Bed bugs are a problem year-round but summer travel puts more South Carolina residents at risk. With students coming home from college for the summer, kids spending the night with friends, add in vacation travel with the family and you have a recipe for bed bug infestation.
Follow the tips on this page and you will lower your chances of picking up bed bugs while you enjoy your summer vacation.
Do hotels really get bed bugs?
Hotels do a lot to keep their rooms pest free. Unfortunately, there is no way they can completely prevent someone from transferring bed bugs into their establishment. It only takes one bed bug to cause you a world of headaches. You may not even notice you have a bed bug problem before it gets really bad. A single bed bug can lay up to 250 eggs in their lifetime and the typical lifespan of a bed bug is 4 – 6 months. What’s worse is bed bug eggs only take between 6 and 10 days to hatch.
What should I look for in my hotel room?
- When you first get to your room put your bags and belongings in the bathroom. That is the least likely place a bed bug would be.
- Remove the sheets and inspect the mattress carefully. Especially pay attention to the seams and corners. Look for blood stains, pepper-like stains, as well as actual bed bugs. Bed bugs are about the size and shape of an apple seed.
- Check headboards, bed frames (especially where two pieces of wood or metal join and create a seam. Check screw holes, these make great hiding places for bed bugs.
- Look behind picture frames on the wall as well as around electrical outlets.
I think I found signs of bed bugs what do I do now?
So you found a bed bug or signs of bed bugs, now you should take this information and notify management. Request a change of room or hotels. If you decide to remain at the hotel and just change rooms, make sure you don’t stay in a room that adjoins the one you found bed bug activity in. Bed bugs can easily pass under baseboards and through power sockets to get from one room to another.
I think I'm safe I didn't find any signs.
Even if you think everything is OK and you haven’t seen any signs of bed bugs, consider keeping your luggage in the bathroom. Use a large trash bag and place your luggage inside of it. Keep it sealed except when you need to get something out of it. Don’t just lay dirty clothing in a pile on the floor. Put worn or dirty clothing in a separate trash bag and keep it sealed.
Now that you're heading home what should you do?
- Before going into your home inspect your suitcases and bags thoroughly for signs of bed bugs.
- Remove all clothing items and place them directly in a plastic trash bag and take them straight to the wash.
- Wash and dry them on high heat. This will kill adult bed bugs as well as the eggs.
- Vacuum your luggage thoroughly and use a garment steamer on the outside and inside to kill bed bugs and eggs. If you don’t have a garment steamer you can use alcohol in a spray bottle to spray the luggage inside and out. A 91 percent solution of isopropyl alcohol will kill bed bugs on contact.
I've done everything you said to do. How will I know if I missed one?
Even after taking all these precautions it’s still possible to have missed a bed bug. You may not notice anything right away. Things to look for after returning from a trip. Monitor bedding for any drops or smears of blood. Watch for any dark or black pepper-like staining. Look for whelps or itchy rash-like areas on you or your family members. Bed bugs tend to feed in one area so it’s possible to see multiple bites in a small group or line.
If you do find bed bugs or signs of bed bugs the important thing is not to panic and don’t wait for it to get worse. Luckily bed bugs do not carry or transmit diseases to humans. At first sign of bed bug activity call a professional. The sooner you get a professional on the job the faster your problem will go away. There are several types of bed bug treatment methods but we consider bed bug heat treatments to be the best option. Heat treatments kill all bed bug adults, eggs and all stages between. Like us, many pest control services offer payment plans as well as different types of treatments. Just make sure you do your research and check reviews. If the company takes care of its customers you’ll know right away.