The phone calls have already started. Because we sell a very trusted line of Bed Bug mattress covers, we hear about it when people get bed bugs. People are coming back from what are sometimes just brief getaways with much, much more than just memories and a few days rest. Some bring home bed bugs
Yes, summer travel means opportunities to rest, re-charge your internal battery, and bring home bed bugs that can make life after vacation a living hell.
So while we have shared the following information many times before, it bears repeating. Travel smart and bring home memories and not bed bugs.
Diligence starts as soon as you pick up your rental car. Since bed bugs like to hide in luggage and because most people like to put their luggage in the trunk, be different. If you can safely store your luggage in the back seat then do so. While most car rental companies are very good about giving the trunk a good vacuum in between rentals, if they are rushed and there are no visible signs of dirt, it might get skipped. Trunks are full of nooks and crannies that bed bugs like for hiding. This strategy works well if you are going straight from the airport or train station to your destination. Naturally if you are making many stops along the way, even if the car is locked you might not want to leave the luggage visible in the back seat.
When you get to the hotel and check into your room, place the luggage on the bathroom counter or in the bathtub while you make a quick check of the surroundings. Check around the seams of the mattress. Peel back the covers and just run your finger along the top and bottom seam. Bed bugs like to hide there. Also, if the tag is still on the mattress, look where it was sewn onto the mattress. That little cranny is another favored hiding place. Check the nightstand next to the bed. Look for bug poop (it looks like poppy seeds) or small brown specks that are the dead bugs. If you see white powder, it means that the hotel has treated for bed bugs.
If you find signs, it doesn’t mean that the entire hotel is infested. Just make a polite call or visit to the front desk and they will move you to another room where you can make the same inspection again. Be sure to let the hotel manager know what happened.
When you unpack, keep your luggage up off the floor. You can use the luggage stand provided in most rooms. If I am traveling with my small carry-on, I just keep in on the bathroom counter or on top of the toilet (lid down of course).
When you pack for your return home, go through your clothing to make sure you haven’t picked up any hitchhikers. When you get home, the luggage does not come into the house until it has been unpacked and the contents laundered. No matter what temperature you use for washing, be sure that the clothes get 20 minutes of heat in the dryer. This will kill any bugs you might have missed. Once you empty your luggage and inspect it, you can safely bring it inside. However, you might want to store it in a room other than your bedroom.
Be aware when you are traveling and when you return all you will have to tell your friends and family about are the wonderful times you had and the sights you saw. You won’t have to tell them the horror story of the bed bug that came home from vacation..
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