You may have heard the myth that bed bugs are found only in dirty conditions. Truth is, bed bugs can infiltrate even the cleanest homes and find places to hide. Taking precautions before, during and after your travels may sound like a lot of work; but if you want to keep your home bed bug free, you have to protect yourself and your family.
BEFORE YOU GO
Check tripadvisor.com, hotelchatter.com and bedbugregistry.com for hotels you’re considering. While there’s no guarantee that all travelers report bed bug infestations at hotels, checking these sites will at least reduce the chances of you staying at one with the problem.
Choose the Right Luggage
Use hard luggage that closes tightly instead of soft luggage with zippers. Bed bugs are small enough to squeeze through closed zippers and they like fabric more than metals and plastic.
WHEN YOU CHECK INTO YOUR HOTEL
Protect Your Luggage
Never put your luggage on the bed or couch in your room. Place your bag(s) on a hard, light-colored surface, a luggage rack (after you give it a good look over,) or put them in the bath tub while you check your room.
Check Your Room
As unpleasant as it sounds, you need to check for bed bug eggs, fecal stains, molted exoskeletons and the bugs themselves. Here are the places to check:
- Mattresses and seams.
- Behind the headboard for any cracks that might have bed bugs.
- The underside of bed where the box spring is (if you can safely lift it out of the frame.)
- The creases of drapes, seams of couch cushions, cracks and crevices of any furniture
- Cracks near wall trim, behind picture frames and any joints where floors and walls meet.
Before you leave
Even if you didn’t see any signs of bed bugs and you appear bed bug bite free, check the seams, nooks, folds and creases of your luggage, bags and clothes. To be on the safe side, check the room again.
WHEN YOU GET HOME
Do not bring your suitcase into your bedroom or living room. Never unpack on a bed or sofa. Unpack directly into your washing machine if possible. If it’s not, then unpack on a hard, light-colored surface so you can spot any bed bugs that might come out. Unpack directly into a sealable bag that can prevent any bed bugs from escaping.
Launder Clothes Immediately
Even if you didn’t wear all of the clothes you packed, wash them all as soon as you get home. Don’t let them sit around in (or out of) your bag, avoid mixing them with other clothes and don’t let them come in contact with your bed, carpets or furniture. Dryer-safe bags like backpacks can also go through the dryer, on high heat, to kill any hitchhiking bed bugs.
Treat Your Luggage After you finish unpacking, vacuum your luggage thoroughly by getting into all of the seams, folds and crevices, with a bag-type vacuum. During warmer months, seal your bags in black trash bags and let them sit in your car, out in the sun for a few hours. Don’t stack up items or multiple pieces of luggage in the same bag; this only gives bed bugs the opportunity to find cool places to hide.
Listen to these tips about Bed Bugs
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Watch our video to learn more about bed bug prevention tips.