Can you hear that Perry Como song There’s No Place Like Home For The Holidays playing in your head? So do bed bugs. They love coming to your home for the holidays. In fact, the holidays are when bed bugs spread faster and farther. Why? Because they don’t generally get into homes through the walls–unless you live in an apartment, condo, or some other connected living. Bed bugs are hitchhikers. Any time travel increases, bed bugs increase.

The biggest reason infestations happen is that most people don’t understand how bed bugs breed. A single female bed bug can have over 4,000 babies in her short lifetime, and bed bugs only take about a month to grow to adulthood. So if you visit a hotel, and a single female bed bug climbs into one of your bags, you’re looking at a bed bug treatment in six months. If you don’t know what that is, do a quick internet search.

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The best way to keep bed bugs from dampening your holiday cheer is to make sure you don’t bring them home. If you will be traveling to friends or family this holiday season, make sure to check before you head out. This registry isn’t foolproof, but a red flag could help you prevent picking up any hitchhikers.

The second thing you can do is check your room. When you arrive, put your suitcases and bags on the tiled floor of the bathroom. Roll down the bedspread and covers of all the beds, and do a quick search for brown seed-like bugs. These bugs can be quite tiny, especially in the larvae stage, so look closely. If you don’t see bugs, make a check for tiny blood stains. It is common for bed bugs to leave spots after feeding. This won’t prove that bed bugs are in your room, but it will make you aware that bugs may be in the building. The biggest sign will be black sticky excrement on the edges or corners of your box spring or mattresses. If you find this residue, contact hotel management immediately.

Once you have checked the bed and examined the upholstery in your room with a flashlight, it should be safe to settle in. Hang your clothes, if possible, and never leave dirty clothes on the floor. Always put dirty clothes in a sealed plastic bag.

When you’re ready to leave, always do a quick check of the seams in your luggage. This is a common place bed bugs love to hide.

Taking these precautions can significantly reduce your chances of an infestation. Share this knowledge with anyone visiting your home this holiday season. It might be the best gift you give this year.

If you find yourself needing bed bug treatment, contact Holder’s Pest Solutions.