Bed bugs are tiny nocturnal bugs that feed on human blood. These pests are so tiny that they can be found almost anywhere. They have no regard for social or economic status of the person whose home or hotel they may have infested. Recently there was much buzz in the news regarding a possible bed bug infestation at Goldman Sachs. Unfortunately there is a resurgence of bedbugs around the world. This requires extra vigilance when traveling (or even going to work as in the case of Goldman Sachs employees) to avoid contamination of your possessions and ultimately, your home. A bed bug infestation is very expensive to treat. Bed bugs are not discriminatory as to what you have that they can hide in-they simply want to hitchhike to the next location. That next location is your house, and it happens by jumping into you luggage, or your briefcase.
How can you protect yourself when traveling so that you can avoid taking them home as unwanted houseguests? Be sure to inspect your hotel room thoroughly before unpacking anything. Just because they are called bed bugs does not mean that they are confined to beds. They can be found in cracks and crevices anywhere in the room. Bed bugs can be in the furniture, behind pictures, in baseboards, hiding behind loose wallpaper or even hiding under the edges of the carpet. You might even want to leave your luggage in the car until you feel satisfied that there is no visible infestation of bedbugs. There is a possibility that the person who checked out just a few hours ago may have brought them to the room with him to start a new infestation and you are their very next victim. If this is the case you won’t have much of a way of knowing if you are their next meal.
There are some tell-tale signs of bed bugs. One of the easiest to spot is their crushed shells that they have shed. Check behind the headboard and in and around the nightstands first. It is likely that the bugs are hiding there so that they can have easy access to their next victim. However, be sure to check any other places that they may be hiding. They are known to travel across a room in order to have a meal. Another way to spot an infestation is by looking for dark spots on the mattress. This is their waste products and is very noticeable along the mattress seams. You might be able to spot their tiny eggs there too. Perhaps you will even spot a bed bug, though they typically only come out at night.
Hopefully you won’t find anything in your search. That should give you peace of mind that there is only a small chance that bed bugs are present. You can also do searches on Tripadvisor.com before you leave home to see if anyone has encountered a problem with them at the particular hotel where you will be staying.
To reduce the risk of them hitchhiking back to your home with you try to keep your luggage up off of the floor and away from your bed so that it is more difficult for them to crawl into it. You can even purchase plastic bags to put all of your possessions in while you are staying at the hotel.
A problem also arises if you are traveling home by plane and your suitcase will be lined up with hundreds of others that are potentially infested with bed bugs. Plastic bags over your luggage can again reduce the risk of contamination. After you return home be sure to immediately wash everything that you took with you on your trip. Wash it in hot water to kill any remaining bugs. Put your suitcases back into plastic bags and seal them. Let them sit in the hot sun for a couple of days and it should kill any remaining bugs. Note that there is a possibility, since these pests are so resilient, that some bugs or their eggs will survive.
If you suspect that you have brought bed bugs into your home do not delay in contacting your exterminator. The worse the infestation becomes the more costly it can be to eliminate it.