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Drop Bed Bugs From Your Summer Vacation Itinerary

bed bugs

According to travel industry research, July is the most popular month for vacations in the United States, with nearly 46 percent of Americans indicating they will be scheduling time off to get away. August and June finished second and third, respectively.

Unfortunately, summer travel also means unwanted and uninvited guests looking to join in on the fun. Who are these interlopers? Bed bugs.

Bed bugs are highly mobile pests that can be found in a variety of vacation locations, including hotel rooms, buses, and airplanes, and they can be easily (and unknowingly) transported back home in backpacks and luggage.

A recent survey conducted by the National Pest Management Association and the University of Kentucky asked pest management professionals where they find bed bugs most often. Topping the list is apartments/condominiums (95 percent), single-family homes (93 percent) and hotels/motels (75 percent).


The Clark Man wants to make sure you and your family enjoy your summer vacation and that no unwanted travelers join you along the way. To help prevent bed bugs from spoiling your vacation, the Clark Man offers the following tips:

Before You Leave Home

Check travel websites to see if your hotel has been reported as having bed bugs. You’ll have to filter and read through the lines on some reviews, but many websites (e.g.,, can give you a heads up that maybe you want to make a reservation at a less “buggy” establishment.

Once you confirm your destination is not on anyone’s bed bug most-wanted list, pack your belongings inside sealable plastic bags and bring some extra-large plastic trash bags.


When You Arrive at Your Hotel

Upon arrival, inspect your room for dark fecal or dried blood spots on bedding, and closely examine the folds or creases of the mattress and box springs, upholstered chairs, drawers, and headboards.

If you discover signs of bed bugs, contact the management right away and insist that they move you to another room, one that is not next to or immediately adjacent to the infested room (including directly upstairs and downstairs). 

Once you’ve determined that your room appears to bed bug-free, go ahead and settle in. But don’t unpack your suitcase. Only take the clothes out that you will be wearing, and don't leave your shoes on the floor - keep everything inside your sealable plastic bags. 

Put the large plastic trash bags you brought from home around your luggage, and store the luggage in the bathtub or on a tile floor. These areas are the least likely places bed bugs will be residing. 

If you find bed bugs in your suitcase or on your clothes before you depart for home, you might want to leave them there. That may sound odd, but trust me when I say you don’t want to take bed bugs home. It’s far cheaper to buy yourself a new suitcase and outfit than it is to pay for a bed bug treatment.


When You Return Home

Carefully inspect your possessions for any hitchhiking bed bugs, and make sure to check the clothing you are wearing thoroughly. You should unpack your bags outdoors or in the garage, and put everything that can be laundered into the washer. For items that can’t be washed, it is recommended you place them in the dryer at the highest temperature setting for at least 10 minutes.


If you think you might have bed bugs in your home, call 800-936-3339 or drop me an e-mail at


Until next time, I’m the Clark Man, and thanks for helping me keep unwanted pests out of your home.


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Bed Bug Friday! - before summer travel visit the Bed Bug Registry


When Bedbugs Became News, the Bedbug Registry Became a Debated Source

For three years, hardly anyone noticed the quirky little Web site Maciej Ceglowski created to keep track of bedbugs.

Since we are heading into the summer months and of course what do we usually do during the when the kids are on break...we travel, meaning we are staying at hotels and motels. Before making reservations visit the Bed Bug registry today.

Visit the Clark Pest Blog or visit to learn more.

BEDBUGS! - What you should know about bedbugs when you travel

"Wherever there are humans, there will be bedbugs," says Dr. Changlu Wang, assistant professor, Rutgers University School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. And how right he is—in recent
 years, cases of bedbug infestation have exploded, and the critters don't discriminate. You can find bedbugs in high-end luxury hotels, budget motels, remote cabins, and even cruise ships. Planes, trains, and automobiles offer places where these creepy-crawlies can hitch a ride, too.

Just because bedbugs are prevalent, though, doesn't mean you have to take them home with you. Follow our expert advice to make sure you're safe and bug-free, both on the road and at home.

Before you leave the house

Safeguard your suitcase before you get to the airport. "In the cargo hold of an airliner, your bag is right in there with other suitcases," says Missy Henriksen, vice president, public affairs, National Pest Management Association. "Bedbugs are referred to as 'hitchhikers,' they can be on a red suitcase to city A, but can jump onto a blue suitcase to city B."

To prevent any bugs from hitching a ride on your baggage, put your suitcase or duffel inside a sealed plastic bag before you drop it off at the ticket counter. "[This] will minimize bugs coming into contact with other suitcases that have been exposed," says Henriksen.

"There are some over-the-counter travel sprays that are helpful. Basically, they will enable bugs to avoid the luggage and suitcase, but they can't be depended upon altogether," says Jennifer Erdogan, director of the bedbug division at Bell Environmental Services, Parsippany, New Jersey.

"Alternatively, you can spray [your suitcase with] an insect repellent that contains DEET, which will prevent bedbugs from hiding on the luggage," says Wang. If you're not averse to chemicals, this may be a good option; in either case, a plastic covering is a good first line of defense.

At your hotel

"The term bedbug can be a misnomer," says Henriksen. "Travelers need to understand that they're 'bedbugs' because they're often found in the bed area, but are also found around the bed and in other rooms, the living room, for example."

"Any three-dimensional surface in a room with a crack or crevice [bedbugs] can find harbor in," says Erdogan. "They prefer to squeeze in cracks and crevices. They'll live inside the box springs, or line up along folds and seams of mattresses, inside couches, easy chairs, headboards, baseboards."

"When you first get into your room, store your suitcase in the bathroom or room with a linoleum floor," says Henriksen. "You can see [bugs] on the linoleum, [there's] less chance of exposure. Then go and do an inspection of the bed. Pull back the sheet and the bed linens, and look on the mattress pad cover and under the dust ruffle. What you're looking for is a bug the size of a lentil or an apple seed. Look for anything that [seems] out of place, like those seeds, [and] signs of blood, little droplets of blood, that would indicate the bugs have been eating from humans. If you see signs, there may be reason to suspect there's a problem."

"You may see fecal droppings that look like pen dots, [and] molted skins," says Erdogan. "Look at the box spring. Make your way out from there, inspect the head board, base moldings, end tables, any kind of sofa or chairs."

"It's useful to have a flashlight to help with the inspection," says Wang. In addition to the bed and soft furnishings, "check anything on the wall, any decorations such as picture frames."

"Check your drawers before putting any clothing in and also the luggage rack," says Henriksen. "If all looks OK, [you] should feel comfortable moving into the room. We also recommend keeping your luggage off the floor. Bedbugs can travel from room to room; if someone else is having trouble in their room, bedbugs can come through the wall."

If all these steps seem like too much to remember, you can download Bell Environmental's mobile app, Roscoe's Tips, free for your iPhone, which features a step-by-step guide for inspecting your hotel room.

If you suspect you've been bit by a bedbug, for the most part, the bites will be harmless—more a nuisance than anything serious. "Usually it's like a mosquito bite," says Wang. "It depends on the person; each person reacts differently. In most cases, you'll just see a little bump, [which] will disappear within three to five days. Some people may have itchiness or redness for more than one week or two ... You don't really need any treatment unless in some cases you feel very itchy; buy and apply anti-itching cream."

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