Travelers have to prepare for a variety of necessities and complications, including food, gas, communication, clothing, delays, and emergencies. However, most travelers overlook a very common nuisance that can be found in many hotels, motels, and other temporary living establishments- bed bugs. While these pests may seem like a trivial concern that are only mentioned in childrens’ bedtime tales, they actually have the ability to ruin an entire vacation.
In cases of severe infestation, travelers can be bitten hundreds of times in a single night, waking up with a generalized rash that leaves their entire body itching furiously for several days. Even in cases of slight infestation, it may be difficult to sleep while the tiny blood-feeding parasites are busy extracting their nightly meal from the victims thighs, legs, arms, back, neck and stomach, causing intense tossing and turning and lack of recuperative sleep. The next day, if they’ve managed to sleep through the attack, the traveler awakens to find rashes all over their body, and the rest of their day is plagued by fatigue and severe itching spells. Realizing the aforementioned effects of bed bug attacks, it’s easy to see why one should take the following precautions to prevent bed bug attacks while traveling.
Bed Bugs Travel Prevention
As always, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and this is especially true with bed bugs. Once these tiny seed-sized pests have infested clothing and other personal items, it can be very difficult to get rid of them. To prevent bed bugs, we recommend using the acronym – S.L.E.E.P.
Survey the area for signs of bed bug infestations, such as red or dark brown spots on bed sheets.
Lift the mattress, and other furniture items to look for bed bug hiding places.
Elevate all luggage and personal items. Use racks to keep these items away from carpets and beds.
Examine all luggage and personal items before returning home to prevent bed bug migration.
Professional extermination service are available in the event of a bed bug infestation.
Note: If the hotel is infested with bed bugs, it is a good idea to recommend these professional services to the hotel manager, or refuse to stay in that hotel.
Bed Bug Inspection
Before deciding to stay at a particular establishment, travelers should ensure their room is bed bug free. Although the above steps provide a basic outline for bed bug prevention, there is much more information needed in regards to bed bug inspection.
The first step in bed bug inspection is checking the cracks in the foot and head boards of the bed. It is also recommended to check int eh side railings and bed posts, as bed bugs love to hide in an area near the bed. Once the exterior of the bed has been inspected, the tops, sides, and bottom of the mattress should be inspected. This means thoroughly examining every are of the mattress, including any button, rips or seams.
Bed bugs also like to hide in the walls, and other areas near furniture where humans frequently rest. For this reason it is wise to check the electrical sockets, wall fixtures, picture frames, and cracks or seams in walls. After this, check all appliances such as radios, televisions, and phones and any other item that the bed bugs may hide in.
Bed Bug Bed Covers
Since bed bugs are a very common pest, frequent travelers are likely to encounter them sooner or later. Therefore, it may be wise to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Instead of relying on bed bug free hotels, travelers may do better to prepare for a bed bug infestation by bringing their own bed bug bed covers. Bed bug covers encase the entire mattress, trapping the bed bugs in the mattress while the consumer rests easy. There are two kinds of bed bug bed covers; vinyl and fabric.
Of these types, the vinyl is usually less expensive, however is also less comfortable. Vinyl bed covers also tear easily in comparison to fabric bed bug bed covers. Although the initial investment is higher with a fabric bed cover, many experts say the cost is less in the long run, as users have to replace them less frequently. All frequent travelers should carry a bed bug cover with them to any new destination.
Even worse than a temporary bed bug infestation ruining a vacation, is a permanent bed bug infestation ruining a household. Therefore it is very important to ensure these pesky blood feeding parasites stay where they are. The primary mode of transportation and migration for bed bugs is luggage. These tiny parasites are capable of penetrating virtually any kind of luggage, including backpacks, suitcases, clothing articles and even electronic appliances.
Therefore it is crucial to make sure all luggage is placed in an area where bed bugs cannot access it. Many people place their luggage in the bathroom, or on an elevated shelf away from the bed. There are also luggage bags made especially for this purpose, and one can even temporarily store luggage in a large contractor or trash bag as well. Regardless of the chosen method, it is imperative to prevent the spread of bed bugs.
Sprays Are Ineffective
Perhaps the most common misconception about bed bugs is that there are repellents that can be used to deter them. The truth is actually the exact opposite; bed bugs are some of the most determined pests known to man, and even the strongest repellents have absolutely no effect on them. This is not to say that the repellent won’t kill them, as it will in time, however it does little to stop them from attacking. In fact, studies have shown that the bed bug will actually remain in contact with the repellent almost obliviously, until it dies!
This is a stark contrast to other insects and pests, who can easily be deterred by the slightest scent of a repellent. Since sprays don’t work, bed bug extermination is often extremely difficult, requiring several visits. This is obviously not an option when traveling, so rather than relying on extermination techniques, it is best to adhere to the aforementioned prevention and inspection tips, to minimize the effects of bed bug infestation when traveling.