As temperatures cool off and the winter weather rolls around, many of summer’s most prolific pests begin to fade into relative obscurity for a few months. However, regardless of the season, bed bugs are one pest that travelers need to be aware of and should take steps to avoid.
Summer breeding leads to an active fall
Much like other pests, bed bugs don’t enjoy the cold. However, they are usually found in high numbers in the fall because summer is breeding season for these pests. Bed bugs have a life span that lasts from several months to just over a year, meaning that all those babies that were hatched in July and August are maturing. Many travelers, therefore, unknowingly transport them back to their homes and their work environments, leaving them with a costly “souvenir” from their trip.
Hotel room inspection tips
Bed bugs are very small. They have the ability to squeeze into spaces about the width of a driver’s license. The inspection process, therefore, can be quite involved, as you will want to look into any crack that you see. Also, be aware that even if you don’t see the bugs themselves, you may be able to spot evidence that they are there, including eggs, skin and even feces
After checking into a hotel room, immediately go to the bed and look over it carefully. Most bed bugs are located in this area because they have easy access to human blood. However, be careful not to neglect several other areas of the room, including any sofas or chairs, nightstands, and even pictures that are hung on the wall. Finally, inspect the luggage rack prior to setting your suitcase on it.
If you notice anything that concerns you, return to the front desk immediately and ask for another room. Remember that it is better to be safe than sorry; even if you aren’t sure that what you found is an indication of a bed bug, switch rooms as a precaution. Ask to move to another floor if possible. Also, remember that once you get into your new room, you will have to start the inspection process all over again.
Simple precautions for travelers
Even if you look over your room and think that it is free of bed bugs, there are still certain steps you should take just in case they are there and you didn’t see them. For example, keep your suitcase closed unless you are getting out clothing, and put your dirty items in a tied off plastic bag. When you get home, take the bag of clothes straight to your laundry room, and use as much heat as you can when washing and drying them. Finally, leave your suitcase in the backseat of your car, allowing it to heat up in the sunlight before bringing it back in your house.
Unfortunately, you can never really relax when it comes to the threat of bed bugs. There are, however, things you can do to reduce your risk of a home infestation. Keep these tips in mind the next time you are traveling.
Image credit: Some rights reserved by stephenccwu
About the author: Jim is a trained pest control technician. He works for a NJ Pest Control company.