Bed bugs can be found in various locations worldwide. These include places such as hotels, hostels, and even private residences. Recently, reports of increased bed bug infestations have affected and plagued popular cities and countries including Paris and South Korea. While these cities remain the top destinations for tourists, it also means that there is an elevated risk of bringing bed bugs home after a vacation.
Encountering bed bugs in hotels can potentially ruin a holiday. A bed bug infestation not only causes unbearable and itchy bites, but also leads to mental distress. This is because they reproduce rapidly and are relatively difficult to eliminate. In this article, Bingo Pest shares tips on how you can prevent bringing bed bugs home after a vacation or hotel stay.
What Do Bed Bugs Look Like?
Bed bugs are small, reddish-brown insects that feed on blood. Female bed bugs require blood meals for reproduction. Bed bugs are oval-shaped and have a flat body. After a blood meal, they may become more elongated and swollen. Generally, adult bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed, measuring approximately 4-5 mm long. Being tiny and flat, their small physics allows them to hide effectively in narrow cracks and crevices.
Is It Common to Get Bed Bugs From Hotels?
Bed bugs are excellent hitchhikers. Therefore, while it's not extremely common to get bed bugs from hotels, it still happens. Bed bug infestations are not exclusive to any particular type of accommodation. They can be found in hotels, motels, hostels, and even upscale establishments. In some cases, you may also encounter bed bugs in common places where humans lounge. These places include cinemas, massage parlours, offices and airports.
What Are Bed Bugs Attracted to?
Bed bugs are opportunistic feeders. While they prefer to feed on human blood, they can also feed on the blood of other warm-blooded animals. This includes pets such as cats, dogs and hamsters. However, unlike fleas, they do not live on their hosts. Instead, it is common for them to hide in cracks and crevices near their feeding source and come out to feed during the night.
Bed bugs are not exclusively attracted to unclean or dirty spaces. They can be found in clean and well-maintained environments as well. Here are a list of common factors that bed bugs are attracted to:
Body heat: Warmth gives bed bugs an indication that a potential host is nearby.
Carbon dioxide: Bed bugs are highly sensitive to the presence of carbon dioxide. They use it as one of the primary cues to locate a blood meal.
Blood: When bed bugs bite and feed, they can leave behind odours that may attract other bed bugs.
Dark colours: Bed bugs choose to hide and camouflage in darker colours to gain more protection against potential predators or threats.
Body odour: The odour from sweat and other skin secretions plays a role in helping bed bugs locate a potential host.
Tips to Prevent a Bed Bug Infestation from Hotel
The risk of encountering bed bugs when staying in a hotel depends on various factors. These include the cleanliness of the establishment, the frequency of guest turnover, and the prevalence of bed bugs in the area. Therefore, taking proactive measures before travelling can help minimise the risk of bed bug encounters. As a result, it helps you prevent bringing them home. In this section, Bingo Pest shares some bed bug prevention tips before and during your travels.
Check Hotel Reviews
To stay informed about the current situation, consider checking recent travel reviews for your accommodations. Travellers often share their experiences with bed bugs on review platforms, and this can provide you with updated information. Even though bed bug infestations can also happen in clean environments, it is also important to choose an accommodation with positive reviews regarding cleanliness. Afterall, having a clean room can also offer you a safe and sanitary place to rest during your vacation.
Inspect the Room for Bed Bugs Infestation
Upon arrival at the hotel, it is recommended that you conduct a simple check for signs of bed bugs in the hotel room. Before settling in, check upholstered furniture including the bed, mattress seams, headboard, and other furniture for signs of bed bugs. The most obvious sign of a bed bug infestation includes spotting live bed bugs, observing clusters of dark marks or faecal spots and getting bed bug bites.
While the risk exists, many people travel and stay in hotels without experiencing bed bugs. Being proactive and aware can help reduce the chances of bringing bed bugs home from your vacation.
Elevate the Luggage
Elevating and leaving your luggage on hard surfaces such as a luggage rack helps prevent bed bugs from infesting your personal belongings. It is crucial to avoid leaving your belongings on the bed, floor and inside cabinets.
Bed bugs are drawn to your personal belongings and dirty laundry as they smell like a potential host. Packing and encasing clothes, towels, undergarments and personal items essentially makes it difficult for bed bugs to infest them.
Unpack the Luggage Away from Upholstered Furniture
Upon returning from a hotel stay or vacation, it is important to unpack your luggage immediately. However, it is wise to carry out the unpacking away from furniture and upholstered items. For example, the sofas, chairs, beds, carpets and mattresses. This aids in preventing cross-infestation.
Wash Your Clothes Immediately
Once you have unpacked, wash all your clothes immediately in hot water (60 degrees celsius and above) and dry them on high heat. This helps to remove any potential bed bugs or eggs that may have come home with you.
Vacuum the Luggage and Travel Bags
Bed bugs can sometimes hitch a ride in luggage, clothing, or other personal items. Vacuuming is a good precautionary measure to potentially remove live bed bugs and their eggs. It acts as a helpful step to reduce the risk of bringing bed bugs home after your vacation.
Leave the Luggage Out in a Bag for a Day
Thoroughly inspect your luggage and travel bags. Use a flashlight to check seams, folds, and pockets for any signs of bed bugs. After which, consider quarantining your luggage in a designated area until you confirm that it's free of bed bugs.
What to Do if You Find Bed Bugs in a Hotel?
Discovering bed bugs in a hotel room can be distressing. However, it's essential to take immediate action to prevent bringing them home with you.
Do not unpack: Prevent bed bugs from infesting your belongings. Refrain from placing your clothes in the closets or drawers.
Document evidence: Safeguard your well-being and present evidence to the hotel management when required.
Contact the hotel management: Inform the front desk or housekeeping departments immediately about the bed bug infestation in the hotel room.
Request a new room: Asked to be moved to a new room away from the bed bug infested room, preferably at another level.
Inspect your belongings: Carefully check your items for any signs of bed bugs.
Bed bug infestations can happen even in well-maintained hotels. Hence, staying vigilant by inspecting rooms upon check-in and taking prompt action upon discovery of bed bugs is crucial.
Professional Bed Bug Control and Inspection Plan for Travellers
Prevention and early detection are crucial in managing bed bug infestations. Regularly inspecting your sleeping and resting areas, as well as taking precautions when travelling, can help reduce the risk of bringing bed bugs home.
If you have concerns about bed bugs after travelling, keep a close eye on your living spaces for any signs of infestation, and consider consulting with a pest control professional for further guidance. At Bingo Pest, we offer various bed bug control treatment options that not only eliminate live bed bugs, but also bed bug eggs. Contact us today at 6517 9989 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free consultation and learn how we can help you protect your home against bed bug infestations.