With the Christmas holidays just around the corner, a lot of folks will be traveling to their Christmas destinations or family Christmas vacations. For many, that means staying in a variety of hotels during their journey.
Now, we don’t mean to take the fun out of traveling over the Christmas holidays, but hotels and other types of lodging open to the public can put you at risk of encountering bedbugs— and even accidentally bringing them home with you many times without you even knowing for months.
Actually, since early 2000 there has been quite a significant increase in the instances of bed bug infestations around the world.
The two main factors that are contributing to this rise in bedbug infestations are:
- Worldwide travel (which involves lodging like hotels, hostels, and Air BnB’s)
- Used furniture sales
How Do You End Up With Bed Bugs?
Since increased worldwide travel also involves increased traffic and occupancy rates. If one guest happens to have bed bugs, they can infest an entire hotel and grow in population or make the jump to another guest via their luggage or clothing.
Hotels are actually at as great of a risk of accommodating bed bugs as they are of fostering their spread. If hotels do not properly clean rooms and treat them regularly with proper pesticide, it can lead to a nearly uncontrollable infestation. Many Houston pest control companies receive so many service calls from hotels, that they only focus on hotels as their main revenue stream. It is that serious of a concern to hotels—once a bed bug report breaks to the press or goes viral, it can mean a serious impact in business and hotel reputation.
With conservation, recycling, repurposing becoming more of a fashion trend than just responsible citizenship, used furniture sales are consistently on the rise. More and more people are buying used or vintage furniture and redecorating or restoring it to suit their style.
The only problem with this is that it can also place in you at higher risk of having a bed bug infestation. Furniture such as couches, recliners, beds and other comfortable furniture is a perfect habitat for bedbugs to remain safe and stable and at the same time be close to a reliable food source—YOU.
How To Mitigate Your Risk Of Bed Bug Infestation
Now that you know how hotels and other public lodging plays into the bed bug equation when traveling, how do you prepare yourself for prevention?
You’ll be happy to know that as one of the best Houston pest control companies, we have treated our fair share of hotels in Houston with preventative measures to ward off bed bugs. That being said, there are still some precautions you should take when traveling and staying at hotels, to mitigate your risk of bed bug infestations.
Check Your Room Right Away
When you check into a hotel, motel, hostel or Air BnB; check the room immediately for bed bugs so you make sure they don’t hitch a free ride with you back to your home.
How to check your lodging for bed bugs:
- Bed – Check under and behind the mattress and frame. Bed bugs like it dark and hidden.
- Nightstands – Open the drawers and check not only the drawers but under the nightstands as well and behind it too.
- Closets, armoires, and baseboards – It’s good to keep a pocket flashlight on hand or at least use the app on your cell phone. Check the closets, armoires, and baseboards thoroughly.
- Sofa beds, chairs, and other furniture – Check the cushions, especially the seams
- Suitcase Stands – Inspect the web supports and the joints of the stand.
What You Should Be Looking For:
- Bedbugs, naturally
- Bedbug larvae
- Dark or black stains
- Skin that has been shed
Don’t Use Luggage Stands
One of the most underrated hot spots for bed bug activity is the luggage stand. Bedbugs frequently hitch a free ride on your luggage and inside luggage pockets and other crevices. When you return home from your trip and unpack the bedbugs unpack too, and start making themselves at home in your house. This is why luggage stands are often the main point of contact for bedbugs.
If you want to avoid this common method of “hitchhiking” by bedbugs it’s a good idea to not only leave your luggage inside the bathroom while inspecting the room but also for the duration of your stay. It may sound crazy but it’s actually a way to drastically mitigate your risk of any bedbugs getting in your luggage.
Word Of Mouth Alerts
if you’re traveling within the United States or abroad to the UK, you may find that you can get a heads up on bedbugs that are reported at area hotels where you’ll be traveling by checking the Bed Bug Registry. This handy community updated alert board and forum maintains a huge database that is open to the public for both checking cases of bed bugs in hotels in North America as well as the UK, but also to report them and any details that might be useful to other travelers. The database is also searchable by area such as states, cities, and by regions. It’s in your best interest to check this registry before booking your hotel when traveling to avoid any chance of bedbug infestation interrupting your life.
What You Can Do Post-Vacation
Okay, so you just got back from vacation, you took all the necessary steps to prevent bedbugs during your stay; now what do you do?
Simply taking necessary prevention steps to avoid bedbugs is a great first start when traveling— but it’s not enough, you also need to take some steps once you get home to ensure your house remains bedbug free.
What To Do With Luggage
When you get home from your vacation, it’s good to get in the habit of storing your luggage outside in a storage shed or in your garage. The best way to store luggage is in big trash bags and then tie them in a knot so that if there are any bedbugs they will suffocate and die. Since you already know that bedbugs love to take a free ride in your luggage especially without you knowing it, keeping your luggage this way will keep it from spreading into the interior of your home.
Now, when you plan to travel again and need to get your luggage out of the garage, make sure you check it before packing; it might even be a good idea to spray it with some bed bug killer spray and let it air out for a couple of hours before using it.
What To Do With Clothes
If bedbugs have gotten into your luggage without you knowing it, they most certainly are burrowed amongst your clothes as well. When you return home from a trip simply wash all of your clothes on the hottest temperature setting your washing machine is capable of. Make sure you wash these clothes right away once you take them out of the luggage, don’t store them in a hamper and then do it later.
Once the clothes are washed, you should dry them for at least 30 minutes in a dryer— do not air dry. The reason for this is that bedbugs do not survive in high temperatures. Washing them in hot water will not only kill adult bedbugs but also bedbug eggs that could hatch later on if not exposed to high temperatures.
Got A Bedbug Problem? Call The Best Pest Control In Houston
if you’re reading this blog a little too late, and you already have a bedbug infestation there really is no do-it-yourself solution. You need to call Champions Pest Control. We have approved pesticides and preventive methods that are safe for your home, your pets, and your family. Contact one of our consultants for a free estimate on treating your home for bedbugs.