Bed Bugs and Holiday Travel

The holidays are upon us and many of us are packing up and traveling to spend time with family and friends or hosting the festivities at your own home.
But as our travel plans get closer, we continue to see more and more in the news about bed bugs. So how can you prevent bed bugs from ruining your holiday plans?

Here are a few commonly asked questions about bed bugs that may help as you’re checking into a hotel or having guests stay over.

What do bed bugs look like?
Bed bugs are tiny, oval, brown and wingless insects approximately
1/4” to 3/8” long (5-9 mm).

Is there really a huge outbreak?
Bed bugs have made a comeback in the United States over the last
few years. The largest outbreaks have been reported in large
cities with high rates of tourism.

Where are bed bugs typically found?
Bed bugs are most frequently found in hotels. They travel by
hitching rides with unsuspecting guests by crawling into clothing
and luggage. All hotels are susceptible to bed bugs – from motels to
five star hotels.

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.
1) Pull pillows & 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.
2) Look for spots on mattresses, pillows, headboards and walls behind
headboards.
3) Check the inside of dresser drawers for insects & 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?

1) Isolate the items in your travel bags from other items in your home –
the garage is a great place.
2) Put clothing and other heat tolerant items into your dryer for a minimum of 20 minutes – the heat will eliminate bed bugs.
3) After thoroughly heating the items, wash as normal.
4) 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.