The holidays have come and gone once again. For many, the holidays involve traveling to spend time with loved ones, which may mean staying in hotels or home rentals. In the midst of all the holiday guests, some may have the unfortunate experience of bringing home unwelcomed guests. Bed bugs are known to “hitch a ride” by making themselves at home in suitcases, purses, clothes, and even in the nooks of technology like laptops and cell phones. If you traveled for the holidays, check out some tips on how to make sure you didn’t bring home any sneaky holiday bedbugs.
What do Bedbugs Look Like?
One of the first steps to staying on the lookout for bedbugs is – you guessed it – familiarizing yourself with how they look. Many describe bedbugs as physically similar to a tick. Bedbugs are small, measuring roughly one-quarter to three-eighths of an inch or about five-to-nine millimeters long. They are wingless and have a brownish color, which changes to a purplish red color after they have finished feeding on blood. They have an oval shape.
Checking for Bedbugs
As indicated by their name, the bed is a favorite hiding place for bedbugs. When examining for bedbugs, be sure to check all the nooks and crannies in the mattress after examining and stripping the sheets. Use a flashlight and an old credit card. Insert the credit card along the seams and folds of the mattress and shine the flashlight to provide a better view of any creepy crawlies. Check all buttons, tags, and straps as well. Move the bed away from the wall and check the underside of the frame.
Checking Other Areas
Don’t let the name fool you – bedbugs can hide just about anywhere. After you’ve given your bed a thorough examination, check other areas like furniture, nightstands and bed tables, dresser drawers, toys, clothing, and pet beds. They prefer anywhere with fabric or upholstery, so they may even be hiding in the carpet. Use the same technique with the credit card and flashlight.
Bedbug Travel Tips
There are also some preventative tips that everyone should keep in mind for when they’re traveling. By taking some precautions and examining lodging in advance, you’ll be one step closer to keeping your home and belongings free of lingering holiday bedbugs.
Follow these tips next time you’re traveling:
- When you first arrive into your hotel room, keep luggage in the sink or on an elevated rack away from walls and furniture while you check for bedbugs
- If possible, store as much as possible in clear plastic baggies so that your belongings are always protected from bedbugs
- When applicable, travel with hard shell suitcases that have latches instead of zippers, as these suitcases are much harder to hide in than soft-sided cases with zippers