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What to do if you've traveled to a place with bed bugs

How do you make sure you are safe from bed bug infestation if you've traveled to a place that turns out to have bed bugs?

It's any traveler's worst nightmare. You've enjoyed a vacation or a holiday visit and a few days after you get home, you find you've brought back an unexpected souvenir: an insect infestation. It is a surprisingly common occurrence, but there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your home from a bedbug infestation.

Bed bugs are notorious for "hitching a ride" on clothing, in linens, or in the crevices of suitcases or backpacks. This makes it easy to pick them up while traveling and unknowingly bring them back to your home.

Thankfully, there are a few steps you can take to help protect yourself and your home and prevent bed bugs from getting into your house

Inspect any hotel room you stay in.

There are a few simple steps you can take to ensure your hotel room is bed bug free. Visually inspect the luggage racks, upholstered furniture, the back of the headboard, the mattress seams, box springs and bed frames. Use a flash light and a magnifying glass if you have one. There are many signs of a bedbug infestation that can help you determine if your hotel room is safe. You may want to rest your luggage in the bathtub of your hotel room until you have had a chance to check for signs of bed bugs in the room. The tile floors and ceramic tub offer no hiding places for the bugs and may protect your luggage from infestation. There are many telltale signs of a bedbug infestation that you can check for.

Tackle the problem before you get home.

If you think you may have been exposed to bed bugs, it is best to treat your belongings before you enter your house. Put all of your belongings, including your luggage, into sealed plastic bags to keep the bed bugs from dropping out where you don't want them. Before rolling your suitcase into your home, unpack in the garage, or even better outside. Although it may be tempting to throw everything out, this isn't necessary because bed bugs can be killed using high heat or extreme cold. Take all clothing and items that can be laundered and wash them in HOT water and dry them on high heat. The water temperature should be 100 degrees to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Then place them in NEW plastic bags to keep them isolated from whatever else is still contaminated.

Call a bed bug professional to ensure removal of any infestation.


What NOT to do when you have a bed bug infestation:

  • Do not Panic. A pest management professional can control bed bugs with careful inspection and by using proper control methods.
  • Do not try to kill bed bugs by using agricultural or garden pesticides. Using outdoor pesticides to control bed bugs can make you or your family very sick and they are usually ineffective..
  • Do not apply pesticides directly to your body. This could make you very sick.
  • Do not use rubbing alcohol, kerosene or gasoline. These chemicals can create a dangerous fire hazard in your home.
  • Do not throw away your furniture. Beds and other furniture can be treated for bed bugs. Throwing away your furniture can spread the bugs and you have to buy new furniture.
  • Do not store things under the bed. Storing items under the bed gives bed bugs many new places to hide. This makes it more difficult to get rid of bed bugs.
  • Do not move things from room to room. Moving your things from the room with bed bugs to another room in your house may spread the bed bugs.

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