Everyone who travels for the holidays expects to exchange gifts with loved ones. But in some cases, you might be bringing home more than you bargained for. Whether you’re staying in a hotel or a family member’s spare room, there’s always a chance that you might be exposed to bed bugs — a gift that keeps giving because they’re so hard to get rid of.
If you’re traveling for the holidays this year, it’s a good idea to check your belongings before you leave and throughout your stay to ensure bed bugs don’t hitch a ride home with you. Here’s how.
Why Check for Bed Bugs?
When you’re traveling, the last thing you want to worry about is bringing home some unwanted souvenirs – like bed bugs. But unfortunately, these tiny pests are becoming more and more common in hotels and other places where people stay.
Bed bugs are experts at hitchhiking. They can cling to your clothes or luggage and travel home with you without being noticed.
Bed bugs are also difficult to spot. They hide during the day and come out at night to feed on blood. So when you’re stumbling into bed after a long day, you aren’t likely to check your bed for bugs before you crash for the night.
Bed bugs are a growing problem in homes, hotels, and other places where people gather. These pests are difficult to control because they can hide so well and they reproduce quickly. And once they’re in your home, they’re very difficult to get rid of. You’ll probably need professional bed bug treatment.
What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?
Bed bugs are small, parasitic insects that feed on the blood of humans and animals. They are reddish-brown in color, with a flattened body about the size of an apple seed. Bed bugs are wingless and have six legs. They are skilled at hiding and can be found in cracks and crevices in beds, furniture, and walls.
Where Do Bed Bugs Like to Hide?
Naturally, bed bugs love burrowing in your mattress and bed covers (hence the name). But those aren’t the only places you’ll find them.
Bed bugs love tiny, dark places, which makes lots of areas in your home hospitable to them. Bed bugs are not just found in beds. They can be found on your furniture, in your carpet, or even in cracks in your walls.
Some surprising places you’ll want to check include:
- The seams of your mattress
- Your suitcase
- Any furniture in the room
- Under cushions
- In the fibers of a rug
- Stuffed animals
- Decorative pillows
- Inside electrical fixtures
- Computer keyboards
- Cracks in the walls or baseboards
Surprised at some of these hiding spots? Bed bugs are hide-and-seek champs.
When you’re at a hotel or even a loved one’s home, it’s always a good idea to take a look around.
How to Check for Bed Bugs
It doesn’t matter how “clean” a home is; pest infections happen. Bed bugs aren’t interested in crumbs on the floor — they want you, humans!
Here’s how to tell if a room has bed bugs and what to do next.
When settling into your room, it’s best to do a quick sweep before bringing in your luggage. Check the furniture (including the bed) for spots of blood or feces. Remove the fitted sheet and pillowcases to inspect the mattress and pillows.
Other signs to look for include:
- Stains that are reddish-brown or rust-like on the mattress
- Black marker-sized dots on fabrics
- Pale yellow skins (bed bugs will shed their skin during the molting phase)
- Live bed bugs
If the coast is clear, feel free to bring in your luggage but try to keep it off the floor and away from the bed and other fabrics.
If the room passes the initial test, you may not be in the clear. Remember, bed bugs like to come out at night, so you may want to do the above tests throughout your visit.
If you are traveling with pets, keep a comb handy. Bed bugs tend to prefer humans, but may try to make a meal out of your dog or cat.
Before packing up to go home, check all of your luggage, jackets, purses, children’s stuffed animals, backpacks, and other belongings for signs of bed bugs. It’s possible that a few may try to stow away and find a new place to infest.
Do one more bed bug check on your belongings before bringing them into the house. Yes, your neighbors might think you’re a little odd unpacking your bags in the driveway. But it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
I Got Bed Bugs for the Holidays: Now What?
If you do your due diligence and still end up with bed bugs after traveling for the holidays, strike fast. The quicker you respond, the easier it will be to curb the spread and get rid of bed bugs for good.
First things first: declutter your home. Give bed bugs fewer places to hide so you can more easily spot them and kill them on sight.
Next step: Reach out to your local pest control company. Our team is skilled in treating bed bugs and other common pest situations. We’ll use the most effective methods to blast those bugs into permanent hibernation, helping you save money in the long run by not letting the infestation get out of control.
Contact us today for a free quote and get back to your sweet dreams!