>> May 31, 2013
The worst thing most vacationers might expect to bring home is a sunburn. Although, some unfortunate travelers bring home a bigger problem — bed bugs. Waking up to bite marks, lumps or small critters scurrying to avoid exposure is a big and legitimate fear for travelers. You can't stop bed bug infestations from happening in a hotel room, but you can approach your vacation with preventative caution.
Yes, Bed Bugs are in Hotels
Shockingly, a 2011 University of Kentucky and National Pest Management Association (NPMA) survey found that 80 percent of pest control professionals have treated hotels and motels for bed bugs, which are a very real problem and their numbers continue to increase every year. Many people assume that bed bug infestations are simultaneous with uncleanliness, but it isn't that simple. Bed bugs are blood suckers. Unlike roaches, who consume particles found in dust and dirt, bed bugs are attracted solely to warm, sleeping bodies. Although you can get rid of bed bugs with Orkin and other pest control companies, some hotels fail to do so. Whether your hotel costs $50 or $500 per night, you are at risk.
How to Spot an Infestation
Be sure to research the hotel you plan to stay in before you book rooms. Read reviews and choose a place with no known history of bed bug infestation. Once you've chosen a hotel, the next preventative step to take is to check your room.
One pest control company suggests using the acronym, SLEEP to remember the steps for checking a hotel room for bed bugs.
- Survey surfaces for evidence of an infestation.
- Lift and look in all furniture crevices.
- Elevate your luggage and keep it away from furniture like a bed or night stand.
- Examine your luggage and belongings thoroughly before repacking.
- Place all your clothing in the dryer for at least 15 minutes on high when you return home from travel.
Cities With the Most Bed Bug Infestations
Every year Orkin releases the list of the cities with the most infestations of bed bugs, based on calls made. ABC News posted 2012's list on their website. Though bed bugs aren't limited to these cities, you should be especially cautious if you're visiting:
10. New York, N.Y.
9. Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas
8. Cleveland/Akron/Canton, Ohio
7. Washington, District of Columbia
6. Columbus, Ohio
5. Cincinnati, Ohio
4. Denver, Colo.
3. Los Angeles, Calif.
2. Detroit, Mich.
1. Chicago, Ill.
Check Your Luggage When You Get Home
It may seem a bit extreme, but odd stares from your neighbors will do far less damage than a bed bug infestation in your home. Inspect luggage outside before bringing it into your home.
- If you traveled to your destination by vehicle, bring plastic bags and containers to store luggage in on the ride home.
- Take out all clothes and belongings. Wash and dry all clothing in hot water. If you have clothes that need to be dry cleaned, keep them in plastic bags and take them to the cleaner as soon as possible.
- Literally, clean everything. Clean items like shoes, bags and hats with designated cleaners. Even clean your jewelry, combs etc.
- Vacuum and wash all luggage thoroughly before storing it. A garment steamer is a great option for cleaning luggage. The heat from the steam will kill any eggs that may be attached to your belongings.