As you prepare for the upcoming holiday season which may include travel plans and hotel stays in unfamiliar surroundings, Massey Services offers the following information to help you avoid bed bugs and learn how to conduct a bed bug inspection and protect yourselves from these pesky travel companions.
What are bed bugs and what do they look like?
Bed bugs, a classic travel pest, are small parasitic insects that feed on human blood. Bed bugs are tiny, oval, brown and wingless insects approximately 1/4” to 3/8” long (5-9 mm). As their name implies, these bloodsuckers make their homes in beds, but also in couches, clothing and seats of airplanes and trains. They crawl out of crevices to feed on blood and these painless attacks generally go undetected until a skin rash appears.
What can I do to protect myself?
When checking into a hotel room or after visiting guests have left your home, you can perform a simple bed bug inspection of the room.
- Pull pillows and sheets down about 1/3 of the way from the top of the bed and look for reddish-brown or black spots on the sheets near the bed’s headboard. You may not see the actual bugs themselves but they do leave a trail of spots.
- Look for spots on mattresses, pillows, headboards and walls behind headboards.
- Check the inside of dresser drawers for insects and black spots.
- Contact Guest Services immediately if you’ve found any signs of bed bugs during your inspection.
If I suspect I was in a room with bed bugs, what should I do when I return home?
- Isolate the items in your travel bags from other items in your home – the garage is a great place.
- Put clothing and other heat tolerant items into your dryer for a minimum of 20 minutes – the heat will eliminate bed bugs.
- After thoroughly heating the items, wash as normal.
- Check all luggage before storing it away. Vacuum out luggage and clean the exterior surface.
What if I have guests staying in my home?
When welcoming family and friends into your home who have been staying in hotels or on a cruise ship, be aware that bed bugs may have hitched a ride with them. After your guests leave, carefully inspect guest rooms for any signs of bed bugs. Wash all bed linens as soon as possible.