How to protect yourself from bed bugs when you travel
'Tis the busy season for travel as we visit family and friends for the holidays. The last thing you'll want to do is pick up or spread unwanted pests! If you're staying in a hotel, it's a good idea to inspect your room for bed bugs as soon as you arrive so you can protect yourself and your loved ones from an accidental bed bug infestation. When you finally get to your hotel room, you'll want to wait to unpack or settle in until you've had a chance to see if there are bed bugs in your room.
Inspecting your hotel room for bed bugs
Take a small flash light with you when you're going to stay in a hotel. This will make it easier to inspect your room.
As soon as you arrive, do not put your suitcases on the bed or luggage racks. Keep your suitcases on the floor away from the bed, or better still place it in the tile bathroom floor or in the bath tub. These areas are much less likely to have bed bugs. Never put your clothes, suitcase or other personal items on the bed because this is the most common way to pick up bed bugs and transfer them to your home.
SIMPLE hotel room bed bug inspection
- Start with a careful inspection of the mattress. This is the most common place for bed bugs. Gently un-tuck the sheet and the mattress pad and inspect the four corners of the mattress and the box spring.
- An often overlooked place is the luggage rack or valet. Inspect this carefully, concentrating on the cracks and crevices, on the seams where straps are sewn together. Bed bugs may be found on the luggage rack if they have come in on another traveler's suitcase.
A more thorough inspection
If you want to exercise a bit more caution and do a more in-depth inspection of the room to protect yourself from contracting bed bugs, follow these steps:
- Inspect along the edges and seams of the mattress and box spring.
- Continue inspecting the bed area by carefully looking at the headboard. In hotels, most headboards are connected to the wall. Use your flashlight to check in the cracks between the headboard and the wall. Bed bugs like to hide in dark nooks and crannies, and this is a common hiding place.
- Next inspect the furniture close to the bed, paying close attention to any piping, crevices, seams, or joints in the wood or fabric. Look in the screw holes and cracks in the nightstand. Don't forget to look in the drawers.
- Continue inspecting the furniture farther away from the bed, especially upholstered chairs. As you are looking, pay very close attention to the seams. Bed bugs prefer wood and cloth to metal and plastic, and there are lots of small corners and crevices where they can hide in hotel room furniture.
- Check in the crevices between the room's artwork and the walls. Bed bugs can hide behind paintings or in any dark cracks or spaces.
If you find bed bugs in your hotel room, immediately notify the front desk and ask to be moved to a new room that is not next door to the room where you found the bed bugs.
Precautions and Preparations
- Bring a flashlight or use your phone's flashlight app to make inspection easier.
- Bring along a large plastic bag (a garbage bag will do) to put your dirty clothes in. Bed bugs can smell the chemicals that we leave behind on our clothing and are very attracted to this fragrance. The plastic bag will reduce the chances that bed bugs will crawl in to these items and catch a ride home with you.
If you stay in a hotel room and are worried about bed bugs, there are precautions and steps you can take to protect yourself from a bed bug infestation before you unpack when you get home.
Bed bugs are very difficult to get rid of and require professional assistance to do a thorough and complete job. The best way to avoid an infestation is to prevent it! So it is wise to take precautions when you travel to avoid bringing them back with you into your home or into the home. If you do accidentally bring these unwanted guests into your home, we're here to help! Call Eastside Exterminators and ask for our bed bug experts: (425) 482-2100.