With the holidays fast approaching, our weekends are booked. Whether you’re traveling to a beach resort with your family or staying overnight at your relatives’ home, you run the risk of bringing home unwanted pests – particularly bed bugs.

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Bed bugs are tricky pests. They’re experts at hiding, can survive months without eating, and have a high tolerance for pesticides. This makes it difficult for even the most diligent establishments to prevent bed bugs.

While you shouldn’t let bed bugs stop you from traveling, you should be cautious before, during, and after your trip to avoid bringing them home with you. Take these precautions to help prevent bed bugs from ruining your holiday season.

Inspect Your Room Upon Arrival

Prior to bringing your belongings inside, inspect the room you will be staying in for the duration of your stay. While inspecting your room, place your luggage in the bathroom tub. Start by checking the mattress, sheets, and headboard – preferably with a flashlight. Remember to inspect any luggage racks, nightstands, and dressers as well. These places are often overlooked.

You are looking for bed bugs, which are small, flat, reddish-brown to tan insects that are approximately the size of an apple seed. There may also be signs that bed bugs are there, even if you can’t find the bugs themselves. One of the most tell-tale signs of bed bugs is to find their feces on fabric – it will resemble ink that has soaked into fabric. You may also find cast skins, or even small blood spots on the mattress where bed bugs have been squished in the night. If you do happen to find any bed bugs or signs of them, contact hotel management immediately.

Wash and Dry all Clothing

Once you return home, unpack your clothing directly into the washing machine. Wash and dry your clothes on high heat to kill any potential bed bugs that have wandered home with you. Make sure you also inspect your suitcase and bags upon returning home for signs of bed bugs and store them away from sleeping areas once they’ve been cleared. Even if your hotel room was free of bed bugs, the luggage compartment on the plane may not have been.

Protect Your Mattresses

Invest in mattress covers for each bed in your home. This measure prevents bed bugs your overnight guests may have brought onto your property from becoming established in and ruining your mattresses. They also make it easy to see bed bugs, as they stand out against the stark white of the mattress cover.

It’s important to be diligent during and after your stay to prevent bed bugs from invading your home. If you do believe bed bugs have hitchhiked home with you, contact us to schedule an appointment for bed bug inspection or bed bug treatment.