Bed Bug Prevention: Tips For Travelers


Once you've paid to have professionals clear up a bed bug infestation, it's important to take steps to ensure that you don't have to do so again. Unfortunately, people who travel a lot have a difficult time with this. That's because hotels are a prime location to encounter bed bugs. In fact, a survey shows that almost a quarter of all hotels involved required treatment for bed bugs during the time span of the study.

That's why it's so important for frequent travelers to limit their exposure to these nasty pests. These efforts should involve steps taken both while on the road and at home.

Bed Bug Prevention On The Road

The easiest way for a traveler to prevent bed bugs is to never use a room that has them. As you might expect, this is easier said than done. Bed bugs are notoriously small and flat and can set up shop in amazingly small nooks and crannies. A quick glance at your hotel room is likely to miss them.

To help ensure that you know what condition your room is in, you should look for a few important signs of a bed bug infestation. These include:

  • Rust-colored stains--These stains are the remnants of crushed bed bugs. You'll want to look for these on mattresses and on the underside of any removable couch or chair cushions.
  • Yellow shells--These are the eggs and casings left from a bed bug birth. You can find these on bedding, and also in the nooks present at the joints of drawers. 
  • Dark blood spots--When a bed bug eats, they often expel a portion of their previous feeding. Since they feed on blood, this excrement can resemble a dark-colored blood. 
  • Live bed bugs--If you see any actual bed bugs in the room, immediately leave and ask for a different location. Fortunately, bed bug infestations are local and other rooms could be free of pests.

Make sure you complete a thorough inspection of your room the moment you arrive. Use the metal rack for your belongings--bed bugs cannot climb that surface--and check every conceivable area for these signs. Only then should you unpack and make yourself comfortable.

Bed Bug Prevention At Home

In spite of your efforts at preventing bed bugs on the road, you might come into contact with the pest at some point. To counter this, you'll need to take precautions in your home as well. By setting up the proper physical space and personal habits, you'll minimize the extent of any possible infestation and ensure that you catch it quickly.

The most important thing you can do is conduct the same type of inspection of your bedroom that you'd conduct in a hotel room. A complete inspection of your room should happen every three months, or two weeks after a trip--since bed bug eggs require 4-12 days to hatch.

You'll also want to consider purchasing a few physical features to help protect your bed. The first are called bed bug interceptors. These are, basically, two concentric plastic rings that go on the foot of each bed leg. They create a trap for bugs that try to climb up onto the mattress and also those who try to leave. Interceptors help you both contain and locate an infestation in this way.

Box spring encasements are another purchase to consider. These are simply cloth barriers that fit over your box spring. While bed bugs can certainly live on the encasement, these barriers protect your box spring from housing any pests. It also makes an infestation easier to spot.

Travelers are at an increased risk for bed bugs due to the sheer number of locations in which they sleep and house their belongings. Fortunately, through diligent inspection and preparation, you can avoid the cycle of bed bug infestation and removal.


23 April 2015

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