Reduce the likelihood of encountering bed bugs and bringing bed bugs home from vacation by following these steps:
1. Encase Mattresses. Make sure that all of your home mattresses and box springs are encased in bed bug certified encasements prior to leaving on your trip. This is a very important pro-active step that will prevent bed bugs from getting inside of your mattresses & box springs and will aid in the early detection of the bugs in the event that you accidentally bring bed bugs into your home.
2. Pack Heavy Duty Plastic Bags. Purchase heavy duty “construction debris” or trash compactor plastic bags that are large enough to hold your luggage. When you return from your trip, seal your luggage in these bags before placing them in your car. This will isolate any bed bugs that may be associated with your luggage and prevent your vehicle from becoming infested on your way back home.
3. Use Hard Shelled Luggage. It is less bed bug friendly than fabric.
4. Pack Items In Ziploc® Bags. Clothing that can be hot laundered or dry cleaned may be easily dealt with when you get home, however items that cannot be laundered such as electronics toiletries etc. should be packed in sealed Ziploc® bags to protect them from becoming infested should you encounter bed bugs.
5. Inspect the Bed & Headboard. In a hotel setting, bed bugs are very likely to be found behind the headboard. Before you settle into your room, lift the headboard off the wall with help of another person and look for evidence of bed bugs. Also, pull back the bed linens and check the visible edges of the mattress and box spring. You are looking for evidence of live bugs, dark brownish to black spots & stains, or shed skins from bed bugs. If you suspect bed bugs, request another room!
6. Keep Luggage Closed & Away from Bed Bug Prone Areas. Do not unpack. Keep all zippers closed and do not place or store luggage on or next to beds, upholstered furniture or in a closet. The further away you store your luggage from these areas the better. Instead, keep your luggage on a hard surface, such as the bathroom floor or in the tub.
7. Keep Items that protected in Ziploc® Bags. Items that cannot be laundered should be kept sealed in Ziploc® bags whenever they are not in use. Even laptop computers can be kept in sealed Ziploc® bags when not in use, especially during the nighttime hours while you are sleeping. Bed bugs can and will infest electronic devices.
8. Complain If You Suspect Bed Bugs. Notify the property management if at any time during your stay you see evidence of what you believe might be bed bugs or you begin to develop itchy welts on your body. Just because you see an insect or develop bite-like symptoms does not mean that bed bugs are present, but management should be aware of your concern so that the possibility of bed bugs may be investigated.
When you get home:
9. Wash. Unload your suitcase outside and immediately wash every item that may be laundered in hot water and dry on high for at least 30 minutes. Heat kills bed bugs and bed bug eggs.
10. Inspect. Items that cannot be washed should be inspected for bed bugs and bed bug eggs under very bright light.
Finally, if you notice unusual bites or welts up to fourteen days after your trip, suspect bed bugs and call a licensed pest control company for assistance. Don’t delay. Call our office. We will either put your fears to rest or start a treatment plan to get rid of the bed bug problem before it gets costly and out of control.