If you go on a trip this holiday season, you may bring home more than baked goods and presents if you aren’t careful.
You could come home with bedbugs.
They are a big problem this year and you may not even know you brought them home until they have settled in your house. This is especially true if you are traveling to one of the cities listed on the CBS Worst Cities for Bed Bugs list – which include New York, Philadelphia and Detroit as the 3 worst places!
Some people mistakenly think that they won’t have to worry about bedbugs during cold weather, but that isn’t the case. The tiny pests live in soft materials, bedding, and upholstery inside the home or hotel, where it is warm and cozy. Then, they can hitch a ride in the luggage directly to a new home.
To avoid itchy bites and red welts along with a hard-to fight infestation in your home, follow these tips:
Tip #1 – Be Careful With Your Luggage
Your luggage can be the number one vehicle for bedbugs, so start by considering the type of luggage you use when you go on a holiday vacation. Think about following these rules:
- Hard-sided luggage makes it harder for bedbugs to hide in folds and crevices. Try to avoid cloth sided bags that have folds and seams everywhere.
- Lighter colored bags are better because you will be able to spot the bedbugs before you take the home. They are almost impossible to see on dark luggage.
- Never put your luggage on a bed, the dresser, or a closet where bedbugs can crawl right in. Instead, use the folding metal stand if provided by the hotel or place the luggage in the bathtub.
- Do not put purses, camera bags, laptop cases, briefcases, or any sort of bags on the bed or floor. Bedbugs can find their way into any of these. Instead, put everything you bring in in the bathroom.
- Wrap your whole suitcase in a trash bag and seal it or enclose everything in your luggage in individual sealed bags and only open them when you need them.
Knowing how to protect your luggage is step one in your defense against bedbugs.
Tip #2 – Be Aware In Your Hotel Room
When you first come into a hotel room, start by putting your luggage somewhere safe and then do your own inspection to check for bedbugs. It’s a good idea to keep a small flash light (like one of those LED model keychain flashlights) with you when you travel during the holidays.
Start by looking at the bed. You are looking for small, brown or reddish, oval shaped bugs that hide in the daylight. On the bed, check seams, piping, ruffles, and crevices for signs of the bugs or their excrement. Look between the mattress and the box spring and around the crevices of the bed frame. You also need to look in other places throughout the room where bedbugs could be hiding, like:
- Behind picture frames and mirrors
- Behind the headboard
- Dresser drawers
- The drapes
- Upholstered furniture (especially in pleats)
- Gaps in wallpaper
Bedbugs tend to favor areas close to bedding, so look in these spaces specifically.
Tip #3 – Start by putting your suitcases in the garage
When you get home from your holiday vacation, stop by putting your suitcases in the garage or on a balcony and inspect them carefully before you bring them in the home. It’s a good idea to vacuum or steam the luggage before storing and wash all of your clothes (even if you didn’t wear them) on high heat.
If you are careful and follow these tips, you should be able to enjoy your holiday trip without worrying about bringing the creepy little critters into your home when you get back.
If you have any questions at all about bed bugs, or suspect you may have a problem, call Dugas Pest Control today and request a free consultation.