Tips to avoid bringing bed bugs home from a hotel
The tiny, blood-sucking pests are light brown, and the adults are slightly less than a quarter of an inch long. They love to make their homes in mattresses, bedding and furniture. They most often feed on people at night while their victims sleep. The bugs don’t transmit disease, but their bites leave itchy white and red welts. They’re also adept at hitching rides in clothing and suitcases.
The problem is getting worse. A recent survey of pest control operators funded by the National Pest Management Association showed the problem is intensifying, especially in the South.
There’s really nothing available over the counter to tackle the problem because every bug has to be sprayed directly, and no pesticides are very good at killing the eggs, so reinfestation is common.
To help ensure you don’t bring any home from your next stay at a hotel, follow these travel tips:
• Inspect your hotel room when you arrive. Check mattress seams and folds. Look for blood spots the size of a pencil point. Check behind the headboard as well. They can even lurk in a picture frame or in a popcorn ceiling.
• If you see signs of bed bugs, demand another room, and inspect that one as well.
•- In the room, keep your suitcases away from furniture and walls until you finish your inspection. Keep your suitcase closed overnight and inside tightly sealed plastic garbage bags when you’re not using them. Keep your shoes and socks inside the plastic bag while you sleep. Bedbugs are attracted to the odor of feet.
• When packing to leave, check your clothing and luggage for signs of the small insects. Check seams and folds carefully.
• Back at home, immediately wash all your laundry from the trip in hot water, then machine dry on the highest setting for at least 20 minutes. Even if you don’t wash, putting possibly infested items into the dryer on high heat will kill bed bugs. Even dry-cleanable clothing can be put in driers if you don’t wet it first.
Read more at the Seattle Times
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