In the darkness they wait for their host to silently slip into sleep. They crawl from their hiding places, pierce flesh and suck the blood of their victims. Before the prey awakes, they slink away to wait for the next feeding. You might think this is a summary of a vampire novel and that assumption is not far from the truth.
Bedbugs feed exclusively on blood and their numbers are on the rise. Since 2004, calls for infestation removals have increased 71%. Due to the bedbug’s ability to become resistant to chemicals, the cost of eradication is also increasing. If you frequently travel, there is a high risk of bringing the little blood suckers home. Though they don’t transmit disease, their bites can cause rashes and psychological effects. Imagine knowing that each night your blood will be consumed by hundreds of little creatures. That is enough to make the toughest person break.
When you travel, it won’t be enough to say, “Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite.” You should really say, “Good night, sleep tight, and do following to make sure the bedbugs don’t bite:”
· Don’t set your luggage on the bed. Bedbugs are photophobic, meaning that they tend to hide from light. The average suitcase provides numerous hiding places ready for transport. Use the luggage rack provided by the hotel, only if it has metal legs. The metal surface is too slick for bedbugs to climb.
· If the luggage rack is wood don’t use it. Bedbugs can easily climb wooden surfaces. If the motel only provides a wooden luggage rack, store your bags inside the tub. It sounds strange, but porcelain is another surface that bedbugs can’t climb. Just make sure to move your luggage before you take a shower.
· Bring a flashlight. Adult bedbugs are small, flat, reddish brown and will hide in dark places. Check the inside corners of the nightstand, along the headboard and the hard undersurfaces of the box springs. Bedbugs are excellent at hiding, so even if you don’t find them they might still be there.
· Read hotel/motel reviews. Bedbug bites are itchy, look like red welts and make people angry. Guest reviews can tell you a lot. If numerous people report bedbugs, it might be a good idea to avoid the hotel.
· Bag up used clothing. Whatever clothing you used to sleep or lounge in, store in a large Ziploc bag. Make sure the seal is tight. When you return home from your trip, transfer the clothing directly into the washer. Hot water and detergent will make a quick end to any bedbugs that thought to find refuge within your clothes.
· Check for blood. It sounds gross, but it’s a good habit to gain. When you wake up, check the sheets and pillow cases for blood spots. As bedbugs feed they defecate. If you find the bloody spots in your bed you know that you have been bitten and the risk for transport increases dramatically.
Taking preventative measures can prevent the transport of bedbugs from your hotel room to your bedroom. Allow the nasty, little bugs to feed on the less wary.