Let’s talk bed bugs. They’re an invasive species that typically hide in beds and feed on a human’s blood. Gross. So, it goes without saying that you should do your best to avoid bed bugs.
Simple measures—like putting a protective cover on your mattress—can be taken in your own home, but what about when you travel? How can you ensure you don’t encounter any uninvited guests while staying at a hotel?
It takes much less effort to scan for bed bugs than it does to get rid of them.
The first step you can take is by reading the hotel’s reviews. You may already do this to learn about other aspects of the hotel, but pay attention if anyone else has mentioned a bed bug problem.
If there have been several complaints, you might want to reconsider.
Before jumping on the bed, make sure you check the mattress.
Jim Dill, Extension Educator with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, explains how important it is not to immediately place your luggage on the bed or luggage rack in a hotel room.
Instead he recommends placing your suitcase in the bathtub, and he has a very good reason for it.
In addition to checking the mattress you should also look behind the bed or in any crevice.
Since bed bugs are only a few millimeters in size you’ll need to look carefully, but against a white or light-colored mattress the adult bed bug should be easy to find.
However, according to the Environmental Protection Agency young bed bugs can appear translucent.
Bed bugs aren’t limited to the bed, so you’ll want to check a few more items in your hotel room.
Another location you may not necessarily think to look is the luggage rack.
If a bed bug finds its way onto the luggage rack and your suitcase is already on it there’s a good chance you might unknowingly bring them home.
Checking the luggage rack is just as important as checking the bed.
Hopefully after you check your hotel room you don’t have bed bugs, but if you do you’ll want to remove your stuff and yourself from the room.
Frommer’s suggests contacting the hotel management and asking to be moved. Keep in mind that bed bugs can travel through wall sockets, on housekeeping carts, etc. , so it’s possible they may be in the room next to yours or even a floor above or below.
When you return home you should wash all of your clothes in hot water, this will ensure that any bed bugs that made the trip home with you have been killed.
Although some of the places it’s recommended you inspect may gross you out, the alternative is even more gross and has the potential to be costly.