Travelers' Guide to Avoiding Bed Bugs

  • A little insect the size of an apple seed is turning vacations into nightmares and giving U.S. travelers the willies every time they enter a hotel room. Cimex lectularius, the common bed bug, returned to American shores in the suitcases of international travelers. In the last decade this blood-feeding parasite has been hitchhiking its way over the U.S. hidden in the luggage of millions of unsuspecting travelers. Spreading from New York City, the nation's busiest international gateway, these insects have crept relentlessly across American to infest all 50 states.

    In the last couple of years, bed bug infestations in the U.S. have increased by 500%. Researchers cite travel while the No. 1 reason for bed bug spread and infestation. The New York City Department of Information Technology & Telecommunications recently reported a 50% increase in these pests complaints at hotels between 2009 and 2010. In heavily infested cities in Ohio, more than 70% of hotels have battled bedbug infestations. Based on the NPMA 2010 Comprehensive Global Bed Bug Study conducted in conjunction with the University of Kentucky, 67% of 1,000 pest management firms surveyed reported treating bed bug infestations at a hotel or motel in the past 12 months.

    These pests prey on human blood and aren't attracted by dirt or filth. "Bed bugs are brought into hotels by guests; it is not a hotel sanitation issue," the American Hotel and Lodging Association said in a statement. These insects are as likely to be found in a 5-star luxury hotel as a modest 1-star motel. And there's the rub for travelers. A hotel room that is bed bug free one night could be infested the next. This insect does not go on humans.

    They crawl into beds to feed, then scurry away, hiding in crevices near beds until the next meal. Suitcases and laptop computers positioned on the bed make perfect hiding places for these pests. When travelers have a look at of an infested college accommodation, a number of these pests will likely stow away within their luggage, creeping out at the following hotel to infest another room or, a whole lot worse, following travelers home.

    The growing prevalence of bed bugs in the U.S. is no reason to swear off travel and stay home; but travelers who don't want to bring pests home together would want to be proactive before, during and following a trip. Make use of this handy guide to safeguard yourself from bed bugs when you travel. how to clean faux wood blinds

    Before you book a hotel room

    • Check Bed Bug Registry and Trip Advisor online to see if bed bugs have now been reported at your selected hotel. If you find multiple reports, choose a different hotel. A new iPhone app, Bed Bug Alert by Apps Genius in New York City, also reports bed bug outbreaks in 10 major U.S. cities.
    • Call the hotel and ask how often rooms are inspected for these insects and whether bed bug-proof encasements are installed on the beds.

    Before you leave home

    • Install bed bug-proof encasements and box springs on all the beds in your home.
    • Keep yourself well-informed about bed bugs so guess what happens to view for. Bed bugs are small, flat, wingless insects that prey on human blood. From cream-colored nymphs the size of a poppy-seed, bed bugs progress through 5 larval stages to become reddish brown, 1/4-inch long adults. When they feed, these insects leave bloody smears and black fecal dots that appear to be coffee grounds on bed sheets and mattresses. About 50% of individuals respond to their bites and will exhibit itchy, red, mosquito-like bites, usually in rows or groups of three. Whitish skins shed during molting are another indication of bed bug infestation.
    • Download and print the free New York State Integrated Pest Management Bed Bug Travelers' Card prepared by Cornell University. This wallet-size card contains bed bug photos and information, rendering it a convenient guide for travelers (and college students).

    When you pack

    • Pack a tiny flashlight, disposable gloves and a selection of garbage bags where they will be easily-accessible.
    • Choose hard-sided luggage. They like to hide in the seams of soft-sided luggage and would rather lay their eggs on rough surfaces.
    • You might want to spray your luggage inside and out with a permethrin-based luggage spray labeled for the particular use. Permethrin provides 2 to 4 weeks of protection against These pests. Don't use a residence or garden sprays as they've no influence on them.