Are you planning a vacation? You’re not alone: as Ohio and many other parts of the U.S. slowly re-open post-COVID, many people are thinking of taking that long-awaited vacation.
Right now, you’re probably most concerned with vaccine passports, mask mandates, and other COVID requirements and protocols—but don’t forget about regular travel concerns, like bed bugs!
Today, we’re talking about preventing bed bugs on vacation. How did the pandemic affect bed bugs? Should you be more worried about bed bugs, or less? Keep reading to find out.
How the Pandemic Affected Bed Bugs
The pandemic has affected bed bugs in two key ways: first, people staying home means less bed bug spread between locations. (Good news.) Second, fewer pest control treatments have, in some locations, made bed bug situations worse. (Bad news.)
Let’s talk about the first point. Reduced travel over the past year and a half has decreased the spread of bed bugs in many parts of the country. That’s because fewer travelers have been carrying bed bugs from one location to another in their shoes, luggage, and clothes.
However, that doesn’t mean the bugs are gone. They’ve just been lying in wait. (Remember that bed bugs can go a year without a meal! Scary, right?) Now that travel is picking up, bed bugs are likely to follow.
This brings us to our second point. Though pest control is an essential service (meaning pest control companies were able to stay open), some people were wary of bringing pest professionals into their homes, apartments, hotels, B&Bs, etc. Without regular inspections by professionals—and with fewer guests and housekeeping staff to alert hotel management to pest problems—some bed bug infestations have gone undetected. (Note that increased cleaning to prevent COVID-19 isn’t a substitute for bed bug treatment!)
That means some infestations have gone unchecked for months (or longer)—and it’s more important than ever to watch out for bed bugs!
How to Prevent Bed Bugs on Vacation
You don’t want to bring home bed bugs from your much-anticipated holiday! Here are our top tips for preventing bed bugs on vacation post-COVID.
#1 Know What to Look For
Do you know what bed bugs look like? To avoid bed bugs on vacation, you have to know what to watch out for!
It’s almost impossible to see bed bugs in their nymph stage, when they’re about the size of a pin head. However, in their adult stage, they’re easier to spot:
- Their body is small, flat, and apple seed-shaped
- Their head is smaller than their body
- They have six legs and two relatively straight antennae
- They are brown or reddish-brown in color
In addition to actual adult bed bugs crawling around, there are a few other signs of a bed bug infestation:
- There are dark spots on bedsheets or duvets that look like the spot of a bleeding marker
- There are reddish or rust-colored stains on sheets or mattresses
- Skin casings of adult bed bugs are found
#2 Check Your Accommodations
Whether you are staying at a hotel, motel, bed & breakfast, cabin, “glamping” tent, or any other type of accommodation, check for bed bugs and their signs.
You can do this by pulling back the sheets, lifting the mattress, and looking in and around the bed for the signs we mentioned above. It’s also a good idea to check the other areas of the room. While bed bugs typically prefer the mattress, they can hide anywhere.
You’ll want to be extra careful when checking your accommodations. If you suspect bed bugs, immediately alert hotel staff. You can change rooms or—even better—change hotels entirely. Yes, it’s a hassle, but it’s better than bringing bed bugs home with you!
Another good tip is to call prospective hotels before you book. Ask them what their procedures are for pest control. A good hotel will be happy to tell you how they proactively handle pest issues. (Note: a hotel that tells you they’ve “never had any problems” is a red flag: there are pests everywhere!)
#3 Be Careful with Your Luggage
Don’t unpack just yet: luggage is a common bed bug carrier. After you’ve checked your room, be careful where you put your suitcases. Instead of setting your luggage near the bed or on the floor, place it on a luggage stand or in the bathroom. (Bed bugs are less likely to hang out in bathrooms.)
#4 Do a Post-Vacation Check
It’s a good idea to take a few final steps to prevent bed bugs on vacation. If you suspect you might have brought bed bugs home (or just want to be extra cautious), you can do the following:
- Wipe off the soles of your shoes with rubbing alcohol
- Wash and/or dry your vacation clothing on high heat
- Seal clothing and luggage in an airtight plastic bag for several days and leave it outside or in your garage
- Keep a look out for bed bugs in the days and weeks after you get home
Call Us for Bed Bug Solutions
You can do everything possible to prevent bed bugs on vacation, yet still end up with an infestation. The good news is that ScherZinger Pest Control is here for you!
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.