by Ed White
As much as you might enjoy traveling, the last thing you want to bring back in your luggage is bedbugs. Unfortunately, it happens far more often than most people realize. Although they’re not known to carry life-threatening diseases, they can be a disgusting and costly nuisance to exterminate. Here are some tips on how to spot these creepy pests and avoid an infestation.
1.) Know What They Look Like
Bedbugs have flat, oval bodies that measure up to 1/4-inch in length. Although their color is usually reddish-brown, they may appear whitish after molting. Baby bedbugs are very hard to see and you’re unlikely to see any bedbugs at all (including the adults) during the daylight hours, since they’re usually hiding. You may be able to find them at night, with a flashlight.
2.) Know Where to Find Them
Bedbugs are most common in buildings where there are many occupants, such as hotels and college dormitories. They tend to hide out in the areas where people sleep, more than anywhere else. Because of their flat shape, it easier for them to hide out in cracks and crevices. Bedbugs also like to stay where it’s warm and have been known to hide inside laptops and other portable electronic devices, making it even easier for them to migrate to other rooms.
3.) Check for Signs
If you come across small, dark brown or black dots on your mattress or sheets, it’s most likely their feces. Pull back all the bedding and take a really good look. Keep this in mind if you’re sleeping in a hotel or on any unfamiliar bed. If you notice a smell that reminds you of cilantro or coriander, this may be a sign of a heavily-infested area. Remember to inspect all around the headboard and box springs. If you find any signs whatsoever, alert the hotel and get a different room. Don’t forget to check that one, as well!
4.) Isolate Your Luggage
Keep all your clothing in your bags and off of the floor. If possible, place your bag on top of a stand, rather than on the bed or any of the furniture. Consider bringing some plastic bags in your luggage to keep your clothes and other items sealed-off. There are also disposable luggage protectors that you can use to enclose your suitcases.
5.) Heat Everything When You Get Home
Keep your suitcase in a plastic bag until you’re able to clean it out. When it’s time to unpack, remove your belongings and put them into new bags. Wash your clothing in hot water to kill any bedbugs, before they can escape into your home. The rest of your belongings should be thoroughly vacuumed and wiped down with rubbing alcohol.
Remember that when it comes to bedbugs, you can never be too cautious. Once your home is infested, ridding yourself of them can cost thousands of dollars. “Do-it-yourself” extermination kits are cheaper, but often ineffective. This will only add to the cost of getting it done right. It’s much cheaper to avoid an infestation in the first place, by taking the necessary precautions.