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How to Avoid Bringing Bed Bugs Home

Posted in Pest Advice on July 08, 2019

Don't Get Bitten by This Travel Bug 

Bed bugs are not a common pest, but they are an increasing problem around the world. This is thought to be partly due to the reduced use of more powerful insecticides and the increase of world travel. As more and more people jet around more and more of the world, there is more chance of encountering bed bugs and becoming unwitting couriers of the bugs from one accommodation to another……..and eventually bringing them home with you on your return.

Bed bugs do not have wings and so do not travel far on their own accord. But their habit of seeking out and hiding in cracks, crevices, seams and other dark nooks and crannies close to the bed of their hosts, means that luggage can often become their means of travel.

Bed bugs can survive in luggage and other travelling items (e.g. boxes, bags and even shoes) for many days without needing to leave their hiding place to find food. They can survive temperatures down to 0°C for long periods and they thrive in warm tropical conditions.

Although bed bug infestations may be more common in high turnover accommodation such as backpackers they are also found in the best hotels. It is the accommodation industry around the world that is at the forefront of the battle against these bugs and they will thank you for helping them prevent the spread of the bugs.

Here are some tips to prevent bed bugs hitchhiking with you in your luggage and finding their way home with you:

Before You Leave Home

Spray your luggage lightly with NO Bed Bugs spray. Pay attention to joins, seams, and other dark nooks and crannies inside and outside the luggage.

When You Arrive at Accommodation

I recommend you thoroughly inspect the room before unpacking. Place your luggage in the middle of the room or the safest place is on the tiled bathroom floor or on a luggage rack after it has been thoroughly inspected. Do not place luggage on upholstered surfaces unless they have been thoroughly checked. Do not use a luggage rack if it has hollow legs, where bed bugs may hide inside unseen.

Search places such as luggage rack, wardrobe, behind the bed headboard, seams of the mattress and bed frame, under lights, and inside bedside drawers, the underside of sofas and chairs, etc. Look for pepper-like stains, black spots like small ticks with a black pen or old bed bug skins.

If you suspect your room is infested, notify the accommodation management and request a change of room immediately. Avoid rooms adjacent to or immediately above/below the suspected infestation.

On Your Return Home - Particularly if you have visited any accommodation where you found or suspected bed bugs:

Inspect your luggage outdoors before bringing them into the house. If you have concerns, place clothing in a sealed plastic bag and put in a freezer for 48 hours, or hot wash and dry all your clothes, even those that have not been worn. Keep clothes that go to the dry cleaner in a sealed plastic bag until they can be transported. Spray the luggage with NO Bed Bugs and let it dry before vacuuming it and bringing it indoors. You could seal the luggage in a large rubbish bag for storage.

These precautions should ensure you are safe on your holiday and don’t bring any unwanted hitchhikers’ home with you.

David Brittain

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