How to check for bed bugs

One of the best things about travel is souvenirs. But while most people love postcards and refrigerator magnets, one thing your DON’T want to bring back home is bed bugs, so one of the most important 1st steps of any vacation is to check your hotel room for bed bugs.

Bed bugs are small, reddish-brown insects that are about the size of an apple seed. Since they are flat (approximately the width of a credit card), they are well adapted to slipping into tight spots to hide. They typically come out at night, where they feed on the blood of people and pets. Despite their diminutive size, bed bug bites can cause itchy, irritating welts.

Bed bug infestations can occur even in nice hotels, and worse yet they can hitch a ride in your luggage and bring the infestation into your home. If bed bugs are a souvenir you’d rather do without, here are some helpful tips on how to check for bed bugs:

  1. Keep luggage out of their reach. When you first check into a room, avoid setting your luggage on the bed. Instead, place it on a luggage rack, in the bathroom, or on a hard surface where bed bugs are less likely to hide. If you want an extra layer of protection, put your luggage in a large plastic trash bag. At the very least, it may be wise to keep your dirty clothes sealed in a plastic bag, as this can help mask the smell of your clothes, which can attract bed bugs.
  2. Inspect the bedding. Don’t feel bad about messing up a perfectly-made bed. Pull the sheets back, peel the mattress off the box spring, and look for signs of bed bugs. How to check for bed bugs, you ask? Well, evidence can include reddish stains from crushed bed bugs, tiny dark spots from feces, eggs, molted exoskeletons, and even the bed bugs themselves. Needless to say, if you spot evidence of a bed bug infestation, ask for a different room, preferably in another part of the building.
  3. Check other common bed bug locations. As their name implies, bed bugs typically hang out in a bed. But they can also be found in the folds of curtains, hiding behind the cover of an electrical outlet, between couch cushions, along door frames, and anywhere else a tiny insect can slip through.
  4. Take preventative steps when you return from your trip. While knowing how to check a hotel for bed bugs is half the battle, once you get home, there are a variety of things you can do to make sure any clever hitchhikers are eliminated. This can include thoroughly washing and then drying your clothes on the hottest permissible temperature for at least 30 minutes (taking care to keep dirty clothes sealed in a plastic bag until they are ready to be washed). You can also vacuum your luggage, making sure to dispose of the dirt outside or in a sealed plastic bag. Another trick can be to store your luggage in a hot environment (over 120 degrees Fahrenheit), or better yet, use self-heating luggage designed to kill bed bugs. You should also routinely wash your bedding in the hottest-permissible temperature, and conduct routine home bed bug inspections similar to the ones you do in a hotel.
  5. Choose bedding that is resistant to bed bugs. For peace of mind and convenience, you can augment your knowledge on how to detect bed bugs with products that are designed to deter infestations before they start. For example, the 2-Pc BugLock Bed Bug Protection Kit: Mattress & Box Spring Encasement and the AllerZip Allergy, Dust Mite & Bed Bug Proof Pillow Covers, 2-Pack allow you to eliminate bed bugs no matter what mattress and pillows you own. For a premium solution, you can select products with built-in bed bug protection like the Bed Bug-Proof 10-Inch Memory Foam Mattress.
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We hope these tips on how to detect bed bugs help you ensure your vacations are bed bug-free!

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