Bed Bugs: Vacation Crashers, Be Aware!

Taking a vacation is one of the most relaxing things to do to get away from a stress filled life. From going somewhere tropical like the Bahamas to getting some skiing done in the mountains of Colorado, these destinations are worth the while to visit to get a stress reliever. While we are on vacation our hotel or condo becomes our home away from home. One of the main things that we use is the bed. After a day full of adventure and relaxation the bed is the next thing that comes to mind to rest for the next day. But with that comes the possibility of bed bugs.

Bed bugs have been in the news for a few years now as the tiny parasites that can cause so much trouble. They brought more awareness to the importance of the cleanliness of the mattresses and sheets and the bedroom in general. More specifically, hotel rooms.

An infestation in a hotel room can cause a bigger problem because if there are bed bugs on the mattress and you have been rolling around and sitting your suitcase and clothes on there the bed bugs can get into your belongings. This is definitely not good because you can then create an infestation in your home.

You can prevent this from happening with the tips and information below!

Bed Bug Awareness Tips bed bugs

These are some things that can be done before you get to your hotel and when you first arrive at there.

Read Hotel Reviews!  Those hotel reviews aren’t just to see if the complimentary breakfast was worth the early wake up! You can usually spot a previous customers opinions about the hotel’s condition. If you go to the Bed Bug Registry website, the hotel you may have booked a room with could be on the list. So if you can get a cancellation in time you may want to do so!

Protect your belongings! The quickest way to get an infestation in your home is by the bed bugs getting into your luggage. Instead of putting your bags on the bed when you first get into the hotel room, leave them on the luggage racks they provide. You can also put them in the bath tub. According to Shawn G. Gibbs, PhD, an associate professor in the Department of Environmental, Agricultural & Occupational Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, “Bed bugs do not climb smooth surfaces very well.”

Thoroughly Check the Sheets! Although bed bugs do not live in mattresses, they do nestle into these spaces waiting to be accompanied by a human. So before you getting cozy in that bed, take time to un-tuck all the sheets and do a search for these small critters. You may find live bugs or some big indicators that they have been there.

Some of the red flags are:

Spotting: Dark spots slightly larger than the period at the end of this sentence are bed bug feces. They’re usually found in clusters.

Reddish stains: These are caused by crushed bed bugs.

Egg shells: Look for very small white eggshells, about 1 millimeter in size.

Nymph skins: These look like “empty” bugs and are shed as the bugs grow.

Check the headboard. Hotels do change the sheets often but they can transfer to different places. The most reliable place to look is the headboard, where bed bugs might run and hide. You can also take a flashlight and look under the bed at the bottom of the box spring.

Check cracks and seams. Check not just in the mattress but in the entire room. If the room is widely infested, bed bugs might hide in the seams of furnishings as well as in mattresses and box springs. Also look in cracks on bed frames, drawer joints, and electrical outlets.

What if I find bed bugs? bed bugs

If you find bed bugs in your room the first thing you have to do is let management know. This may then turn into a confrontational thing to bring up the cleanliest of a manager’s establishment but it has to be done! Either you want the bed bugs to be your bed mates or you want to be free of that problem!

You should first ask to stay in a different unit in another part of the hotel. If there is an infestation it could also be in the neighboring rooms so you want to avoid that possibility all together. If the hotel is keen on customer service then they will work with getting you a better room or a complimentary gesture for your troubles.

Though bed bugs can be present in both high-end and more affordable hotels, management’s approach to the problem can differ. Jim Stavropoulos,  exterminator EcoTech, the parent company of Chicago Bed Bug Experts, says with notes that some hotel managers choose to treat only the unit known to have bed bugs even though nearby units could also be infected. “The better hotels will address it right away,” he says, “because they don’t want bad publicity.”

You may cross a manager who is reluctant to admit or move you from the infested room. With this problem, you should immediately return to the room and take pictures of the signs and bugs (if you spotted any) to demonstrate to them that they exist. If they still do not want to comply, or just ignore your complaint, you should request a refund. Then file a complain with the corporate office. Justice needs to be served for this problem and taking extra steps will help do so.

Home Precautionsbed bugs

You may end up bringing some of the bed bugs with you back home with you so there are some things that need to be done to ensure that you end that problem right then!

FIRST unpack you clothes in your laundry room. This will make it easier to immediately wash all of these clothes. If you are not able to wash them right then, use bags that can be sealed to keep them separated from your other unaffected clothes.

– You must then wash the clothes at a HIGH HEAT. A good temperature would be 113 degrees F for an hour to kill the bed bugs. You may have some really food detergent but that is not enough, heat is needed to wipe them out.

– Once your clothes are dry and clean, do an EXTRA DRYING CYCLE for about 30 minutes to get the rest of heat needed for the termination.

CLEAN YOUR SUITCASE just in case some were shaken off of your clothing or crawled into a crevice. You can use a stiff-bristled brush to rub the surfaces in side  the suitcase.

– If you can SEAL OFF THE SUITCASE in a big container or bag that can help also. After a few months, the bed bugs will die because won’t have a warm-blooded food source to live off of. Once this happens you can vacuum the remnants.

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