Spring break is upon us, and if you’re planning a vacation, then it’s important to do your homework ahead of time so you don’t end up bringing any little hitchhikers home with you. Of course, when we say “hitchhikers,” we mean bed bugs. As your NJ bed bug exterminator, we almost always get a surge of bed bug calls once spring break ends, so here are a few things you need to know.
Avoiding Bed Bugs When You Travel
There’s nothing worse than finding out your hotel has bed bugs. However, you can avoid them by taking a few precautions, such as:
Checking hotel reviews for any recent reports of these pests.
Spraying your luggage with a bed bug control spray before you pack for your trip.
Upon arrival, put your luggage in the bathroom while you inspect the room.
Check the mattress, sheets, pillowcases, bed frame and dresser drawers for signs of bed bugs.
If you do find signs of bed bugs, ask for a different room, or leave and go to a different hotel altogether.
What to do if Bed Bugs do Hitch a Ride Home With You
Unfortunately, sometimes even if you’re really careful, you can still bring bed bugs home with you. If this is the case, your NJ bed bug exterminator can help you get rid of them. Don’t lose sleep over bed bugs! Contact us at Stern Environmental instead!
Photos and sandy shoes aren’t the only things you might bring home from Spring Break. Bed bugs may hitch a ride on your luggage. Today we continue our March 19 post on how to get rid of the pesky little buggers.
Anything that can be cleaned in a washing machine or tumbled in a dryer — clothes, backpacks, tennis shoes, etc. — should be washed and dried on the hottest settings possible. For other items, follow these tips:
Hand wash items in hot (100-120 degrees), soapy water. Use a scrub brush on seams and folds.
Items that cannot be washed should be sealed in plastic and treated with extreme heat or cold. A minimum of two hours at 120 degrees or 2 weeks in a typical home freezer at 20 to 30 degrees is recommended.
Vacuum suitcases and store away from the bedroom.
Tightly seal and dispose of plastic bags used to hold buggy items in outdoor trash.
To make sure you didn’t miss any, check bed sheets daily for signs of bed bugs.
It’s your worst nightmare. Your collegiate returns home from spring break and brings home more than dirty clothes and sand in his pockets. If you’re worried that bed bugs might have hitched a ride home in his luggage, follow these steps to keep the little buggers out of your home:
Don’t unpack suitcases on the bed or in the bedroom. Unpack in the garage, laundry room or over the bathtub so you can see and kill any bugs. Look for signs of bed bugs (live bugs, cast skins and dark fecal spots) on luggage and backpack seams and zippers. Check each item as you unpack it.
If you suspect bed bugs, place items in tightly closed plastic trash bags.
Sort clothes into washer loads and bag as you unpack. Wash clothes immediately in hot water and dry in a hot dryer to kill bed bugs and eggs. Soft-sided luggage and tennis shoes can be tumbled in a hot dryer.
Send your kid to the showers immediately. Have him undress in a non-carpeted area and place all clothing in a sealed plastic bag for washing. Wipe a wet cloth over the floor to pick up stray bugs.
Keep drycleanables in plastic bags and inform the cleaners so items stay bagged until they’re put into the machines.
Spring break is coming and many families and students will be traveling. Bed bug infestations have been increasingly reported at hotels, resorts, cruise ships and hostels across the country. Bed bugs carried in by one traveler infest a hotel room and go home with the next guest. You can even pick up the noxious pests on airplanes, trains, buses and taxis if you’re unlucky enough to take a seat recently vacated by an infested person.
Adept hitchhikers, bed bugs are easily transported, usually unwittingly. “Specifically, what they are looking for is a small, enclosed, tightly packed place. They like little nooks and crannies and crevices. That’s where they like to hide, and areas inside of people’s suitcases often form that kind of a perfect environment,” Bill Frank, an epidemiologist with the Arizona Department of Health Services, told CBS News in Phoenix.
Bed bugs are one souvenir you don’t want to bring home from your spring vacation. Follow these tips to keep your spring break bed bug-free:
Inspect mattresses thoroughly for dark dots and smears at seams and welts.
Check sheets for tiny brown or reddish dots.
Look for brown spots around electrical outlets.
Look for rust-colored stains behind headboards.
Keep suitcases on a rack and wrap in large trashbags.