How to Prevent Bed Bugs from Coming Home with You

Have you forgotten all about bed bugs… that tiny, biting nuisance encountered when traveling? Contrary to popular thinking, bed bugs did not die out during the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, bed bugs went into a “sleeping beauty-like” slumber. Now, with more people feeling confident about traveling out of state and using hotels for business and pleasure, bed bugs are ready for their wake-up call. This is the Houseman Services guide on how you can prevent and address bed bug problems during and after your vacation or business trip.

Bed Bugs…They Still Exist!

Reports of bed bug problems dropped significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic year. This is because most of the world stayed home and we implemented heightened cleaning and hygiene practices just about everywhere, from the house and office to mass transit and hotels. Now, in 2021, vaccinations are available and changes to virus mitigation practices across the country will allow people to travel farther and gather in groups outside of their own household. Don’t wait for the bed bugs to bite… Read on for the best practices to help you keep bed bugs from ruining travel plans or coming home with you from a trip.

Bed Bug Prevention Tips for Travelers

The blood sucking bed bug typically hides among sheets and pillows, but can be just as at home in carpets, luggage, and even in a child’s plush toys. You become aware of their presence when you wake from a restful sleep to find the tell-tale little red bites running in dotted streaks along your belly…or an arm, or a leg.

In this time following the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, be sure to take precautions against unknowingly sleeping with and transporting bed bugs. The National Pest Management Association recommends the following steps to take when traveling:

1. Upon entering a hotel room or a vacation rental:

  • DO put your suitcase on a tiled floor or on a counter
  • AVOID placing your belongings on a carpeted floor or on the bed
  • Instruct the kids to avoid immediately jumping on the bed or couch
  • Inspect the entire room or rooms you will be staying in. Keep your shoes on as you move through the space.

2. Use a bright flashlight to illuminate bed bugs as you check the following areas:

  • Behind the headboard, under lamps, inside dressers, drawers,
  • Along and between sofa cushions
  • Pull back the bed sheets and inspect the mattress seams, particularly at the corners, for stains or spots.

3. If you see anything suspicious:

  • Immediately report your findings to management. Take pictures if that will help.
  • Request to change rooms or establishments. Don’t stay in an adjacent room.

Key Signs That Bed Bugs are Sleeping in Your Room

  • Live bugs, reddish-brown in color and about the size of a pencil eraser
  • Dark tiny dots on your bedding and mattress
  • Red stains on your bedding from bugs that may have been crushed
  • Small, light yellow eggs, shells, or small light yellow shed skins

If the room looks clear, here’s what to do with your belongings:

  • Keep luggage in plastic bags or on the tiled floor for the duration of your stay.
  • Keep children’s toys in plastic bags in a drawer when not in use.

When you arrive home from traveling:

  • Inspect suitcases outside your house or in the garage after returning from vacation. Do not bring the suitcase into your home until after you’ve inspected things.
  • Put all clothing and plush toys into the wash immediately. (even if you think they’re clean)

If you suspect that you have brought bed bugs home:

If you bring bed bugs home from a trip, they can quickly make your life at home miserable.The best thing to do is to contact Houseman Services to deploy a pest control professional to properly evaluate and initiate steps to eradicate the pest problem.

So, You’ve Brought Bed Bugs Home from Vacation…

Once you’ve confirmed the bed bugs are now in your home, you’ll have to do a few things in addition to hiring the pest control service to handle the treatment of the house.

1. Vacuum bed bug hiding spots including:

  • Bedding
  • Couches
  • Pillows
  • Upholstery
  • Busses
  • Airplanes
  • Clothing
  • Luggage
  • Purses
  • Backpacks
  • Stuffed /plush toys

2. After vacuuming, dispose of the vacuum bag or canister contents in a plastic bag, seal it and place it in the trash outside. Disinfect and clean out your vacuum.

3. Run a hot wash: Any bed sheets or other linens and fabric items that were exposed to the bugs will need to be placed in tied plastic bags until they can be washed. Wash everything on the highest heat possible in both the washer and the dryer. Anything that can’t go in the washing machine should be put in the dryer at high heat for around 30-40 minutes to kill any residual bugs.

You may need to throw out bed sheets or comforters. Your Houseman Services pest control professional will clarify the items you can keep and treat and what you should discard.

4. What about infested furniture? If you have furniture pieces that cannot be cleaned, you’ll need to get rid of them. Mark them for bed bugs so no one grabs the pieces off your curb.

There may be other items in the home, such as toys, books, area rugs, throw pillows or decorative fabrics that can’t be treated or saved. Discuss these items with your pest control professional. Don’t assume you can keep things just because they weren’t in the room where you found the bed bugs.

What to Know About Bed Bug Bites

Bed bugs typically bite in rows along the skin. As they bite, they draw blood in a painless way, typically while you are asleep. While feeding, they inject a small amount of saliva into the host’s skin. These bugs do not transfer blood-borne diseases through their bite, but the bite can cause a serious allergic reaction for some people. Such a reaction can appear immediately or within a few days. Sometimes a reaction may take as much as 14 days to appear visible–raised and red on the surface of the skin. If you gave redness or swelling that does not resolve, seek immediate medical attention.

Call Georgia’s Bed Bug Extermination Professionals

Houseman Services has a team of pest control experts who are highly trained at bed bug eradication. If you’ve brought bed bugs into your home from a business trip or vacation, we’ll help you get them gone for good!

Gene Houseman founded Houseman Pest Control Co. Inc. in his hometown of Watkinsville, GA. His goal was to provide safe and effective pest control to homes and businesses in Northeast Georgia. As a single father, Gene launched his company, now known as Houseman Services, to provide a great life for his children. His children are not part of the company along with a team of top tier professionals in pest control, home services, lawn services and much more. Call us today and see for yourself why Houseman Services is so highly recommended and highly regarded by our long-term customers. Call us today at 706-769-7826 or email us with any questions or concerns about a project at your home or business.

RESOURCES

More Than You Ever Wanted to Know About Bed Bugs from Pest World

Bed Bugs Shied Away with Less Pandemic Travel. They are NOT Gone

American Academy of Dermatology Bed Bug Treatment

Environmental Protection Agency Bed Bug Identification