"Good night... Sleep tight... Don't let the bedbugs bite!! "
Bedbugs are small nocturnal insects about 5 to 7 mm in length who feed themselves on the blood of mammals and birds. Bed bug infestations are most likely to be found in bed linen, mattresses, and clothes where it is dark and warm. Bed bugs often spread by individuals who travel and stay at low-budget hostels or accommodation and take them with themselves in their luggage or on their clothing.
However, there are a few bed bug signs that can help you spot them and combat the situation.
- When you find small black spots on the hostel mattress or bedding, these may be dried bed bug feces
- If you find patches of blood smear on your bed sheets.
- If you notice some empty shells on your sheets, which appear mottled, then these are possibly bed bug exoskeletons, shed by them.
Well, no matter what, we must always take precautions and to learn how to protect ourselves from bed bugs while traveling. Always have a thorough research on the possible sights of infestation while planning your travel. Make sure you check for bed bugs in hotels or hostels or Airbnb's you stay in, and prevent you from bringing them home when you get back.
Do thorough research on hotels during travel planning
- If you're planning to stay in a hotel, contact the hotel and ask about recent bed bug infestations. Ask how did they manage the infestation if there was one and the dates when the most recent event occurred. You can browse the internet to find this information on travel websites and online bed bug registries where travelers report infestations at hotels. Also look for alternate hotels nearby to use as back-ups in case you find bed bugs after you check-in.
- You can Include luggage travel sheets, sealable laundry bags and encased pillows with your luggage. Liners and bags will protect your clothes. Encased pillows can be used in lieu of pillows provided by airlines and hotels.
Detect bed bugs as you travel
Before you use the hotel sheets for sleeping, look for live bed bugs or for their skin shedding. Also, do check for brown or red stains that could be blood or fecal matter left by bed bugs after feeding.
- Place your luggage on a luggage rack that you inspect for bed bugs first in your hotel room. If a luggage rack is not available, place it on a hard, light colored surface such as the bathroom floor or in the bathtub so you can see bed bugs if they appear.
- Bed bugs are nocturnal insects, so keep the room dark and use a flashlight to check the bed. Or, pull back the bed sheets and inspect the seams of the mattresses and pillows. Look for shedded skins, droppings, blood stains and live bugs on sheets, comforters, pillow cases, etc.
- Also, lift the bedding mattress to check the box spring. Lift the box spring and check underneath it.
- Check the top of the frame and underneath.
- Look up behind the headboard and check for any cracks where bed bugs can hide.
- You should also check the curtains, any other upholstered furniture in the room such as a couch or chair, as well cracks in the walls, and pictures frames.
- If you spot bed bugs, ask for another room immediately. If another room cannot be provided, check in to a hotel that you researched during your trip planning.
- Before you check out the hotel, check the room once again for signs of bed bugs. Check all of your luggage and clothes for bed bugs.
Tips to prevent infestation when you return home
- Before you enter your house, unpack your luggage outside of the house or load your clothes directly into the washing machine.
- Wash all your clothes from your luggage immediately, including those you did not wear.
- Also, vacuum out all luggage and bags, including the seams, crevices and compartments.
- Make sure you seal the luggage in bags and store them in an outside storage or garage or in a closet separate from your clothes inside your residence.
- The best way to avoid bugs entering your home is to keep your luggage in hot sun outdoors. You must ensure that all cloth bags and liners are well exposed to heat and sunlight.
- Do not forget to write a review on hotels in the event that you notice bugs.
- Be cautious to look for bite marks on your body that might give you clues on this matter, although they can be from mosquito bites if you are visiting tropical regions.
- Always remember to carry your travel sheets, creams and medicine in case you get bitten by bedbug.