Bed bugs are in the order Hemiptera, which means two types of wings. Hemipterans are true bugs and as such they have a piercing-sucking mouth that looks much like a needle. These nocturnal pests are fond of humans and feed exclusively on human blood. On the rare occasion, they may feed on pets, such as dogs or cats. They can live upwards of six months between feedings.
Due to poor pesticide management many species of bed bugs are immune to pesticides. The best way to deal with these creepy crawlies is with steam. Bed bugs are an epidemic throughout hotels worldwide. In this blog, we provide tips for travelers to avoid bed bug bites and home infestations.
Avoiding the Bed Bug Bite
Check out your hotel on bedbugregistry.com, which is a site where travelers post confirmed infestations of these nippy pests. In so doing, travelers can avoid hotels with the worst complaints.
Because bed bugs are nocturnal, they hide in dark places during the day. Typically, this means behind baseboards. However, when you check into a hotel room, peel back the bed linen to expose the mattress itself. Look carefully at the stitching for small round reddish balls. If you see these, they are bed bug poop — digested blood from past guests. That is also evidence that bed bugs are present. It will not help you to request a different room as infestations are usually hotel-wide.
What you can do is this. Take all of the linen off of the bed and give it a good shake. Carefully put them on a chair, so that they does not touch the floor. Lift up the top mattress and check around the seam and between the mattresses. If you see bed bugs, use a wad of toilet paper to kill them and then flush their bodies down the toilet. Look at the bed frame. Bed bugs hide in dark places so where the bed’s frame goes together can be another hiding place for these little monsters. These insects are not large so they can hide in any crevice that is the size of a grain of rice. Kill any bed bugs you find.
Entomologists have a little trick to keep bed bugs from crawling up the bed’s legs. They use plastic lids, such as those off of a mayonnaise jar, which they place under the legs of the bed. Then they fill those lids with common rubbing alcohol, which helps to prevent bed bugs from getting to you while you sleep.
Preventing the Spread of Bed Bugs
Always put your suitcases on the suitcase stand. Never put it on the floor. Never leave clothing on the floor either. It is not just the bed bugs you want to avoid, but also their eggs. Female bed bugs store sperm and can use it at a later date. If you happen to transport one female bed bug back to your home, there will be a home infestation.
When you pack your suitcase, be sure to include plastic garbage bags for dirty clothes. They will help to keep your clean clothes from becoming a nursery for bed bugs. Keeping your soiled clothing separate also means that when you get home you can wash those clothes immediately. By carefully transferring your soiled clothing to the washer and then the dryer you will likely kill any adult insects and their eggs that may be hiding in your dirty laundry.
Being conscious about how you handle your clothing is important if you wish to avoid a home infestation of bed bugs. Another good tip is to spray the outside of your suitcase with a DEET-based bug repellent so that bed bugs avoid it. Be sure to store the suitcase in the garage rather than in your home. Doing so will help to prevent accidental home infestations.
These tips may sound extreme, but when you consider that a home infestation of bed bugs can cost $5,000 or more to deal with, these tips become an investment. They require a little extra work and some forethought but following them can help you avoid bed bug bites and home infestations.