February 11, 2013
How can I avoid bed bugs when traveling?
Every traveler should learn about bed bugs. Always inspect before settling into any room. Pack a flashlight (even the keychain LED variety) and gloves to aid in your inspection. The inspection should focus around the bed. Start with the headboard, which is usually held on the wall with brackets â€” lift up 1 to 2 inches, then lean the top away from the wall to gain access to the back. If you’re traveling alone, someone on staff should help. After checking the headboard, check sheets and pillows for blood spots. Next, pull back the sheets. Check the piping of the mattress and box spring. Finally, look in and under the drawer of the bedside table. If all these places are clear, enjoy the night. The next morning, look for blood spots on the sheets â€” bed bugs defecate soon after they feed.
If you find evidence, but no live bed bugs, the evidence may be old and doesn’t mean that the hotel is dirty. Tell the front desk discreetly what you found and ask for another room â€” one that doesn’t share a wall with the room you just vacated. Bed bugs are a public relations nightmare for the hospitality industry. If you run to a competitor (who is just as likely to have bed bugs), it makes it less likely that the industry will become more open about this issue. Communication is key. Ideally, hotels and motels would pride themselves on their bed bug programs and show customers how to inspect to keep all parties bed bug free.
If you can avoid it, don’t unpack into drawers, and keep luggage closed on a luggage rack pulled away from the wall. Never set luggage on the bed.
What can I do if I just got back from a place where there might have been bed bugs?
Launder your clothes before or as soon as these items are brought back into the home. If you found bed bugs after moving into a hotel room, you could ask the hotel to pay for laundering and for steam-cleaning your luggage. The hotel may refuse, but it’s worth asking. Regardless, once home you should unpack on a floor that will allow you to see bed bugs â€” stay off carpets! Unpack directly into plastic bags for taking clothes to the laundry. Suitcases should be carefully inspected and vacuumed â€” freeze if possible.
Will bed bugs actually travel on me?
It’s unlikely that a bed bug would travel on you or the clothes you are wearing. You move too much to be a good hiding place. Bed bugs are more likely to be spread via luggage, backpacks, briefcases, mattresses, and used furniture.
What should everyone know about bed bugs?
â€¢ You can stop their spread
â€¢ Adults are Â¼”, reddish-brown, and flat. You can see them without magnification.
â€¢ They like to hide in cracks and crevices.
â€¢ Inspect sleeping areas; if you find a bed bug, STOP looking and contact Pest Ops (865-966-0750).
â€¢ Live bugs or eggs may drop off while moving things from one place to another â€” items with bed bugs should be sealed in a bag before moving them.
â€¢ Avoid used furniture and items left on the curb â€” they might have bed bugs!
â€¢ Tell your friends! Not warning others robs them of the chance to avoid bringing bed bugs into their homes and businesses.
If you are experiencing problems with bed bugs, contact Pest Ops at 865-966-0750.