Bed bugs are nasty little parasites that live on human blood. Typically feeding late at night, then hiding during the day, bed bugs’ nocturnal behavior makes them difficult to see and even harder to get rid of. Approaching a near pandemic state this year, bedbug encounters have become much more common in public places. Still, resources available now can help travelers avoid bug-ridden places, deal with the pests while traveling and help keep them from hitching a ride back home with you or your luggage.
The Bedbug Registry is an easy way to see if there are bed bug problems at travel destinations we may visit. A free, public database of bedbug sightings with about 20,000 bedbug reports, the Bedbug Registry helps check whether other travelers have encountered bedbugs at a hotel so we can avoid them when traveling.
The new Bedbug Registry app ($2.99) lets us search for bedbug reports by location when planning travel in the U.S. and Canada. Users can also submit their own report.
Another source, BedBugReports, was created specifically to warn travelers about hotels that have had bed bug reports.
At the destination
Harder to do but more important is a hotel inspection. When entering a hotel room for the first time, check all bedding – the sheets, comforter and the seams of the mattress and box spring. Lift up the mattress and look underneath, where bedbugs like to hide and examine the headboard.
“Avoid putting your suitcase on the floor, bed or chairs,” said Genevieve Shaw Brown, senior editor at Travelocity in an ABCNews report. “In case there is a problem, you don’t want to transport the bedbugs to your next location or back home. Keep the suitcase elevated until you’ve had a chance to inspect the room, maybe on a dresser or on a shelf in the closet.”
When returning home from a trip, immediately wash all clothing from your travels. Bedbugs can’t survive in temperatures above 122 degrees Fahrenheit. Washing clothing, even clothing that was not worn, will assure that bed bugs don’t take up residence in your drawers and closets.
Bed bugs are at their peak during summer months, making summer road trip destinations especially vulnerable to infestation. Of the many souvenirs you want to bring home from your travels, bedbugs are not one of them.
[Flickr photo by louento.pix]