Traveling? How To Avoid Bringing Bed Bugs Home With You

Bed bugs are a common fear for those living in urban areas, such as Cincinnati. Infestations are common— in any household, in any city, for any family, no matter how clean your house is. But did you know that most people actually get bed bugs in their homes from recent traveling?

It’s true — traveling is the easiest and most likely place to pick up unwanted hitchhikers, so it’s important to know how to avoid bringing bed bugs home with you. These small parasitic insects, known as bed bugs, stow away unseen on unsuspecting hosts or attach themselves to garments or luggage when staying in hotels, motels, inns or rental units. Once in your home, they breed and multiply, often causing an infestation before you know it.

Hotels and other establishments in urban environments sometimes use innovative methods, such as the use of bed bug sniffing dogs, to detect these pests, but they can very sneaky. It’s important to do your part when traveling.

How to Avoid Bringing Bed Bugs Home When Traveling 

To prevent bed bugs while traveling (and more important, upon returning home), follow these three simple rules:

Choose You Accommodation Wisely

When planning your stay, be sure to research the hotel before booking by checking reviews for any mention of bed bugs or bed bug bites. Sites like TripAdvisor and Google Reviews can provide insights into other guests’ experiences. Once you arrive, inspect your hotel room thoroughly for any signs of bed bugs to ensure your stay is comfortable and bite-free. If reviews or your inspection raise concerns, consider finding alternative accommodations

Quickly Inspect Your Hotel Room

Bed bugs are notorious for hiding in various places within hotel rooms, making them a challenge to detect. When checking for bed bugs in a hotel room, focus primarily on the hotel bed itself, including the mattress and box spring, as these are common hiding spots.

Pull back sheets and inspect the seams of the mattress and the edges of the box spring to find signs of bed bugs, such as small rust-colored stains or the bugs themselves. Bed bugs can also be found behind headboards, inside crevices of furniture, and even behind wall fixtures. Spending a few hours upon arrival to thoroughly inspect these areas can greatly help in efforts to avoid bedbugs during your stay.

Bed bugs range from 1 mm to 7 mm; they are flat, wingless and reddish-brown in color. You can inspect for bed bugs in a bed by lifting up the sheet and tracking the lining of the mattress. Common signs are rust-colored blood spots, exoskeletons from molting, a musty odor or just spotting the bed bugs themselves.

Here’s how to tell bed bugs apart from their look-a-likes.

bed bugs in bed

Be Cautious and Aware of Your Luggage — and Where You Keep it

While inspecting your hotel room, carefully inspect your luggage and where you keep it. It is best to keep your luggage in the bathroom or on a luggage rack to prevent bed bugs. Avoid placing your luggage on the carpeted floor as bed bugs can easily hide and infest your belongings from there.

Everywhere that your luggage and clothing are stored should be inspected thoroughly. Bed bugs are not likely to be found in bathrooms, and elevating your luggage on a stand can help prevent transfer. While there is no way to be absolutely sure a prospective hotel is bed-bug free before your arrival, you can avoid them.

If You Find Bed Bugs or Evidence of them…

If you discover a bed bug in your hotel room, immediately inform the hotel management and request to be moved to a different room. It’s crucial not to move your belongings hastily, as this could spread the little buggers.

When relocated, inspect the new room thoroughly at night when bed bugs are more active. Use luggage racks to keep your bags off the floor and away from the bedding and furniture. Look for signs like small dark stains or live bugs in the bedding, seams of the mattress, and other hidden spots.

Before leaving the hotel, or heading home, ensure all your items are sealed in plastic bags to prevent any potential hitchhikers. Upon returning, wash all clothing in hot water and dry on high heat to kill any bed bugs.

Thoroughly vacuum your luggage and inspect it for any signs of bed bugs. Keep monitoring for bites or further evidence of bed bugs in the following weeks to ensure these pests have not followed you home.

Wash All Clothing on the Hottest Setting or Seal in an Airtight Plastic Bag

If you’re concerned about a bed bug infestation after traveling, taking steps to kill bed bugs and prevent them from settling into your home is crucial. Wash and dry your clothing and any fabric items on the highest heat setting as soon as you return; this extreme temperature will effectively kill bed bugs. For items that cannot be immediately washed, seal them in airtight plastic bags or garbage bags and leave them outside for several days before laundering them with hot water.

This method helps avoid bringing bedbugs home, as most bed bug transfers occur when luggage is left unattended for a period upon returning. Be vigilant in handling your luggage and other items to prevent an infestation.

Prevent bed bugs from checking out with you, and you won’t regret the vacation you just took.

Following these three simple rules will drastically reduce the chances of bringing bed bugs home from a trip. However, if infestations do still occur, you should call the professionals at ScherZinger Pest Control immediately—bed bug infestations can become overwhelming overnight. Safe travels!

ScherZinger Pest Control, a trusted pest control company in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas, including Dayton and now Columbus. We’ve been pioneers who have engineered new standards for ways of eliminating and controlling bugs and pests. Contact us by phone at 1-877-748-9888 or through our websiteFacebook, or Twitter.