identify where bed bugs lurk in a home, business or other establishment.

David Hedman, CEO of ThermaPure, notes “There are several things travelers can do to be proactive and they’re as easy as traveling with collapsible luggage and carrying a hand-held flashlight.”

Why should we travel with collapsible luggage?

You want to be able to place your bags in the dryer (for 30 minutes at high heat) immediately after returning home, and you can do that with hard-sided bags. The bugs don’t mind the cold, but they can’t tolerate heat.” Hedman recalls a story one of his customers shared about freezing a bed bug. “She defrosted the bug, and it just crawled away.”

How can I tell if my hotel room has bed bugs?

First, once you enter the room it’s very important you put luggage in the bathtub because it is an uncommon location for bed bugs. Don’t put anything on the bed, in the dresser or closet. This is where your little flashlight is so important; bed bugs are hiding where the blood host sleeps so the three most common areas are the headboard, nightstand and mattress.

Shine the flashlight on the front and back of the headboard. On the nightstand they curl up in the tiny screw holes and lurk in the other nooks and crannies where two joints come together. On the bed just pull the bedding back and look for them along seam lines on the mattress or box spring. You should also be looking for blood spots as well.

How can I tell if my rental car has them?

Interestingly we find lower rental car infestation rates during summer months because the cars heat up (in excess of 120 degrees) sitting on the lot. High heat for more than 30 minutes is a great tip for avoiding bed bug. When car is hot they’ll go down in the trunk or under the spare tire, and those are the places you want to look first with your flashlight.

Where else should we be proactive in looking for bed bugs?

Right now we are not seeing many bed bugs in airplanes, however we suspect, there are bed bugs in airport luggage areas.

If I suspect I’ve brought bed bugs home, what now?

If you think you have bed bugs, or during your travels you suspect you were bitten, upon arrival home immediately put all clothing and luggage in dryer and let it go for 45 minutes on high heat (roughly the 130 to 165 Fahrenheit), that will kill them. If it’s too late for that, consider a bed bug inspection. But do your due diligence and be sure to retain a pest professional who is licensed in bed bug removal.

When following the bed bug tips above and having the education about bed bugs, you should have no worries when traveling. It is important to perform inspections when you arrive and return home to remain bed bug free. Living in Albany, Clifton Park, Saratoga or any other Capital Region communities, Thomas Pest Services is your local exterminator who provides bed bug treatments. At the first signs of bed bugs, contact Thomas Pest Services and do not try to treat on your own.

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