Traveling and Bed Bugs – The Hidden Perils of Exploring the World
June 30, 2022
Bed Bug Outbreak Totals as of May 22, 2022
- 97% of pest control professionals report having treated homes with bed bugs in the past.
- 1 in every 5 households is affected by bed bugs every year, which means the percentage of homes with bed bugs is 20%.
- Chicago is the number one city for bed bugs based on the performed bed bug treatments.
- The most popular places for bed bugs are single-family homes (91%), apartments/condominiums (89%), and hotels (68%).
- Bed bugs are also common in nursing homes (59%), offices (47%), and even hospitals (36%).
- Chances of getting bed bugs from a hotel are high: 74% of professional exterminators have encountered bed bugs in hotels and motels.
- 84% of pest control professionals are typically contacted to deal with different types of pests that turn out to be bed bugs.
- Only 33% of people dealing with bed bugs have reported warning people of their pest problem.
- The biggest bed bug infestation ever was reported in Maryland, US, with thousands of bugs having infested the mattress, the bed frame, and even the curtains and the chairs.
- 188 hotels in New York have at least one review complaining about bed bugs. Many of them are located within a one-mile radius of Times Square.
After a fun-filled vacation or a busy business trip, the notion of a bed bug infestation is likely the last thing on your mind. While you may think staying in high-end hotels or ensuring to read visitor reviews may help prevent an unwanted encounter with these blood-sucking pests, a recent survey performed by the NPMA found roughly 75 percent of pest control companies treated bed bugs infestations in hotels throughout the United States.
Perhaps one of the most common misconceptions regarding bed bugs and traveling is if you stay in a “nice” hotel you don't have to worry about an infestation. This is a myth many subscribe to. The truth is, bed bugs are found in budget-friendly accommodations as well as 5-star luxury resorts. Throughout the past several decades, with a specific genetic evolution occurring that makes bed bugs resistant to popular pesticides, the bed bug population in hotels and motels has steadily increased.
Now, more than ever, proactive measures to prevent the spread of bed bugs are imperative. The following tips should be followed regardless of where you travel or where you stay. Remember, the appearance of bed bugs isn't solely dependent on the hygiene level of an establishment. Therefore, you must eye every hotel, motel, and shared public space as a potential hot spot for bed bugs.
Bed Bugs and Traveling – Effective Tips to Stop Potential Stowaways
Upon Arrival – After you've checked into your hotel and have made your way into the room, immediately place all luggage and personal belongings in the bathroom. Bedbugs are least likely to find homes in the slick surfaces and non-fabric surroundings found in most hotel bathrooms. Leave your belongings in the bathroom until you've thoroughly investigated the room.
Review the Bedding – As its name suggests, bed bugs thrive in beds. Therefore, the most effective tip in protecting yourself against bed bugs is to thoroughly review the bed. Remove the comforter and sheets and inspect the seams and creases throughout the mattress. Pay special attention to the corners of the mattress and along with the bed frame and/or box spring. If you notice any discoloration or blackish spotting, immediately remove your belongings from the room and notify the management.
Check the Room Furniture – Many hotel rooms come with chairs, sofas, and other pieces of furniture. While these are excellent areas to rest after a long day, they are also a common hiding place for bed bugs. Once you've reviewed the bed, closely inspect the cushions, seams, and crevices of all hotel room furniture. Make sure to pull out all dresser drawers. With a flashlight, closely inspect any hidden areas where bed bugs tend to thrive. This is especially important if you plan on placing your clothing within a hotel dresser. For added protection, line the dresser with plastic sheets. In the name of bed bug prevention, it's better to be safe than sorry.
If You Change Rooms – Should evidence of an infestation be found within a hotel room, and you decide to stay within the establishment, do not move to a room that's directly beside, across, above, or below the infested room. Bed bugs easily find their way from one room to another, and should the hotel be experiencing a full infestation, the adjoining rooms are likely also infested.
Disposable Mattress Encasement – Many travelers choose to take a more proactive step in preventing the spread of bed bugs. After thoroughly checking the mattress, covering the mattress with a disposable bed bug encasement is among the most effective ways to stop an infestation. These disposable encasements shield you from bed bugs hiding deep within a mattress by blocking their route to your skin.
Safeguard Your Suitcase – Instead of placing your suitcase on the floor, consider sealing all luggage in resealable plastic trash bags or specialty luggage bed bug cases. This is an extremely important step to prevent bringing home more than memories from your fun-filled vacation.
Read Hotel Reviews – Although reading hotel reviews do not always give a current and accurate description of what you can expect upon arrival, checking several review sites does offer a unique insight. When scanning hotel reviews, keep an eye out for topics regarding bed bugs and other pests. While some reviews are based on truth, it's important to remember with an open review platform, anyone can say anything, which includes lying about the quality of a hotel.
Inquire About Hotel Prevention Plans – Before booking with a hotel, ask to speak with the on-duty manager regarding the hotel bed bug prevention policies. Does the hotel utilize multiple methods of treating bed bugs? Are natural and insecticide methods incorporated? When was the last time bed bugs were reported? Make sure to write all this information down or have the hotel email you with the information. Not only does this provide you with peace of mind, but should you experience a bed bug infestation during your stay, you can utilize this information to ensure a full refund.
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