Spring Break 2014 is here! Young scholars across the country will be flocking to popular warm-weather destinations, like Key West, New Orleans, and South Padre, to discuss their respective academic fields…or so they tell their parents.
But while the kids are cutting loose, bed bugs might be nearby looking for their ride back to the dorms and apartments. Don’t let these blood-sucking pests harsh your buzz; enjoy your bed bug free vacation with a few simple prevention steps.
First off, don’t think for any reason that you aren’t likely to be exposed to bed bugs this spring. Bed bugs are a global epidemic, and are active in all 50 states. Travelling is one of the most common ways to get bed bugs, and they can be found in all types of lodgings, from youth hostels to five star resorts. The easiest way to find yourself with an unexpected bed bug infestation is to pretend that it’ll never happen to you. Just ask one of the hundreds of thousands of people who suffered from infestations just last year.
At the hotel
If your trip involves a hotel, motel, or hostel stay, you’ll want to take some precautionary steps from the moment you check in. A preliminary inspection could tell you if bed bugs have been active in your room recently. Shine a flashlight into the joints of the bed frame, and pull back the bed sheets to check the seams and folds of the mattress. Look for for small blood spots or droppings (which will look like thin black streaks), as well as dead bugs or discarded shells.
If you do find anything, take a picture or pick up a sample with a piece of tape, and report to the hotel management right away. They should be able to switch you to another room. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to find anything in a bed bug inspection. Bed bugs are small, and don’t hang out in open areas. Just because your inspection comes out clean doesn’t mean that bed bugs aren’t in the area.
Once you’ve checked in, be careful where you put your luggage! The safest place for your things would be the bathroom, as bed bugs don’t tend to wander that far from the bed. Also, don’t put your clothes in any of the drawers or cupboards; keep everything in your suitcase to avoid inviting bed bugs into your things.
Hope you enjoyed your break! Just don’t let your guard down, yet – there are still things you need to do to make sure your homecoming isn’t interrupted by any night time biting.
Before you unpack, throw all of your laundry (even stuff you didn’t wear) into the washer and dryer on high heat settings, or as high as the tags let you. Bed bugs of all life stages are vulnerable to heat, so this will kill any hitchhikers hiding in your clothes. For best results, only fill the machines up halfway to ensure that the heat is evenly distributed.
Anything that won’t stand a laundry cycle, like books, sandals, suitcases, beads, and shot glasses should be treated in a portable bed bug heater, like a ZappBug Heater or ThermalStrike Ranger. With the dryer running and the heater cooking, you can finally take some time to relax and unwind.