Vacation is a relaxing time, the part of your year where you can break out of the ordinary routine and focus on fun. Nothing can bring you back to reality more quickly than learning you not only brought home pictures and memories of your trip, but also a colony of bed bugs from your hotel room. Bed bugs are one of the most stubborn parasites that can infiltrate your home, with treatment options costing $1,500 or more. Read on to learn more about how to identify your hotel room for potential threats, as well as how to treat any bed bugs you may have ended up bringing home.
Avoiding bed bugs before and during your trip
As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Taking a few minutes to research your destination and give it a quick inspection before unpacking your luggage can prevent an expensive and time-consuming treatment regimen later.
- Do your research
Several public websites ask users to submit their own observations of or experiences with bed bugs in various hotels across the U.S. and Canada. Check out your hotel a few weeks prior to departure to make sure that no bed bugs have been reported there.
- Inspect the hotel room
After you've arrived at your hotel, leave your luggage in the hallway (or lock it in the bathroom, if you're alone) while you do a quick inspection of the hotel's bed and chairs. Peel back the linens and examine the edges of the mattress, and lift up any chair cushions and look carefully at the seams. If you see brown or black residue, or what looks like tiny spots of blood, leave the room immediately.
Preventing bed bugs after you return home
Even if you did inadvertently bring home some unwanted souvenirs after returning from your trip, there are a few steps you can take to minimize the chances that your new friends settle in.
- Wash all clothes and linens immediately
As soon as you get home, wash the contents of your suitcase in the hottest water available. Most bed bug treatment concentrates exposing the bugs to strong heat, as they are not tolerant of high temperatures -- so washing any bed bugs in very hot water should effectively kill them. You'll also want to wipe down any shoes with a hot, wet rag and allow them to dry away from carpet and other soft surfaces.
If you're unable to thoroughly clean the inside of your suitcase, put it in the garage or basement for a few weeks -- long enough for any potential eggs to hatch. If, after a few weeks, you see no evidence of bed bugs inside your suitcase, it can be returned to the house. If you have further questions check out companies such as Cavanaugh's Professional Termite & Pest Services for help.