Warning on mattress bugs – and how you can test your room

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Warning on bed bugs – and how to check your room

When you check into a hotel, the cleanliness of your room should probably be at the top of your checklist.

This includes searching for bed bugs that bite people mercilessly and then hitchhiking back to your own four walls.

Unfortunately, these pests can be found in most hotels around the world. They don’t differentiate between a 5 star hotel and a cheap motel with few facilities.

Bed bugs are nocturnal, so they are more likely to be out and about in search of their prey

Travel experts recommend before you unpack your bags or lay down on your bed, turn off the lights, close all blinds and use your phone’s flashlight. Leave your suitcase in the bathroom as this is the safest place for it. Bed bugs are least likely to hide in a bathroom.

Then check under the bed and in all dark nooks and crannies of the room, as bed bugs like to live in “nooks and crannies” in bedding.

Pull back the sheets and examine the mattress seams, particularly at the corners, for peppery spots or stains, or even the bugs themselves. Adult bed bugs resemble flat apple seeds.

Look behind the headboard, in couch and chair cushions, behind picture frames, and around electrical outlets.

If you see anything suspicious, notify management and change rooms or facilities immediately.

If you need to move rooms, make sure you do not move to a room next to and/or directly above/below the suspected infestation. Bed bugs can easily hitchhike over household carts, luggage, and even through electrical outlets. When an infestation spreads, it usually does so in the rooms closest to the source.

Even if you find your room free of bed bugs, you should place your suitcase in a plastic trash bag or protective cover for the duration of your trip to ensure bed bugs are not present before you leave.

If you think you’ve contracted bed bugs when I get home:

Check your suitcases before bringing them indoors.

Thoroughly vacuum your suitcase before putting it away. Consider steaming your luggage with a handheld steamer, which can kill any bed bugs or eggs that may have caused a trip home.

Wash and dry all your clothes – even those you haven’t worn – on hot temperatures to ensure bed bugs that may have made it this far don’t get into your drawers/closets.

Store clothing items that require dry cleaning in a plastic bag and take them to the dry cleaners as soon as possible.

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