A not-so-savvy traveler once said you can avoid bedbugs by staying in the “right” hotels. Then she took a 2-week tour of Italy, and will now set the record straight:
Bedbugs are equal-opportunity-pests and can be found in 5-star hotels. Actually, you may not “find” them until you bring them home.
Steps to Avoid Bedbugs While Traveling
Before embarking on your vacation, “pack for protection,” says SafeBee. You can bring large, sealable plastic bags in which to store your suitcases. If you plan to put clothes in dresser drawers, consider sealed containers for them as well.
Don’t unpack immediately. Put your bags and luggage in the bathtub (Bedbugs are less likely to be in tubs than anywhere else in the room.). Pack a flashlight and do a bedbug inspection at night. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has a small, printable bedbug identification card. Carry it when you travel.
Inspect your room upon check-in:
- Bedbugs hide in sheets, covers, and under mattresses. Look for tiny, white or translucent eggs and small, blackish-red droppings.
- Inspect the headboard.
- Is the luggage rack bug-free? Make sure.
- Lift pillows off upholstered chairs and check the undersides of chairs.
- Look inside and behind the nightstand.
- Remove pillowcases; check the pillows, especially at the seams.
If you find signs of bedbugs, alert the front desk and request to be moved to a room on the opposite side of the hotel. If your area appears to be bug-free, keep luggage and belongings off the floor. When possible, store your suitcase as far from the bed as possible.
As you repack to leave, inspect luggage, clothing, and other items for signs of bedbugs.
Bedbugs Can Hijack Your Vacation
Bedbugs can hitch a ride on your clothes and in your luggage. They die at temperatures over 120°F. If you’ve suffered an insect invasion, you can wash bedding and kids’ scalps, but you can’t exactly toss your luggage into a dryer.
Even if you don’t suspect a bedbug infestation:
Upon arrival home, toss your clothing directly from the suitcase to the washer. If possible, wash everything in hot water. Don’t overload your dryer and set it to high heat because your clothes dryer can kill bedbugs and eggs in 30 minutes. Store suitcases away from living areas. If you travel frequently, you can buy a portable device that will heat-treat luggage.
If you suspect (or know) you brought home some unwelcome tourists:
- Take luggage outside and clean with a scrub brush to dislodge eggs and insects.
- Vacuum your luggage and discard the bag afterward.
- Put your luggage in plastic bags and set them outside in the sun. You can also put suitcases inside a car with the windows rolled up.
- There are pesticides available for bedbugs but handle with care. And the pesticide could leave a lingering odor on your luggage.
- You can rent a steam cleaner and treat your luggage a couple of times.
Don’t Let the Bedbugs Bite!
You can see why you should take precautions to avoid bedbugs when traveling. Eliminating bedbugs is hard work and can be stressful if you’re exterminating an entire family’s clothing and luggage.
Don’t think you have bedbugs because you’re “dirty” or a poor housekeeper. Phoenix bedbugs are hardy insects and can appear almost anywhere at any time.
Budget Brothers Termite & Pest Elimination can make quick work of your bedbug problem. We offer several bedbug extermination treatment options, but we believe our heat process is safest for your home and family.
Contact Budget Brothers Termite & Pest Elimination to learn more about eliminating bedbugs. We are available to serve the entire metro-Phoenix area.