If you do any amount of traveling, there is a chance that you will encounter bed bugs. Having a run-in with bed bugs can be extremely disruptive to your trip. Not to mention the fact that if you don’t handle the situation properly, you can end up spreading bed bugs and even bringing them home with you.
In this article you’ll learn what to do if you encounter a bed bug infested room while traveling. Learning what to do in advance will save you a lot of frustration.
Do dirty conditions cause bed bugs?
Experts believe that the recent bed bug resurgence is due in part to the increase in international travel over the past few decades. It’s very easy for a traveler to unwittingly pick up bed bugs from an infested place and bring them to the next place. Hotels and Hostels are particularly at risk for bed bug infestations because they host so many travelers.
It’s a common myth that dirty conditions lead to bed bugs. It simply isn’t true. Dirty conditions can make it harder to identify a bed bug infestation but the dirtiness itself does cause the infestation. So keep in mind that just because a hotel has bed bugs doesn’t automatically mean that it is dirty place.
When you arrive at your destination…
Inspect your room first.
Before you bring your luggage into the room, look for signs of bed bugs and signs of a bed bugs infestation:
- Pull off the bedding and check the mattress cover for blood stains.
- Check the seams of the mattress for bed bugs, fecal stains and molted exoskeletons.
- Pull away the headboard and check near the wall.
- Try to get at the underside of the boxspring and check for any bed bugs there.
- Check any cracks wallpaper.
- Inspect folds of curtains and drapes.
- Pull apart and look into the seams in furniture.
- Check cracks in baseboards.
The more thorough you are, the better your chances of avoiding infested rooms.
What to do if you do find bed bugs.
If you see signs of bed bugs while inspecting your room, notify management immediately. Get another room that is not infected. If you don’t feel comfortable staying at that hotel or hostel, go to a different place entirely. Repeat the inspection process described above to make sure that the new place is not infested.
If you travel frequently without running into bed bugs, it is easy to get lax and stop going through a simple bed bug protection routine before staying the night. Don’t make this mistake. Make inspection a habit and do it consistently.
Sometimes, even if you do everything right you still might wind up finding out that your room has bed bugs after you’ve stayed there a while.
What if you realize you have bed bugs in your hotel room during your stay?
Again, notify management immediately and get another room or move to a different place. But this is where things get tricky. Now everything you brought with you is potentially infested! If you simply pack up and move everything to a new room or hotel, you may just create a new infestation at the next place.
Taking care of your clothes is straightforward enough. Launder them all in hot water and put them through the dryer on high heat. If you have any soft bags or anything else that can be put through the dryer on high heat, do that as well. The high heat will kill bed bugs and bed bug eggs that may have gotten to those items.
Luggage is harder to treat. You may have to get creative. This can especially difficult while traveling.
Here are a few methods you can use to treat bed bug infested luggage.
Use a clothes steamer.
Put your luggage on a light colored hard surface. Use a clothes steamer to blast steam into all areas of your luggage. If bed bugs try to escape, they should be visible on the surface you put your luggage on. You can vacuum them up or simply smash them. If you vacuum them, make sure it is using a bag-type vacuum that is treated with diatomaceous earth for crawling insects to kill bed bugs.
Use bed bug spray insecticide.
Bed bug insecticides are available as a spray. You can find a bed bug spray that should be safe to use on your luggage. You may want to keep your clothes in an air-tight plastic bag for the rest of your travels though. Some people are more sensitive to insecticides than others.
Use the sun.
If it is fairly hot where you are, find some black plastic trash bags. Put each piece of luggage in a bag and seal it up tightly, then set it out in the sun during the hottest part of the day. One hour at 130 degrees Fahrenheit is enough to kill bed bugs and bed bug eggs that are inside.
Once your belongings and room are clean…
At this point I’m sure I don’t have to remind you to be vigilant. You’ll have to keep checking your room and keep checking your belongings. When you get home, be sure to protect yourself and your family by taking the right steps. Read Bed Bug Protection Tips for Travel for more information. Bed bugs are very hardy creatures.
It can take experience bed bugs exterminators several treatments to clean up a bed bug infestation. If you have taken the steps above though, you should be in the clear.
Help other travelers.
It’s easy to see how bed bugs can ruin a nice trip. That’s why it’s so important to do everything you can to reduce the likelihood of running into them.
- Check your destination online before you leave.
- Inspect your room before you bring your belongings into it.
- Report bed bugs and change rooms or hotels if necessary.
- If you find bed bugs during your stay, launder your clothes and treat your luggage. Then change rooms or hotels.
And help do your part to keep travelers safe. If you encounter bed bugs while traveling, be sure to give other travelers fair warning buy posting your experiences on the tripadvisor.com,
and bedbugregistry.com websites.