During Bed Bug Awareness Week, the National Pest Management Industry works hard to educate the public on the threat of bed bugs. Bed bugs can be unknowingly picked up just about everywhere and so Part 2 of our Bed Bug Awareness series focuses on the advice of Sun Tzu to Plan Carefully, because preventing an infestation in the first place is your best course of action.
Many routine activities put us at high risk of encountering this dangerous foe, the bed bug. Riding public transportation, going to a movie theatre, having a child return from college or a boarding school and even just living in a multi-family housing unit can put us at high risk for an invasion of bed bugs. But, an overnight stay in a hotel is probably one of the most common ways that you can pick up and then introduce bed bugs into your home. As Sun Tzu suggests in the Art of War, Laying Plans is a critical step to winning the war. Plan ahead before you travel with these five steps to prevent bringing home bed bugs on your next trip:
- Fully inspect your hotel room before moving in. Don’t unpack, in fact, we suggest placing your luggage and personal belongings into the bath tub until you perform an inspection. The bath tub is a very unhospitable place for bed bugs so it will be safe there. Unfortunately, all hotels are vulnerable to a bed bug infestation so plan well to protect yourself when traveling. Bring along a good flashlight and utilize our inspection key shown above to inspect for evidence of bed bugs. If you find bed bugs, immediately request a new hotel room.
- Before leaving the hotel, inspect your luggage and clothing carefully. Remember, bed bugs are excellent hitchhikers and will hide themselves inside of your belongings and return home with you.
- Upon returning home wash and dry all clothing that you brought along on your trip at the highest temperature possible to kill bed bugs in all stages.
- Do not return your luggage to your bedroom. Leave the luggage in your garage or some other area of your home far from your sleeping area.
- Do regular checks of your sheets, mattress and box spring when changing your bedding. Catching a bed bug infestation early is the key to quick control and minimizing the pain and great expense that goes along with an infestation.
A bonus tip for travelers: monitor your luggage for bed bugs before and after traveling to ensure you uncover the enemy, the bed bug. Catchmaster suggests placing several Slider Bed Bug & Insect Monitors inside of your luggage to detect the presence of bed bugs. Incorporating a monitor into your luggage can give you added protection as well as peace of mind that you are taking precautions against bed bugs.