Bed Bugs in Hotels & Motels
April 29, 2014
Not much can ruin a family vacation faster than a bed bug infestation. The bite from these pests can produce itchy, uncomfortable welts that can last for weeks. Don’t let bed bugs be one of the souvenirs you bring back from vacation!
What Are Bed Bugs?
Bed bugs are parasites that are fueled by blood. This means they will actively seek out sources of fresh blood, including from pets and humans. They have a light brown or reddish-brown color, with flat, oval-shaped back, and front (not hind) wings. They can survive in temperatures ranging from 14°-60° (Fahrenheit).
How to Detect Bed Bugs in Hotels
Vacations are meant to be a time of fun and relaxation. It is important, however, not to let your guard down toward potential safety concerns, particularly when you first enter your hotel room.
Many of us are used to checking where the nearest exit is, and other ‘routine’ items such as turning on the air conditioner, etc. But few people think of checking for bed bugs. Here are a few tips:
Experts say bed bugs are least likely to live in the bathroom because there are not many hiding places. That’s why they recommend storing luggage and other items there during your stay.
When you arrive in your room, be sure to pull back the bed covers and inspect the entire bed (including headboard, under the mattress, etc.) for signs of bed bugs. If you discover blood stains or small black dots resembling ground pepper, you should immediately contact the hotel staff.
Bed bugs will seek out and thrive in dark places. That’s why it’s important to keep your luggage off the floor. If your hotel does not provide a luggage stand, consider storing your bags on a spare bed, couch, or table.
If you detect bed bugs in your room, inform the hotel staff that you need to be relocated to a new room at least two floors away. Bed bugs are able to ‘flatten’ themselves and move from room to room. This means, if your room is infested, it’s likely others on the same floor are, as well. They are also able to travel in wallboards and via electrical sockets.
Potential for Household Contamination
It’s easy to return from a vacation and get right “back into the swing of things.” Most of us are busy, and many of us tend to make the most of our vacations, arriving back home just prior to the time when we have to return to school or work.
There is a potential, however, to transfer bed bugs from hotel rooms to your home. This is true no matter your housing situation (apartment, multi-family home, etc.). Following these few safety precautions, however, could help prevent a household infestation.
Experts say the first thing you should after vacation is to wash — in hot water — all clothing items that were brought into a hotel room — regardless of whether they were worn. Some items may need to be sent to the dry cleaner. This should be done for each member of the family who was in the hotel room. This will prevent potential bed bugs from breeding in your closets or drawers when the clothes are put away.
Vacuum and scrub (if possible) suitcases and bags that were brought into the hotel room. Luggage should then be sealed in plastic and stored until it will be needed next.
Other items such as toiletries, shoes, etc. should be kept outside until they can be thoroughly inspected and treated. If possible, place these items in the sun, to let the heat kill potential bed bugs. Alternatively, you may wish to place these items in the freezer. Extreme cold will also kill potential bed bugs. Should you choose this method, be sure to clean out your freezer later! If neither method is available or acceptable, contact a certified bed bug control service to treat potentially infected items.
My Home is Infested with Bed Bugs. What Next?
Unfortunately, even with preventative measures, there is a possibility that your home will be infested with bed bugs following your vacation. It is important to realize that eradicating these pests from your home is not a “do-it-yourself” task. It is nearly impossible to detect each and every bug without the assistance of a qualified pest control professional.
These experts are able to assess the extent of your bed bug infestation, make informed and accurate recommendations on eradication, and then treat your Ocean County property and provide you with helpful information to ensure another incident will not occur in the future. Reach out to us at Alliance Pest Services for effective bed bug control today!