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 to stay in high-end hotels or to ensure to read visitor reviews may help prevent an unwanted encounter with these blood-sucking pests, a recent survey performed by the National Pest Management Association found roughly 75% of pest control companies treated bed bug infestations in hotels throughout the United States just last year alone.
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 the 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 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.
91% of hospitality facilities are worried about the impact of bed bug infestations.
(The Bantham Group)
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 bedbug-proof luggage 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 more holistic 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 safe 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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