At bedtime, it’s common for parents to sweetly send their children off to sleep by saying, “Sleep tight — don’t let the bed bugs bite!” But could you imagine the reaction if that was said to vacationers by hotel staff? People wouldn’t be able to check out fast enough. Unfortunately, travelers will never be given such a clear warning about bed bugs in real life, but there are steps they can take to prevent an encounter while enjoying a trip away from home.
Bed bugs, which feed on human blood and often leave behind red, itchy welts, continue to be a major concern, especially as travel season heats up and incidents rise. In fact, a recent study conducted by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and the University of Kentucky found that 99.6 percent of pest control companies treated for bed bugs in the year prior. Pest control companies also reported treating for infestations in a variety of locations, including five-star hotels, retail stores, single-family homes, apartments, movie theaters, hospitals, schools and even on public transportation.
These biting pests are seemingly found everywhere, and no one wants to cuddle up with them in a hotel room, or worse, bring them back home. So, what can you do to avoid bed bugs while traveling? Use this helpful advice from NPMA:
* Upon check-in, inspect the entire room before unpacking. Use a flashlight to search behind the headboard and in the crevices of furniture, looking for the bugs themselves or shed skins. Pull back bed sheets and check mattress seams and box springs for pepper-like stains that may be evidence of bed bug activity.
* If you suspect an infestation, notify management and change rooms immediately. Be sure the new room is not adjacent to or directly below or above the possibly infested room.
* Keep suitcases off the beds and in plastic bags or protective covers to prevent the bugs from latching onto luggage.
* Once back home, inspect all belongings before bringing them into the house.
* Wash all clothes in hot water and dry on an extra-hot dryer setting.
* If you are concerned that you brought bed bugs home, contact a professional pest control company to thoroughly inspect the property and if needed, offer guidance on treatment options.
Bed bugs are hardy and stealthy hitchhikers, so it is essential that travelers practice caution during and after trips. For more bed bug advice, please visit: http://www.pestworld.org/all-things-bed-bugs/.
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