When you think about going on vacation, chances are good that you're focused on the fun and relaxation that you're about to have. Whether your idea of a good time involves a warm locale and drinks with little umbrellas or bundling up and going skiing, you're sure to come back refreshed and rejuvenated, right? The fact is, you might have an unwelcome homecoming if you end up letting bedbugs hitch a ride home with you. Here's what you need to know about bedbugs, how to avoid getting them, and what to do if you do bring home these unwanted souvenirs.
What Are Bedbugs?
Bedbugs are small insects that tend to live in places like mattresses, box springs and the crevices of bed frames. They can also take up residence in sofas and other upholstered pieces of furniture. While they don't cause illness, they multiply rapidly and bite humans.
If you get bitten by bedbugs, you might not identify the bites as anything other than flea or mosquito bites at first. In some people, they remain a small red dot, while in others, they turn into raised, itchy welts. The only surefire way to identify the bites is to actually find the culprit. You might also find rusty-looking spots on the sheets, mattress or box spring, which might be bedbug excrement.
How Can You Prevent Bedbugs From Getting Into Your Home?
There are a few ways that bedbugs can infiltrate your house or apartment. One common way is for them to become stowaways in your luggage or on your clothing while you are on vacation. If you are staying in a hotel, you cannot ever be sure that there are no bedbugs. Contrary to popular belief, bedbugs are just as likely to live in a nice, expensive hotel as they are to infest a cheaper, dirty motel.
There are a few ways that you can prevent a hotel's bedbug infestation from becoming your problem.
- Check the room for signs of infestation. Look carefully at the mattress (take off the sheet first), especially around the edges. Look for tiny brown stains or exoskeletons that have been shed. If you see any signs of bedbugs, call in the manager immediately and either request a new room or go to a different hotel.
- If you need to use a rollaway bed or a crib, check it as carefully as you check your hotel bed.
- Don't put your luggage on the floor. Keep it on a table or counter in your hotel room.
- Don't throw clothing on the floor, either. Get a plastic bag from the hotel's front desk and keep dirty clothing in it on a high surface.
- Check over your luggage carefully before leaving. Shake out your clothing and use a flashlight to peer into every corner and seam of your suitcase.
- When you get home, wash your clothing in the hottest water safe for that fabric, and dry the pieces on high in the dryer.
You can also check the Bedbug Registry, which is a public website that offers users the opportunity to report their findings of bedbugs in hotels. If you find that your hotel is on this list, inquire as to whether the rooms were treated before you leave home.
What If You Get Bedbugs Even With These Precautions?
Unfortunately, it's still possible that you will bring home bedbugs, despite your careful precautions. The most important thing to keep in mind is that time is of the essence. Bedbugs reproduce quickly, so seeing just a couple of bedbugs does not mean that in a few weeks or months, you won't have a huge problem on your hands!
Do-it-yourself tips for ridding your home of bedbugs are not the most effective measures for eliminating these tenacious and hardy pests. While doing things like sprinkling boric acid in the corners, vacuuming frequently and washing bedding on hot might temporarily slow down the bugs' spread, this issue takes a lot of patience and strong extermination tactics. Call a licensed extermination company like Ace Walco & Sons Termite & Pest Control as soon as possible to eliminate bedbugs entirely.
Try not to let the thought of bedbugs ruin your vacation. They're pests, to be sure, but with some forethought and care, you can greatly reduce your chances of bringing them home with you. Have a good night, sleep tight, and don't -- well, you know the rest.