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., bedbugregistry.com, tripadvisor.com) 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time, I’m the Clark Man, and thanks for helping me keep unwanted pests out of your home.