Bed bugs: The holiday travel gift you can’t return

Dec 14, 2018, 09:35 AM by Fred Speer

Travelers setting out on the road, in the air, or on the train this holiday season know the importance of having a checklist and checking it twice.

  • Passport or photo identification – check
  • All liquids in plastic bags – check
  • Arrive at the airport earlier than normal – check
  • Fill the gas tank and cue up Siri for directions – check
  • Confirm your hotel reservation one more time – check
  • Steer clear of bed bugs – double check!

Whether you’re headed to the beach, the mountains, or cousin Eddie’s house this holiday season, Clark, your neighborly pest control expert, wants to make you aware that you could run into unwanted travel companions in the form of bed bugs.

The holiday travel season makes for crowded roadways, airport terminals, and a lot of packing and unpacking in hotels, condos, and cars. And this can put holiday travelers at a greater risk of coming into contact with bed bugs.

Bed bugs are active all year long. They know no boundaries when it comes to choosing a location to infest. They can be found in a five star hotel, a rental home or apartment, or even your closest relative’s spare bedroom. They will infest beds, furniture, and drapes, seats in train cars, taxis, buses, and movie theaters, and the luggage, shopping bags, and backpacks we carry around.

The 2018 Bugs Without Borders survey from the National Pest Management Association revealed that 75 percent of pest management professionals, like Clark, have encountered bed bug infestations in various types of hotels.

These nasty pests typically hide in bed frames and couches, but they also can be found in bedside lamps and dressers. Clark recommends that holiday travelers use the following checklist to help prevent an unwanted bed bug encounter when on the road this year:

  • At hotels, pull back the sheets and inspect the mattress seams, particularly at the corners, for telltale stains or spots.
  • If you do need to change rooms, be sure that you do not move to a room adjacent and/or directly above or below the suspected infestation. Bed bugs can hitchhike easily via housekeeping carts, luggage, and even through wall sockets. If an infestation is spreading, it typically does so in the rooms closest to the origin.
  • Consider placing your suitcase in a plastic trash bag or protective cover during the duration of your trip to ensure that bed bugs cannot take up residence there prior to departure.
  • Wash all of your clothes – even those that have not been worn – in hot water to ensure that any bed bugs still present do not make the move into your drawers or closet.

Clark doesn’t want to discourage anyone from traveling this holiday season, but wants you to be vigilant so that you don’t bring home that extra stocking stuffer!

If you think you have a problem with bed bugs, call or text (800) WE-NEED-YOU (936-3339) or drop me an email at

One of our expert inspectors will come to your home and will conduct a thorough inspection to see if bed bugs are indeed present, and they will make a treatment recommendation.

Until next time, safe travels and happy holidays from Clark, and thanks for helping me keep unwanted pests out of your home!