The American Automobile Association (AAA) estimates that nearly 113 million people will travel 50 miles or more away from home between December 23 and January 2. That’s an increase of 3.6 million people over last year.
The AAA estimates might be a little low, however, because they don’t account for frequent – and most unwelcome – travelers that are a real nuisance: bed bugs.
Bed bugs are adaptable travelers during the holidays, and all year long for that matter. They know no boundaries when it comes to choosing a location to infest.
Bed bugs can be found in hotel rooms, vacation rentals, apartments, and college dorm rooms. They will infest beds, bedding, furniture, drapes, luggage, shopping bags, backpacks, and seats in train cars, taxis, buses, and movie theaters.
Savvy travel tips
Travel levels are booming, and more people are out and about. So the chances of you, or someone in your traveling party, unknowingly picking up bed bugs and introducing them to the place you are staying, or bringing them home, are greatly increased.
What can travelers – no matter how near or far they are going – do to reduce the chances of bringing home this extra holiday present?
Clark, your friendly pest control, mosquito, rodent, termite, and grounds care expert, recommends that holiday travelers use the following tips to reduce the chance of an unwanted bed bug encounter:
- Pull back the sheets and inspect the mattress seams, particularly at the corners, for telltale stains or spots. Carry a small flashlight to assist you with a quick visual inspection.
- If you do need to change rooms or rentals, make sure that you don’t move to a room adjacent and/or directly above or below the suspected infestation. Bed bugs can easily hitchhike 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 can’t take up residence there prior to departure.
- Vacuum suitcases after returning from a vacation, and dispose of or clean out the vacuum bag or canister immediately afterward.
- Wash all your clothes – even those that have not been worn – in hot water to ensure that no bed bugs have made it into your drawers or closet.
Prevention is the name of the game
After the holidays, once you’re back home, or once students have returned to school after break, it’s important to be proactive when it comes to preventing issues with bed bugs.
As mentioned earlier, bed bugs are a year-round pest, so vigilance is an important part of effective bed bug prevention:
- Check your sheets for telltale blood spots.
- Never bring second-hand furniture, especially mattresses and box springs, into your home without thoroughly examining for signs of a bed bug infestation. You might consider having a pest control professional inspect the furniture, as it’s difficult to detect an infestation without proper training.
- The same applies to college students planning to move used furniture into a dorm room, apartment, or house. If there’s any doubt, don’t do it – bed bug removal can be more costly and time consuming than taking the correct steps to prevent the infestation in the first place.
- Regularly inspect areas where pets sleep for signs of bed bugs.
Think your home has bed bugs? Call Clark
Because bed bugs are elusive creatures and travel well, it’s imperative that you consult with a pest management professional to assist with any bed bug control effort.
One of Clark’s highly trained inspectors will come to your home or apartment and conduct a thorough inspection to verify if it has bed bugs. An accurate identification is essential. If bed bugs are confirmed, Clark will make the appropriate treatment recommendation designed specifically for your home or apartment.
If you suspect your residence has bed bugs, call California’s trusted, friendly bed bug treatment expert, Clark, at (800) WE-NEED-YOU (936-3339) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time, the pest management professionals at Clark Pest Control thank you for helping to keep unwanted pests out of your home.