You’re looking forward to a vacation, but it can quickly turn into a nightmare if you accidentally bring bed bugs home. Masters at hiding, these pests can make your home miserable and leave you afraid to visit any vacation spot. Luckily, there are steps you can take to make sure these tiny hitchhikers do not ride home in your luggage.
Start Before You Leave
Pack your clothes in plastic bags. You can conveniently organize all your clothes by outfit, but the plastic bags serve an important role in keep keeping bugs out of your home. Unable to penetrate the smooth plastic and hide in your clothes, you can inspect your items throughout your vacation to be sure you are still bug-free. Put dirty clothes back in the plastic bags and close them tightly before putting the bags back in the suitcase. Before you leave the hotel at the end of your vacation, you can easily inspect the bags and the crevices of your suitcase to be sure you are free of dangerous hitchhikers.
Even Five-Star Hotels Have Them
You have booked your overnight stays at the most expensive hotels in the area, but they could still have these insects. The fact is that bed bugs are so adept at riding in on luggage that even the finest hotels can have them. Whether you have spent a fortune for the room or saved money with a discount rate, there are a few steps you should take to keep the little parasites out of your luggage and away from your family.
• Research the hotel before you book to make sure there have not been any reports of bugs.
• Pull back one corner of the fitted sheet. Look at the crevices of the mattress for rust-colored stains. Check the sheets for similar stains. These are telltale marks of bugs, and you should request another room or choose a different hotel.
• Keep your suitcase elevated. Hotels feature luggage stands where you can set your suitcase. Rather than putting your luggage on the floor, an upholstered chair or even the dresser, use these stands. The bugs will have a harder time reaching your luggage, and that minimizes that chance that they will ride home in your clothing. Keep the luggage and rack pulled away from the wall to force the bugs to try climbing up the metal legs.
• Leave your clothes in the suitcase. The dresser may be more convenient, but the suitcase is safer.
When You Return Home
The most effective bed bug treatment is done in a controlled situation as soon as you return home. Empty the bags out in the yard, the garage or even in a bathtub where you can control where contents are put and easily spot any invaders.
Wash all clothing using the highest water temperature that is safe for the items. After washing in hot soapy water, put them in the dryer to kill any remaining bugs. If you do not have time to do the laundry, then keep the clothes in sealed plastic bags until you do have time. Otherwise, any remaining bugs will crawl out of the laundry and set up shop in your home.
Put the empty backpacks and duffel bags in the dry for 30 minutes to heat them and kill any bugs. If the bags cannot be put in the dryer, then use a bed bug treatment spray containing pyrethrins to kill any bugs.
It may seem a little paranoid to take all of these steps to avoid bed bugs, but it’s important to understand that these insects are nearly impossible to eliminate once they move into your home. Invading the walls of your home and feeding on your family as you sleep, an infestation can spread rapidly. It’s much easier to take these steps along the way and avoid an infestation to begin with than it is to try and eliminate them after they come home with you.