Yes, the end of summer is on the horizon. Perhaps that means it’s time to fit in one more long weekend or spontaneous vacation, to the beach or maybe to the mountains.
Unfortunately, that vacation could include a few unwanted and uninvited travel companions – bed bugs.
Bed bugs are highly mobile pests that can be found in a variety of vacation locations, including in hotel rooms and on buses and airplanes, and they can be easily – and unknowingly – transported back home in backpacks or luggage.
Researchers from the National Pest Management Association and the University of Kentucky asked pest management professionals where they most often find bed bugs. Ranking number three on the list is hotels/motels. Number one was apartments/condominiums, closely followed by single-family homes.
The Clark Man wants to make sure that you and your family enjoy your 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
Check travel websites to see if your hotel has been reported for sightings of bed bugs. You’ll have to filter and read through the lines on some reviews, but many websites can give you a heads up that perhaps you’d rather make a reservation at another hotel. Then, pack your belongings inside sealable plastic bags and bring some extra large plastic trash bags.
When you arrive
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 on being switched to another room that is not immediately adjacent – next to, below, or above – the infested room.
Only unpack the clothes that you will be wearing, and don't leave your shoes on the floor – keep them safely inside one of the sealable plastic bags in which you packed your belongings.
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 where 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 those items there. This may sound odd, but trust me when I tell you that 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 thoroughly check the clothing you are wearing. I suggest you unpack your bags outdoors or in the garage, and put every item that can be washed into the washer. For items that can’t be washed, it is recommended placing them in the dryer at the highest temperature setting for at least 10 minutes.
If you think you might have a problem with bed bugs, call or text (800) WE-NEED-YOU (936-3339) or drop me an email 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.