You’ve gone on vacation and had a lovely time. You’ve seen the sights, sampled the local cuisine, and have had a fun time away from the day-to-day challenges of life. But all is not well. When you come back to your home, you notice that you have small, itchy bite marks all over your body. When you examine your sheets, you discover the unfortunate truth: you’ve brought bed bugs back with you.
Even with modern advances in cleaning and sanitation, this story isn’t entirely out of the question. Year after year, vacationers unknowingly bring bed bugs back with them to their home. Bed bugs can be found in nearly any hotel room worldwide, no matter how clean it may seem, and they can be found elsewhere, too.
How can you prevent bed bugs? What’s the best method for bed bug elimination? Are there steps you can take to avoid the problem altogether? At Wil-Kil, our bed bug experts are here with the answers.
Are bed bugs dangerous?
Bed bugs are not dangerous, and they do not directly spread disease, but that does not mean that they are benign. Bed bugs do bite, and bites do not affect everyone the same. Reactions to the bites come in a spectrum of options, from no physical reactions whatsoever to obvious red, itchy bites. Allergic reactions to bed bug bites also occasionally occur and can manifest in rashes, blisters, and even hives.
Additionally, bed bugs pose a psychological menace. When you know you have bed bugs or have had bed bugs, it can be difficult to sleep, and those who have encountered bed bugs change their behavior to avoid them in the future.
Let’s look at how to prevent bringing bed bugs home after your vacation, starting with checking the sheets/bedding for evidence on arrival, keeping your clothes off the floor, and quickly doing laundry when you get home.
How to Prevent Bringing Back Bed Bugs
Bed bugs are tiny and are excellent hiders. Any place that commonly sees humans could probably have bed bugs somewhere. Hotel bed bugs are particularly common, but bed bugs can be found in airports, busses, cabs and even movie theaters and retail stores. Vigilance is the best way to keep them from hitching a ride home.
Check sheets and bedding for bed bug evidence.
Step one in avoiding bringing bed bugs back to your home is to ensure that there aren’t any bed bugs in your hotel room. Bed bugs themselves are red-brown colored and small, usually around the size of an apple seed, though they can grow up to ¼ of an inch in length. Bed bugs can be found in the sheets, in the furniture, and even in the carpet.
Additionally, you’ll want to look for signs of bed bugs that indicate a bed bug infestation even if you can’t see the insects themselves. Identify bed bugs via:
- Rust-colored stains on the sheets
- Small dark spots of bed bug excrement
- Tiny whitish eggs and eggshells
- Pale yellow nymph skins
If you find bed bugs or signs of bed bugs, notify hotel staff immediately and inspect your bodies and your clothes for bed bugs.
Keep your clothes off the bed.
One of the simplest things you can do to prevent bed bugs is to keep your clothes and your suitcase off the bed. The safest place for a suitcase in your hotel room is the bathroom. Where it is possible bed bugs may be present, it is significantly less likely than the bed, furniture surrounding the bed, or even the floor. The best recommendation is to put your suitcase in the bathroom while you inspect the hotel room. Then if you haven’t found anything, store your bag on a luggage rack or counter, not the floor, bed, or dresser.
Throw your clothes in the dryer when you get home.
Bed bugs are hardy little creatures, but they can’t take the heat—literally. Bed bugs die at high temperatures, which is why bed bug heat treatments are highly effective ways to get rid of bed bugs in your home.
You can replicate heat treatments on your own for your clothes. Once you get home, toss both the dirty and clean clothes from your luggage into your dryer. Dry them on medium to high heat for half an hour or so, and the heat should kill any bed bug hitchhikers. You can then wash your clothes just like normal.
For clothes that cannot be put through a machine dryer, this trick obviously won’t work. Just be sure to pack them in individual bags and thoroughly inspect them for bed bugs before you bring them inside your home.
Vacuum out your luggage.
Even if you’ve taken all the proper steps so far—checking your sheets for evidence, keeping your clothing and luggage off the floor, and putting your laundry through a heat treatment of its own—you could still have bed bugs in a somewhat unexpected place: Your luggage. After you’ve removed all your clothes, don’t forget to check your luggage for bed bugs. Vacuum your suitcases to get rid of any stragglers.
Wil-Kil will kill bed bugs in your home or business.
No matter how careful you are in examining your attempt to avoid bed bugs, the little critters are excellent at hitching a ride to your home. If you’ve brought bed bugs back from your vacation along with your souvenirs and memories, don’t fret: Wil-Kil is here with bed bug control.
Our expert technicians can tell you how to determine if you have bed bugs and help you explore the extent of your problem, and our bed bug heat treatments help get rid of the bed bugs in your home. You don’t have to deal with itchy skin and little bites anymore—contact Wil-Kil for your bed bug service today.