Don’t let bed bugs spoil your summer vacation. When you get to your destination, before you even take your luggage out of the car, inspect your room. If you arrive by taxi or hired car, keep your luggage tightly closed and place it in the middle of the floor away from furniture or walls where bed bugs may harbor. If you’re traveling with the family, limit potential exposure by having the children wait in the car or lobby while you inspect the room.
How to Have a Bed Bug-Free Vacation
Scouting the Enemy
What to Do When You Arrive at Your Destination
- Know your enemy. Here’s what to look for:
Shed skins – Like snakes, bed bugs shed their skins as they grow, so look for tiny, dry husks.
Spotting – Black dots indicate fecal spotting.
Live bugs – Bed bugs are small, flat oval bugs about the size of a pencil eraser when full-grown. Color is light brown when young, turning dark brown with maturation.
- Muster the troops. You don’t want to injure yourself or damage the property, so enlist the management’s aid in inspecting mattresses and moving furniture away from the wall.
- Inspection. Grab the disposable gloves and flashlight you packed and give the room a thorough inspection.
1. First take a look at the walls, particularly near door frames and air vents. When a room becomes heavily infested, bed bugs will seek to expand their territory, congregating in these areas.
2. Bed bugs like to hide in cracks and crevices so check the baseboards behind the bed, dresser and nightstand. Completely remove and look inside and underneath drawers.
3. Remove bed linens and inspect the mattress, particularly along seams, rolled edges, handles and tags.
4. Check behind the headboard and anywhere the mattress abuts the wall.
5. Check dust ruffle seams.
6. Look underneath the mattress and at the box springs, especially where the dust cloth is stapled to the frame and around plastic corner guards.
7. Check all furniture and objects in the room, particularly in cracks,crevices and undisturbed places.
If the room passes muster, you’re likely to have a bed bug-free vacation. However, in early stages, bed bugs are so tiny, you may not be able to detect their presence. You may want to take a few extra precautions:
- Keep your possessions in your suitcase and keep it closed and zipped as much as possible.
- Keep your luggage off the bed, away from walls and off luggage racks.
- A glass table with metal legs is the safest place for your possessions.
- Push the shower curtain to the side and hang clothing in the middle of the rod.
Next time: Moving out: Packing tips for coming home.