Bed bugs in hotels and homes have become an increasingly common problem even though for many years it was thought they had been eradicated. No hotel guest should be complacent – it is not only grotty, cheap motels and hotels where bed bugs are found. It is not unknown for bed bugs to be found in some of the most up market hotels too.
So why have they re-appeared?
Quite simply the pesticides which once eradicated many of our bugs including bed bugs – one of which was DDT were found to be harmful both to human health and to the environment and so were withdrawn from use. The pesticides which replaced them are designed to target one particular type of bug say for example cockroaches and because bed bugs have not been treated they have now become a big problem.
What do bed bugs look like?
Bed bugs are oval shaped, reddish brown insects which, when fully grown can be about 1/4 inch in length. What do they live on? BLOOD – Your blood. They will suck blood from pets such as dogs and cats as well but their prefered source of food is humans!
Where are they found?
They tend to hide out in carpets, mattresses, bed frames, behind peeling wall coverings, cracks, crevices and some times can be found in the most obscure places such as light switches or smoke detectors. These little bleeders are nocternal so you are very unlikely to come across them during daylight hours. However, if there are bed bugs in your hotel room they will most definately come out for a feast whilst you sleep!
Where do bed bugs in hotels come from?
The fact is that bed bugs will quite happily travel round from place to place in luggage and clothing. This means that anyone who travels a lot could have additional passengers without even knowing it. The bed bugs can then disembark at the next stop whether it is another hotel room or the travelers home and there begins another infestation as the bed bugs breed and multiply.
How can you avoid bed bugs in hotels?
The best thing to do is immediately you arrive and BEFORE you open your luggage have a thorough look around the room. Check the mattress along seams and around any handles or buttons for live bugs, dark stains which could be bed bug faecal marks or blood smears where bed bugs have been squashed by previous occupants. Also check furniure – closets, drawers and so on. Have a look around the walls check any cracks or peeling wall paper or paint for signs of bugs. Again you may not actually see any live bugs but there will be evidence of activity from any faecal makes left round the entrance to their hiding place.
If you have any doubts DO NOT UNPACK! It may not be very convenient but the best way to avoid bed bugs leaving the hotel in your luggage is to keep all your property in your case, keep it off the floor and keep it zipped tight! The same should apply to any additional baggage such as laptop cases, hand bags etc.
What do you do if you are bitten by bed bugs in a hotel?
Firstly inform the management! Secondly go to a drug store and purchase some cream such as hydrocortisone or an oral antihistamine which will ease the itching of the bites. Bed bug bites for the majority of people are red and itchy. They may look like a rash or come up as red bumps or welts. Apart from the discomfort of the itching there is not usually any ill effects. Scratching, can cause the bites to become infected in which case a doctor may have to be consulted.
What should you do next?
If you are returning home DO NOT unpack your luggage in your house! If you can before you leave the infested hotel room place all your clothing, shoes etch in sealed plastic bags, discard any items you do not require such as newspapers books etc. Thoroughly check cases, hand bags etc for stow-a-ways. When you arrive home launder all clothing on a hot soapy cycle this will kill not only adult bugs but also eggs and nymphs which are not clearly visible to the human eye. Any items which cannot be laundered can be placed in a tumble dryer on a hot setting for around 10 minutes. For other items such as business suites etc which cannot be treated in this way you could try using a steam machine which again will kill bugs at all stages of development.
Remember – thoroughly clean all surfaces with a disinfectant where clothing and luggage have been in contact!
Bed Bug Patrol will provide everything you need to prevent unwanted guests returning home with you from your vacation.
Bed bugs in hotels should not spoil your enjoyment – just be aware and be prepared!