Preventing Holiday Bed Bug Infestations for Greater-DC Homes
Every time we leave our homes, there are risks involved. For most dangers, we simply don't think about them. There is no sense dwelling on things we have no control over. Some dangers are manageable, so we devote little effort thinking about them, and simply alter our behavior slightly to reduce the risk. Some dangers are so great, we do everything we can do to avoid going to certain places or doing certain things out of fear. Bed bugs should fall somewhere in the middle. While these pests are definitely a nightmare when they are discovered, fear should never dictate how we handle the risk of getting bed bugs. If you've always wanted to visit the Grand Canyon, don't let bed bugs stop you. If a beach vacation is just the thing to lift your spirits, go for it. While bed bugs are popping up more and more, and there is hardly any place you can go where these bugs don't live, there are ways you can alter your behavior slightly to reduce the risk of picking them up and bringing them home with you.
We live in an amazing time in history where it is possible to find out what other people think of the place we'll be staying and, on most review sites, it is possible to do a search for keywords like bed bugs. There are even sites dedicated to bed bugs specifically. Before you travel, take a peek at bedbugregistry.com and find out if anyone has posted a complaint about bed bugs where you are planning to stay. But, bear these two things in mind:
One bed bug report should not keep you from staying somewhere. Bed bugs can pop up in 5-star accommodations and in the cleanest environments. If a bed bug report was filed, it is quite possible that the issue was taken care of. What you should be looking for is the number of reports made, and how the guests were treated when bed bugs were found.
Bed bugs are not usually a widespread issue. When bed bugs are found in one room, it is acceptable to allow management to give you another room, complimentary, as long as that room is not above, below, or adjacent to the infested room. If you see this mentioned in a review, it is important to understand that this is okay. In fact, it is great. It shows that the establishment cares about the comfort of their guests.
It may seem strange, but it is always good to ask about bed bugs when you call to make a reservation. A business that has a bed bug plan will be able to easily explain that they have ongoing bed bug inspections by human inspectors or K9 inspectors, and that bed bugs are immediately treated for when they are found. These bugs are not like other pests. Regular pest control measures do not control them. Inspection and direct pest protocols are the only way to properly control them. If the person on the phone doesn't know how the bed bugs are treated, they should at least know what measures will be taken if you find bed bugs in your room. This is a pretty good indication that they have some kind of ongoing bed bug control being implemented.
The last thing you probably want to do, when you get to your room, is to do an inspection for bed bugs but, when a quick inspection could save you from waking up with red welts all over your body and from bringing these blood eating pests home, it is totally worth the short time it takes to do it.
What to check: Mattress seams, box spring seams, the underside of the box spring, bedding, sheets, pillowcases, baseboards, outlet covers, upholstered furniture.
What to look for: Tiny black droppings, black streaks, black patches, brown stains, insect skins, tiny white eggs, tiny six-legged bugs, or a combination of these.
What to do if you find anything: contact management and see about being moved to another room.
The simple rule of thumb is to keep your clothing elevated and protected. Consider using plastic bags to store your luggage in, so bed bugs can't get into them. When you take your luggage out, use the luggage rack that is provided, or put your luggage on a table. Never leave clothing on the floor or draped over a chair. Make use of plastic bags for items that you'll be wearing again, or keep these items elevated.
Wash and dry all of your clothes and bedding on the hottest temperature. Heat kills bed bugs in all stages of development. If any eggs were laid in your clothing, this step could save you from a nightmare.
If you find a bed bug infestation in your home, call a professional pest control company like American Pest. We protect homes and businesses from bed bug infestations. Reach out to us to learn more about our bed bug control programs.
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