- How do I protect myself from bed bugs when I travel?
How do I protect myself from bed bugs when I travel?
Unfortunately, the incidence of bed bugs is occurring at an increasing rate within the United States. Business travelers, vacationers and multi-family dwelling residents are now at risk to encountering bed bugs. The bed bug threat has spread to include common locations that people might not normally suspect. Industry experts report that bed bugs may be encountered in places such as airplanes, mass transit, health care facilities, all types of hotels, resorts, senior citizen facilities and libraries among other places. Bed bugs are a people problem and not a building problem and are an “equal opportunity infester”.
While there’s no guarantee that you’ll ever encounter bed bugs during business or vacation travel, the following steps may help you avoid bringing bed bugs home with you when you travel:
Before Traveling: There isn't much you can do before traveling. Bed bugs are an “equal opportunity infester” and have been found in everything from five star resorts all the way down to "flea bag" hotels. Checking out one of the many online bed bug reporting sites isn't much use. The content of such websites is reported by the general public and not subject to verification. As such, the information posted may or may not be reliable or timely.
Before Checking In: Some experts advise travelers to ask the front desk attendant if they have ever had a pest problem or if there is an existing pest problem within the hotel. You can ask but, in general, they will answer indicating they do not now or have ever had a bed bug situation at their location. If you do have a concern or suspicion it may be wise to go ahead and ask. Be mindful of how your question is answered.
After Checking In: Enter your room just far enough to close the door behind you. Keep your luggage there or put it in the bathtub. Bed bugs cannot climb smooth surfaces such as glass, smooth plastics, smooth tile, and porcelain.
In The Room: Using a suitable flashlight, check the for signs of bed bugs:
- Around the mattress. Check the bed sheets and along the seams of the mattress. Generally speaking, bed bugs are more likely to be found at the head of the bed than the foot.
- Around the box spring. Check along the seams of the box spring.
- Around and behind the head board. Bed bugs prefer to hide in undisturbed areas. In a hotel, the maid changes the sheets regularly. As such, the mattress become a less desirable hiding place. The head board is close by and seldom disturbed.
- Around the side tables, including the drawers
- Under lamps and phones
- Any surface close to the bed
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