Travelling? Top Tips for Avoiding Bed Bugs

Bed bugs are incredibly common nowadays, and it doesn’t matter whether you’re spending the night in a rundown hostel or  five-star hotel, you may find them. These parasites are found everywhere and they don’t discriminate. If you’re not careful about your bedbug protection, you could find yourself being their next meal. Identifying the bugs is the first step towards prevention, so what do they actually look like? Bed bugs are wingless and feed on the blood of people and animals. Adult bedbugs are a reddish brown colour, and have flat oval bodies. They’re usually only as long as an apple seed, and newly hatched bugs are a tan colour and as small as a poppy see. You can spot the signs of an infestation by the eggs, fecal matter and blood stains on the bed sheets. The first step towards preventing your travel experience being ruined by bed bugs is to read reviews of your hotel to see if other customers have experienced them. Don’t assume that just because you’re choosing a five-star hotel that it will be free of bugs – check the reviews and if customers have woke up covered in bites, avoid!

When you arrive, check the mattress and the bedding for any telltale signs of the bugs. If there are any fecal stains or blood marks, then you’ll know that there is an infestation. You should also check the headboard, under the seams of the springs and under the mattress tag as well. Some good advice is to not place your luggage on the spare bed – move it to a stand away from the wall and only place it on the stand once you’ve checked for the bugs. Don’t put your clothes in drawers or hang them in your wardrobe, and avoid putting your shoes in the wardrobe as well – put them in an open area instead. It’s difficult to distinguish bed bug bites from other insect bites, but they tend to look slightly swollen and include red patches of skin which may itch. They may be scattered or in a linear line. You can treat them with antiseptic cream and an antihistamine to soothe the itching. If you find that you have been bitten, notify the hotel management and ask to be placed in another room at least two floors away – bed bugs have been known to travel up to 100 feet in one night.

According to experts, bed bugs can also be transported from place to place by hiding in the seams of your luggage and latching onto your clothing. You may not even realise that they’re hiding there until you arrive at your next destination and the infestation follows you. A good way to avoid this is to check your luggage before you leave the hotel so you can ensure that it is free of bugs. You should also unpack your luggage as soon as you arrive home, in an un-carpeted room such as the bathroom or garage. You need to inspect your luggage thoroughly with a torch, as bed bugs can latch onto your bags while they’re in the boot of a car or may have come into contact with an infested bag when in the plane’s cargo hold. If you have found an infestation, you should place your suitcase in a sealed bag and place outside in the sun. You then need to wash and dry your infested clothing on the hottest setting that the fabric can cope with, or call a pest control company if you can’t seem to rid your clothes or home of them.

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