Tips for Travelers - How to Avoid Bed BugsThe first thing to remember – don’t stay home just to avoid bed bugs. You can get bedbugs without ever leaving home. If you live in an attached residence you can get bed bugs. In addition, your kids can bring them from college or from a friend’s house. You could also bring them home from work. Unfortunately, bed bugs have become part of our every day reality, so simply avoiding travel will no longer keep you safe from bed bugs. Find out more at www.CallFreedomPest.com
Preparation for your vacation:
Before you leave on your vacation there are a few simple steps you can take to safeguard your home from infestation upon your return. By taking the time to follow these steps prior to your departure, you will decrease your chances of bringing home bed bugs.
1. Carefully research your hotel prior to your departure by searching on Google for your hotel’s name – include the search criteria “bedbugs” or “bed bugs”. Read any recent reviews. If they have been treated for bedbugs, you’ll most likely hear about it online. If you see one unpleasant report, please, take it with a grain of salt. However, multiple bad reviews, or reviews which repeat a particular issue, can suggest that the property is not safe from bedbugs or other pests.
2. Call the hotel and ask questions regarding bed bugs - what is the hotel’s policy on bed bugs? Has your room had any bed bug complaints? If they fail to provide you with straight forward answers or avoid answering the questions all together, that’s a dangerous sign and you should consider changing your accommodations.
3. If you decide to continue with your trip as planned, start by packing a small bright flashlight to inspect the room for bedbugs upon your arrival.
4. Pack a disposable luggage encasement or large contractor trash bag to put your luggage in when you arrive at your hotel room.
5. Bring large zip lock bags for all the belongings you will be keeping out of your luggage, such as your keys, passports, credit cards, etc.Upon Arrival:
Upon entering your room, immediately take your luggage to the bathroom and place the luggage into the bathtub. Follow these instructions prior to settling in:
1. In a hotel room the headboard is the only item that is not disturbed during daily housekeeping and is great harborage for bed bugs. By using your flashlight, try to get a good look behind the head board. If possible remove the headboard from the wall to get a better look behind. Most headboards are usually held on the wall with brackets, lift up 1 – 2 inches to remove. You are looking for several things - brownish black specks or bed bug feces, bed bug shells which are the bed bug exoskeletons and lastly, live bed bugs.
2. Your next step is to take the bed sheets off the mattress and examine it carefully. Inspect the seams and the tag, as bed bugs often shield themselves in these areas.
3. Now open all the drawers and cabinets in the room and look carefully inside for the same signs.
4. When you have finished checking the room, carefully check to see the luggage rack is free of pests - look at it from top to bottom, and under the straps. Now place your luggage on the stand, being careful not to put any of your things on the bed or on the floor.
5. If you determine the room to be unsafe and request another room, be sure to follow the same steps in the next room as the problem could be property wide, and not limited to one room.
6. Once you have determined the room to be safe, take out your disposable luggage encasement (bag) and encase the luggage, being careful to only take out those items you are going to be using.
7. Use the large zip lock bags for all belongings you will be keeping out of your luggage.Before You Leave:
1. Inspect all of the items that were taken out of the encased luggage. After you have determined the items are okay, immediately place them in a separate bag in your luggage.
2. Scan through your sheets with a flashlight before you leave. If you notice blood splotches, there is a good chance you have been bitten by bed bugs.
3. Take the luggage out of the encasement and dispose of the encasement as you exit the room.
4. Just prior to taking your luggage back into your home make sure you use the other encasement or trash bag and place each piece of luggage into the bag.Arriving at Home:
Even if you follow all the steps listed above, it is still very important to take precautions when you arrive at your home to avoid bringing any unwanted infestation. The best rule of thumb is to assume you have bed bugs, that way you will be more diligent in taking precautions. Bear in mind bed bugs are great hitchhikers, so it is just as easy to catch them from another suitcase on an airplane as it is from a hotel room. Sometimes the signs are not as clear, so it is best to continue to use caution to ensure your home remains safe from bedbugs.
1. Do not bring your luggage contents into your home right away; it is best to leave them in the garage or in the car until you are ready to unpack.
2. When you are ready to begin unpacking and laundering your clothing, it is best to carry everything into your home using a bag. Prior to washing your clothing, place the items in the dryer and using its hottest setting, dry your clothes for 30 minutes.
3. Other items that cannot be put in the dryer should be wiped down with isopropyl alcohol before bringing them into your home.
4. Your empty luggage should be vacuumed and inspected carefully before bringing it in your home. It is normally best to leave the luggage in the encasements or trash bags while they are in storage.
5. Finally, make sure you dispose of all the bags that were used in transporting your clothes and luggage, in addition, remember to dispose of the vacuum cleaner bag after vacuuming your luggage.