Thanks to COVID, lockdowns, and restricted travel, lots of people stayed home these past few holiday seasons. It was obviously very unfortunate for those who wanted to spend time with family and friends.
There was an unexpected silver lining, however: less travel on airplanes, to hotels, and to other people’s homes meant fewer traveling pests. Lots of pests—from bed bugs, to fleas, to cockroaches and more—get around by hitching a ride on traveling people.
Now that travel is picking up again, pests are bound to start traveling more as well.
This year, don’t forget these bed bug safety tips for holiday travel! Keep reading for everything you need to know to avoid pests coming home for the holidays.
Tip #1: Know the Bed Bug Hot Spots
Some areas of the U.S. and other parts of the world have more bed bugs (and other pests) than others. (For example, Cincinnati regularly makes the top 10 list of most bed bug-ridden cities in the U.S!)
Some types of transit are more likely to have pests as well. For example, bed bugs are more likely to be found in airports, train stations, bus stations, and rental cars (where many people pass through) than your own car.
We’re not suggesting you shouldn’t fly or visit places where bed bugs and pests are common; however, it helps to know how cautious you need to be. (For example, you might decide to use a hard-shelled suitcase or wrap your luggage or belongings in sealable plastic bags.)
Tip #2: Consider Your Accommodations
Many pests—especially bed bugs—want to be where the people are. That means they can be a problem in hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, and even private vacation homes (like those on Airbnb and Vrbo).
If you aren’t staying with family or friends, take some time to consider your accommodations. Before you book, here are two bed bug safety tips:
- Read the reviews. Check the property’s online reviews for complaints or the bed bug registry for hotels.
- Ask about pest control. Does the property owner have a plan in place for bed bug prevention and treatment? How do they handle complaints? It’s a good idea to ask these questions before check-in. Most hotels do proactive inspections, have pest control protocols in place, and are good at resolving issues for their guests. But others don’t, which is bad news! Some owners would rather pretend they never get pests (impossible). What’s more, you might want to be cautious with certain types of accommodations, like private homes or rooms rented out on Airbnb or Vrbo. These types of accommodations have fewer regulations than hotels, so pest control is often up to the individual owner. (Currently, Airbnb doesn’t even have a clear policy on bed bugs.)
Tip #3: Keep Luggage off the Ground
When you enter your room, the first thing you should do is set your luggage and bags on a metal rack or in the bathroom—not on the bed. You want to keep your belongings in areas that are less likely to house bed bugs. (Bed bugs can’t climb metal easily and don’t typically hide in bathrooms.)
Also, don’t unpack your things yet! You still need to do bed bug safety tip #4.
Tip #4: Inspect the Room
Before you settle in, take some time to inspect the room. Does it have a musty odor? (This could indicate a bed bug or cockroach infestation.) Do you see signs of stinging insects, like mosquitoes or a wasp’s nest?
Check the sheets on the bed for reddish-brown stains, then pull them back to inspect the mattress and box spring. (Pay special attention to the mattress seams.) You can also check the furnishings near the bed, like the nightstand and any chairs, for signs of bed bugs.
Tip #5: Speak Up
If you find any signs of a bed bug or other pest infestation, it’s time to speak up. Nothing spoils a holiday faster than finding pests crawling on you in the middle of the night!
If you are staying in a hotel or other place with multiple rooms, ask for a new room. Ideally, that room should be several floors away from the original room. (Bed bugs may have spread from the original room to the rooms right next door.) Ideally, the owners or managers will be accommodating and resolve the issue quickly. If they do not—don’t hesitate to find new lodgings immediately!
Tip #6: Perform a Post-Holiday Check
You’re going to have to empty your luggage and wash your clothes when you get home anyway—so use this time to do one last check for pests. (Better safe than sorry, we always say.)
Consider leaving your luggage in your garage. Before entering your home, wipe down the bottom of your shoes (where cockroach eggs tend to be carried). Then, wash and dry your clothes on high heat, especially if you suspect you were exposed to bed bugs. Also consider using a steamer on the inside and outside of your luggage.
If you traveled with a furry friend, check them for fleas, ticks, and other bugs. They may need a bath or flea treatment.
In the weeks following your trip, be on the lookout for signs of a pest problem. Check for bed bugs and bed bug bites, cockroaches, fleas, etc. By doing this, you can catch a potential problem early—before it becomes a disaster!
We’re Here to Help
Contact Scherzinger Pest Control, a trusted pest control company in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas, including Dayton, OH, and now Columbus, OH. We’ve been pioneers, engineering new standards for ways of eliminating and controlling bugs and pests. Contact us by phone at 1-877-748-9888 or through our website, Facebook, or Twitter.