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NOVEMBER 11TH, 2014

There’s a nip in the air and a buzz all around, which can only mean one thing – the holiday season is upon us! And what better way to spend the holidays than being surrounded by family and friends. That’s why more than 43 million people are expected to take to planes, trains and automobiles to visit relatives and loved ones this Thanksgiving.

Throughout this busy travel season, people aren’t the only ones moving from one place to another. Bed bugs are also on the move, taking advantage of unsuspecting travelers by clinging to clothing and hiding out in suitcases.

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Whether staying with relatives or at a hotel, bed bug prevention should be top of mind. Travelers should also be on the lookout for these hitchhiking bugs at popular tourist attractions, such as movie theatres, and on public transportation.

Luckily, bed bugs are a manageable pest if the proper precautions are taken.

  • Check hotel bed sheets and mattress seams, particularly at the corners, upon arriving for unusual blood spots, a tell-tale sign of bed bug infestations.
  • Thoroughly inspect of the entire hotel room with a flashlight before unpacking. Make sure to look behind the headboard, under lights and inside dressers, drawers, sofas and chairs.
  • Avoid placing suitcases on hotel floors or the hotel bed. The safest place to keep luggage is in the bathroom or on a luggage rack, after it has been thoroughly inspected.
  • If you notice signs of bed bugs in your room, immediately notify management and request to change rooms. Make sure to get one that is not next to the infested room.
  • Inspect suitcases outside or in the garage for any signs of bed bugs before entering your home.
  • Tip: pack clothes in zip lock bags for easy cleaning upon return home.
  • Vacuum suitcases thoroughly before bringing indoors and storing away.
  • Wash and dry all clothes, including items that were not worn, in hot water and on high heat immediately upon returning home to remove any bed bugs or eggs that may have traveled with you.
    Tip: dry clean only clothes should be thrown in the dryer and run on high heat for at least 30 minutes.

These tips are particularly important for college students returning home from dorms and apartment buildings on campus. The best way to avoid unwanted travel companions or house guests after the holidays is to take a few preventative measures before traveling and immediately upon returning home.