Families often return home from their epic road trips with souvenirs, but bed bugs shouldn't be one of them! Bed bugs have been on the rise for the last couple of decades and they're like the ultimate hitchhikers, going from beds to luggage to cars and then home with you.
Bed bugs won't kill you - they'll just bite you, suck your blood and leave you with itchy bumps or a rash. But they are a huge hassle to get rid of once you have them. The best way to get rid of bed bugs is to avoid them in the first place.
Bed bugs love upholstery, which means that your car could provide a comfy place for bed bugs to hang out. If you're ruggedly camping your way through the back country, bed bugs aren't going to be a top concern. But if, like me, you prefer to stay at hotels and motels on your road trips, it's good to take a few minutes after checking in to check out the room for these critters.
Here are a few ways to avoid taking bed bugs with you on this summer's road trip.
Check out your hotel on the Bed Bug Registry. If you know where you're stopping in advance, visit the Bed Bug Registry to look up your chosen hotel and see if any bed bugs have been reported there.
Check the bed. They're called bed bugs for a reason. Check for them by pulling the sheets off the corners of the mattress and carefully inspecting the mattress seams, boxsprings and the mattress tag for bugs, little black granules (bug droppings) or small bloodstains.
Check nearby areas. Do a sweep of the furniture near the bed (bedside table, dressers) as well as any upholstered furniture.
Don't put your luggage on the bed. Even if you don't see any bed bug evidence, you'll minimize the chances of taking bed bugs home with you by keeping your luggage bug-free. When you're unpacking, put your luggage on the luggage rack or, if there isn't one, try to keep the luggage on a tiled surface (like in the bathroom). A bed bug paranoid friend of mine always brings a garbage bag to wrap his luggage in when he's not using it - not a bad idea to bring one with you if you're staying in unfamiliar hotels.
If you find bed bug evidence, request another room - or leave altogether. If there are bed bugs in one room, that doesn't mean they're in EVERY room - but make sure to perform the same check in your new room, whether you stay at the hotel or drive off to find another.
Check the morning after. Check the sheets for tiny bloodstains in the morning to see if bed bugs made a feast of you the night before. When you're packing your luggage, be sure to inspect any items of clothing that had contact with the bed (like pyjamas). Again, my bed bug hating friend keeps his pj's in a separate bag from the rest of his clothes and washes them on hot when he gets home.
If you are concerned that you've brought the bugs home, vacuum your car and luggage thoroughly. Wash anything that can be washed in hot water and dry it in the dryer for at least 30 minutes on the highest setting possible.
Do you have any tips to avoid bedbugs on the road this summer? Leave them in the comments!
- Rose R.