I consider myself to be a pretty level headed person…… except of course, when it comes to insects. Creepy crawlers and I just do not get along! So as bed bugs began creeping their way into the nightly news as a growing problem in North America, Europe and beyond; I decided it was time I did a little research on how to avoid these little buggers before heading out on my next trip!
First of all, what is a bed bug and how long have they been around? “The term bed bug usually refers to species that prefer to feed on human blood.” Believed to be “largely eradicated as pests in the developed world in the early 1940s, bedbugs have seen a resurgence since about 1995” and not just in flea bag motels.
If you are at all like me, your skin has already begun to crawl; so here are a few tips to help dodge these beasts as you head out on your next adventure!
- First check the Bed Bug Registry. (“The Bed Bug Registry is a free, public database of user-submitted bed bug reports from across the United States and Canada. Founded in 2006, the site has collected about 20,000 reports covering 12,000 locations.”)
- Educate yourself about bed bugs. Know what they look like; learn about their most popular dwelling places, habits and be able to recognize the signs of their presence (dark brown or red spots on bedding, the mattress and other surfaces around the hotel room).
- Upon arriving, leave all personal effects in the car including all luggage, handbags, laptop bags and briefcases etc, until the room has been thoroughly inspected. Bed bugs love to hitch a ride in these items and make their way home to your personal address….yikes!!!
- Check everywhere in the hotel room, not just in the bed; bed bugs can be found in the carpet, furniture, drapery etc. Bed bugs prefer wood and fabric to plastic and metal.
- Even after a thorough inspection it is wise to use a luggage rack, either the hotels or better yet bring your own. Keep your personal items off the floor and bed.
- Always keep your luggage and bags zipped to help prevent the critters from entering your personal gear. Use packing cubes and sacs as additional protection for your clothing, especially if you choose to use the hotel dressers or closets during your stay.
- Change your clothing on a hard surface like the bathroom floor, bed bugs are less likely to be lurking there.
- Upon your return home, thoroughly clean all clothing, luggage, accessories, bags etc. just in case you have a stowaway.
Finally, if you do learn about the presence of bed bugs in any location, be sure to notify the management and the Bed Bug Registry to help prevent the further spread of these horrible little creatures.
Happy and bug free travels from Irv’s Luggage!