Are you travelling this Christmas? Perhaps you’ve already settled into your holiday relaxation mode. All around the hotel, not a creature is stirring, not even a mouse. But what about the creatures you can’t hear? If you are sleeping away from home this Christmas, you need to be aware of the dangers of bed bugs.
How do you get bed bugs?
Bed bugs have become a significant problem everywhere in recent years. Since the early 2000s there has been a drastic increase in the number of bed bug infestations around the globe. In Ireland, 2016 saw an 80% increase in bed bug infestation, compared to the same period in 2015.
Hotels and other overnight accommodation facilities play an important part in the spread of bed bugs. The increase in global travel has led to these facilities receiving a high amount of human traffic. This allows bed bugs to spread easily, discreetly travelling from one occupant to another. With the increasing travel at this time of year, the problem becomes more prevalent.
How to avoid bed bugs when travelling at Christmas
Avoid bed bugs on airplanes
We’ve all heard about the problem of bed bugs in hotels. But this isn’t the only risk travellers might face. Recent years have seen an increase in reports of bed bugs on airplanes. And these insects don’t distinguish between economy and business class!
Airplanes provide an ideal environment for bed bugs to thrive in. People’s belongings are left unattended for hours. Passengers sit close to each other and do not move for long periods. In such confined spaces, it’s not surprising that bugs can be transmitted from person to person.
Avoid bed bugs in the hotels
Check your hotel room for bed bugs
Contrary to their name, bed bugs are not only found in beds. Easily transportable in clothing and baggage, these insects can thrive in just about any crack or crevice. Rarely seen in the day, they hide their paper-thin bodies in all kinds of furniture.
When staying in a hotel, motel, or any other overnight accommodation this Christmas, inspecting the room for bed bugs can help ensure you don’t find yourself giving these biting insects a free ride back to your home.
What are signs of bed bugs?
- Dark/black stains– on the mattress and surrounding area from bed bug excreta.
- Sweet scent– an unpleasant, sweet, sickly scent.
- Cast nymphal skins– small crisp-like insect skins that are cast off as the bed bug nymphs grow from stage to stage.
- Live insects– despite being small (adults are only 4-5mm long) it’s possible to spot live bed bugs and shed skins.
Avoid bed bugs on public transportation
When you mention bed bugs, most people will first think of hotels. But did you know that bed bugs are hiding and waiting to hitch a ride home with you in many public places? They are like tiny monsters that are nearly visible to the naked eye. You need to know where they may be sheltering if you want to protect yourself from health risks. Let’s check out the bed bug infestation risks in public places where you may accidentally pick up
DIY bed bug strategies
You all like to get a restful sleep and nice DREAM when you travel this Christmas:
- Do a survey of the bed to see if there are any telltale indications of infestation, such as noticeable spots on the mattress or bed clothes.
- Raise the mattress and the bed itself. The bedbugs are more likely to be hiding there during the day.
- Elevate your belongings. Don’t leave them lying on the floor or bed. Use luggage racks or tables.
- Analyse your belongings when you get home. Did you bring back any unexpected passenger bugs with you?
- Machine-dry your clothes in a hot drier to ensure no bedbugs are snuggling up in them.
Use luggage stands with caution
Luggage stands in hotel rooms are a hot spot for bed bug activity. Bed bugs often use luggage to travel and infest a new home. Because of this, luggage stands are often the first point of contact for bed bugs.
When staying in a hotel it’s a good idea to store your luggage in the ensuite bathroom whilst carrying out an inspection of a room, and during the whole stay. This can drastically reduce the risk of bringing bed bugs home with you.
Get rid of bed bugs at home
So your Christmas break is over. You’ve managed to avoid bed bugs. Nothing more to worry about, right? Wrong! When you get back home in the new year, remember to use your WITS:
- Wash your bed clothes at a temperature of at least 60℃, and if possible place the items into a tumble dryer for at least 30 minutes. Bed bugs aren’t great survivors in high temperatures. Washing clothing will help eliminate both adult bed bugs and bed bug eggs, reducing the risk of a bed bug in your home.
- Inspect your luggage, clothes, beds and furniture for signs of infestation. And remember to check after visitors too.
- Tidy your rooms. You can see signs of infestation more clearly when your rooms are clean and tidy.
- Send old clothes and linens to charity shops. Don’t leave them lying around in closets. If you don’t wear it, you don’t need it.
Professional Bed Bug Treatment
Rentokil’s Entotherm has been awarded the Best Business Award for Best Innovation in the private sector. Developed with its partner Revival Environmental, this ground-breaking heat treatment is revolutionising the way the industry manages bed bugs, cockroaches and other insect pests.
If you have found yourself with a bed bug problem, the best way to remove bed bugs from your home or business is to enlist the help of a pest control professional. Or simply Tweet us at @Rentokil_PestIE to get immediate assistance.
Get in contact with Rentokil for expert advice, free survey, and solutions on how to get rid of bed bugs.