Across the country kids are wrapping up the school year and families are planning to pack their bags and travel during the summer months. Whether vacations are planned near or far from home, bed bugs are a key concern. To promote public vigilance and to help quell infestations, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) has declared June 5-11 to be Bed Bug Awareness Week. We are joining NPMA in this important public education effort and encourage travelers to brush up on bed bug basics before hitting the road.
In recent years, bed bugs have become more of a top concern for travelers as they can be found in many different locations. These biting pests are also easily transported back home and use belongings, such as suitcases and boxes to hitchhike. Bed bugs are known to survive in various conditions, so it is essential for travelers to practice caution during and after trips.
In fact, a 2015 study by NPMA and the University of Kentucky found that 99.6 percent of pest control professionals treated for bed bugs in the year prior, with 75 percent reporting bed bugs in hotels and motels.
Here are some ways to help make sure you don’t bring bed bugs home:
- At hotels, thoroughly inspect the entire room before unpacking, including behind the headboard and in furniture. Pull back the bed sheets and check the mattress seams and box springs for pepper-like stains that may be evidence of bed bug activity.
- If you suspect an infestation or problem, notify management and change rooms immediately. Be sure the new room is not adjacent to or directly below or above the possibly infested room.
- Keep suitcases in plastic trash bags or protective covers during a hotel stay to prevent bed bugs from nesting there. Do not put them on the beds.
- Upon returning home from a trip, inspect all suitcases and other belongings before bringing them into the house.
- Wash all clothes – even those that have not been worn – in hot water and dry them using an extra-hot dryer setting