How to avoid bed bugs : Avoid bed bug bites when travelling

bed bugs in hotelsPlanning a trip anytime soon?

 

There are some typical concerns when travelling..sunscreen..whether the locals will be friendly..which restaurants to eat at, or hotels to stay at...

But many are unaware of a potentially prolific threat.

Bedbugs.

 

"Bedbugs?  Gross!  You only find that kind of thing in dirty, run-down motels and shelters!" You might say.  But you would be wrong.  Bedbugs are tricky little creatures and find their way even into high -end resorts and other places.  Once you come into contact with an infested area, not only can they bite you without your knowledge, they can get into your luggage and clothing, and any further contact anyone has with those objects can potentially spread them around. 
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picture of bed bugThe first step to avoiding these creepy crawlies would be to check websites like bedbug registry or tripadvisor.com.  You can often find reviews mentioning bedbugs in hotels, and luckily, some people are courteous enough to post about whether or not their room had bedbugs.

"Great location and friendly staff however i also got covered head to toe in bed bug bites." posts Jenny about the bedbugs in the hotel she stayed at, on tripadvisor. Good to know.

You might need to spend some time looking, as some hotels may remove any bedbug-based reviews they can find in an effort not to lose business, rather than finding a solution.  This is unfortunate, as I believe a collective effort to finding a nonpesticidal solution to this would be the smarter way to go.  Even a hotel that has bedbugs and sprays for them regularly is extremely likely to have a reoccurrence of them - AND they fill the rooms with chemicals.  Fabulous.

Good review or bad review, I would still advise giving your hotel room a quick check before you check in. Besides, you'll be able to sleep better knowing that you do not have to worry about any nocturnal invaders. Here's how to check for bedbugs.

Though bedbugs can be difficult to find if there are only a few, they leave some pretty telltale signs. A thorough search of the mattress, headboard, and pillows should reveal their presence. 

The first sign:  Rust-colored stains on the mattress/headboard/pillow.  This may be a more reliable method for discovering them in your own home, as hotels generally change or wash the sheets daily (which will, ironically, hide the stains but not get rid of the bugs).  But it never hurt anyone to check.  Bedbugs are blood feeders (yep, they suck your blood Dracula-style), and if you've ever smashed a mosquito while or after it had just gorged on your blood, I'm sure you noticed a rather gory explosion.  So, looking for small bloodstains from some sleep-crushed feeding bedbugs is a good place to start.

bed bug cast skins and feces photo

Next, we have cast skins.  Bedbugs shed their skin.  Being that they love to hang out around beds in search for a tasty snack (you), you can look around mattress seams and crevices for old skins.  These are brownish, semitransparent, and pretty obvious.  Occasionally, you can also find eggs, which are small, cylindrical, and whitish.  The key point though, is that you really check the small, hidden spots in the mattress.  Common sense and experience dictate that most bugs don't just hang out in the middle of your room; they love cracks, and the smaller the better. 

Thirdly, poop.  Yes, poop.  It can be difficult to imagine, but these vampiric nuisances do it just like we do.  Obviously, it's much smaller, so you're looking for black dots about twice the size of the period at the end of this sentence.  We all know that feeding generally leads to pooping, so this can be a pretty common sign of having bedbugs if you know what you're looking for.

Finally, you CAN find the bugs themselves.  They are usually nocturnal, but they can be fat and lazy and just hang out in your mattress cracks, smoking a little bedbug-size cigar and celebrating their previous blood meal.  Well, not really.  But a clean sweep of your mattress can also reveal some bugs lodged in the cracks.  So check it out. 

The key is, BEDbugs are usually found in your BED.  Shocking, I know.  They will always end up there, because that's where the source of food is.  It's not like they can eat something else in the meantime.  If there are more than a few, you should be able to thoroughly comb a bed and discover their presence. I hope you do not have to run into bedbugs and that these tips help your vacation go smoother!

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As a courtesy to others, you should ALWAYS post reviews about bedbugs in hotels.  People have to know!!  Those who don't know to look for them can have them latch onto a number of their things, even pets, and bring them home without their knowledge.  A simple lack of information can lead to infestation of your own home and even friends' homes if they visit you often and you are unaware of having bedbugs.  A simple check can save you a lot of trouble, so passing on that information can create a tidal wave of prevention.  You have no idea the kind of favor you will be doing just by posting two sentences alerting people of bedbugs. Well, maybe you do now.

Let's all do each other that favor.  

 

 

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