Here are eight travel-ready products to keep you and your belongings safe from bed bugs.
One of the last things someone wants to see after walking into a hotel room is a creepy, crawling bug – or to wake up with bug bites.
Bed bugs are tiny insects about the size of an apple seed. Adult bugs are oval, reddish brown, and flat. Younger ones can be hard to see because they’re so small.
And there’s a reason they’re called bed bugs: They like to lurk during the day, where people sleep and feed on them at night (bed bugs feed on both human and animal blood). The insects can be found in a variety of places, from mattresses to bedding, cracks in furniture to carpeting, and much more.
Bugs are found around the world, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and do not reflect the cleanliness of an accommodation (so even a five-star hotel can have bugs). They do not spread disease and are not considered dangerous either, but allergic reactions to bites may require a visit to a doctor.
The bites look like mosquito or flea bites, with a swollen, red patch that can itch or injure. They could be presented both randomly and in a straight line. Some people may not react negatively to the bites, while others may notice swelling.
One of the last things someone wants to see after walking into a hotel room is a creepy, crawling bug – or to wake up with bug bites. (Photo: Carolyn Kaster, AP)
How do I look for bed bugs in my hotel room?
Make this a priority.
The University of Minnesota recommends looking at the edges and seams of mattresses and box spring beds as well as the headboard of a bed. You should also check furniture near the bed, cracks in bedside tables, and behind picture frames where bed bugs can hide.
“If you think your hotel bed has bugs, you can either check your bed yourself, look for any small stains or stains of blood on the sheets and take off the bed and look under the mattress seams, or ask the manager to arrange for the housekeeper to do that it for you, “travel blogger Maureen Spencer told USA TODAY. “Take pictures of any evidence you find and ask to be moved.”
There’s no federal bug law, but 21 states have bug laws, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, such as ensuring hotels stay clean and hotels need to eradicate bedbugs before accommodating different guests.
What should I do if I find bed bugs in my hotel room?
Step one: panic! (Was just a joke.)
“The very first thing to do if you come across bed bugs in your hotel room, or if you suspect there are bugs in your room, is to pack your things and keep them as far away from the bug as possible. Infested Places as possible, “said Kristiana Kripena, Marketing Director for Digital and Content at InsectCop.net, to USA TODAY. You want to avoid the bugs coming into your own house with you, she says.
You should of course notify the hotel staff as well, but do your best to keep calm.
“Remember – hotel staff will never want to hear that,” Becca Siegel of travel blog and Instagram @halfhalftravel told USA TODAY. “Actually, it’s the last thing you want to hear because it affects everyone who stays at the hotel, their staff, their bedbug efforts, and also their reviews online. Try to be calm and empathetic.”
Also, keep in mind that what you think is a bug may not be a bug at all.
“I can’t tell you how many times a guest sees and believes a bug near a bed or on a bed,” Victoria Agredo, a hospitality veteran, told USA TODAY. “An untrained eye checking a room for itself really isn’t that helpful. They can find something or panic about nothing.”
If they are indeed bed bugs, make sure you ask to be moved to another room (and not one next to the one you stayed in).
Jordan Bishop, founder of consumer watchdog and travel website Yore Oyster, recommends sealing your clothes and other items in plastic bags and putting them through a hot wash cycle as soon as possible.
You can also use a trash bag and put it in a freezer overnight to get rid of bed bugs. For non-washable items, contact a pest control professional.
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