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Posted by on Jul 22, 2009 in TripClips, TripTips |

Bed Bugs: Avoiding Unwanted Vacation Souvenirs

[Marc] To be taken with a grain of salt, as it is written on behalf of pest experts that tend to overstate the occurrence of such.

As the season turns and vacation travel picks up, vacationers should take care not to bring home unwanted souvenirs, like bed bugs.

Most of us know the phrase “Don’t let the bed bugs bite,” but doing so is more easily said than done. “Bed bugs are elusive, nocturnal pests that thrive on blood,” says Greg Baumann, senior scientist for the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). “Vigilance is critical, especially as we know that a five-star resort can be as susceptible to bed bugs as a hostel.”

While they do not transmit disease, their saliva does contain an anesthetic-like substance that numbs the skin — until human victims wake up to itchy, red welts. Most welts can be treated at home, but people experiencing allergic reactions might have to seek out medical treatment.

As more people travel for vacations, bed bugs become a larger problem. Accomplished hitchhikers, bed bugs move from beds to suitcases, from room to room and into new homes. Dogs and cats can also help spread bed bugs. Once bed bugs infest a new area, they become difficult to remove and can only be remediated or treated through the services of a pest control professional. Homeowners cannot control the problem on their own.

There are steps travelers can take to avoid bed bug infestation. The NPMA offers these tips for travelers hoping to enjoy their vacations without bringing home unwanted souvenirs:

  • At hotels, pull back the sheets and inspect the mattress seams, particularly at
    the corners, for telltale stains or spots. If you see anything suspect, change rooms or
    establishments immediately.
  • Thoroughly inspect the entire room before unpacking, including behind the headboard and in
    sofas and chairs. If you spot pests, change rooms or go to another hotel.
  • After traveling, inspect your suitcases before bringing them into the house.Vacuum
    them thoroughly and wash all of your clothes in hot water before unpacking.

For more information on bed bugs, visit