When staying at a hotel it is supposed to be carefree but these days, you need to take measures to protect yourself and family not only from COVID but it could potentially be housing bed bugs too.

Even nice hotels can get bed bugs whether it’s a five-star hotel, complementary robes to the plush linens to the minibar stocked with goodies or roadside motel, bed bugs don’t discriminate.

Bed bugs can definitely tend to be a bigger issue in some of the roadside hotels and motels where you have a higher incidence of extended-stay residents compared to some of your higher-end hotels, but it can all vary dramatically from property to property.

If you’ve ever dealt with a bed bug infestation, you know it’s not an experience you’d wish on your worst enemy. So it’s worth it to be mindful while traveling.

Never put your luggage on your bed before checking for bed bugs.  Bed bugs are most commonly transported to new places via luggage.

Instead of putting your luggage on the bed temporarily place your luggage in the bath or shower as soon as you enter your hotel room. Bed bugs cannot climb smooth surfaces and you’d easily spot a bed bug in a light-colored bath.  Another option is to place your suitcase in a plastic trash bag or protective cover.  This can be done during the duration of your trip to ensure that bed bugs cannot take up residence there prior to departure. 

Inspect the bed

Bed bugs, which are small and brown in color, prefer to hide in close proximity to their hosts so they can sneak out at night and draw a blood meal without being noticed so that’s the first place you should check.

The obvious areas such as the edges of the mattress and box spring as well as any area you can see on the headboard without moving everything around. In addition to the visible mattress seams and box spring, you can also inspect the pillows, sheets and comforter for telltale stains or spots. There may also be blood stains on the sheets from previous bites of earlier guests or you may be able to spot bed bug eggs. They are pearly white and found in clusters that are about a millimeter long

Bed bugs can also hide in other places besides the bed. You should also be checking for bed bugs beside cabinets, in dressers, around picture frames, and on furniture, especially any that is fabric-covered. As well as inspecting the edge of the carpet along the wall of your room.

Change rooms if needed

If you discover a bed bug while inspecting, try your best to carefully capture the insect, and take pictures and video of what you’ve found. Contact management immediately as this documentation will assists you and the hotel management with choosing the next best step for your stay.

If you decide to change rooms within the same establishment, make sure you don’t move to a room that is adjacent or directly above or below the suspected infestation.
Bed bugs can easily hitchhike via housekeeping carts, luggage and even through wall sockets. If an infestation is spreading, it typically does so in the rooms closest to the origin.

Can certain luggage attract or deter bed bugs

Seemingly, the color of the bags you choose could play a part in that. According to a 2016 study published in the Journal of Medical Entomology, bed bugs prefer red or black shelters, while they are repelled by the colors yellow and green. This is likely because darker colors provide better hiding spots, the researchers note.

Having dirty laundry in your luggage can also attract bed bugs. A 2017 study published in the journal Scientific Reports found that these pests are twice as likely to cluster onto bags containing dirty clothes than ones with only clean clothes inside. According to the researchers, they may be attracted to the scent of dirty laundry, so you’ll want to keep clothes you’ve worn in a sealed bag to hold in the smell.

Inspect and clean your belongings at home

The bed bug prevention process doesn’t end when you leave the hotel. Whether or not you observed evidence of bed bugs, you can still take precautions when you return home.

Remember: Bed bugs travel by hitching rides. After your trip, inspect your suitcases before bringing them into the house.    Vacuum your suitcase thoroughly before storing away. You can also use a garment hand steamer to steam your luggage, which will kill any bed bugs or eggs that may have hitched a ride home.

Drying all of the clothes from your luggage on high heat for at least 30-45 minutes on high heat can kill all life stages of bed bugs and any eggs that may have wound up in the bags.  And if you do suspect an infestation in your home, seek professional help.

Bed bugs are not a DIY pest, as they are the one of the most difficult pests to control. Homeowners should immediately dry bedding, linens, curtains and clothing on the hottest dryer setting, as well as vacuum the area infested. From there, homeowners should seek assistance from a licensed pest control professional who can properly inspect and treat the home.

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