The mere mention of the phrase “bed bug” is enough to make most people’s skin crawl. These small, parasitic bugs are the bane of the traveler’s existence as they feast on the blood of their victims during the night. Since bed bugs do not discriminate between five-star hotels and economy accommodations, it is possible to pick them up anywhere, at any time while traveling. Before we look at how to avoid these creepy crawling creatures, it is important to examine what hotels do to prevent them.
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How do Hotels Prevent Bed Bugs?
While bed bugs are notoriously difficult to eradicate, they do not tolerate heat or cold well. Many hotels have found that laundering sheets, blankets, and other washable items in hot water then drying them at over 120 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 30 minutes is enough to kill bed bugs, their eggs, and their larvae. Others rely on the steady application of insecticide that not only eradicates bed bugs and their larvae but other insects that may bite patrons. However, many hotels rely on their customers to report any potential incidences of bed bugs before reacting to the concern.
How do you Protect Yourself From Bed Bugs While Traveling?
There are several things you can do to protect yourself from bed bugs. Traveling with a hard-sided suitcase makes it more difficult for bed bugs to hitch a ride to their next destination. Likewise, placing your luggage in the bathroom while you inspect any soft surfaces for evidence of bed bugs allows you to have time to find the bugs without worrying about an infestation following you home. Always use a luggage rack rather than setting luggage on the floor. Furthermore, once you return home, immediately launder your clothing in warm water and dry in a clothes dryer before placing it anywhere in your house. Place any toiletries in a plastic bag in the sun for 30 minutes to kill any eggs and store suitcases in the garage, attic or shed where the temperature can reach an excess of 120 degrees.
What do I do if I Find Bed Bugs in My Hotel Room?
Always do a cursory inspection of your room when you check in to see if you can find evidence of bed bugs. Pull back the mattress pad, lift the mattress off of the box spring, and check pillows and corners where the carpet meets the wall for rust-colored stains. If you find a bed bug or find evidence that bed bugs have been there, immediately contact the front desk and inform them of your findings. While there are no legal requirements for hotels to find you a new room or take care of the cleaning of luggage and belongings, best practices dictate that you be offered a new room and any cleaning services required to ensure your comfort and safety.
Even though it seems bed bugs are everywhere, traveling does not guarantee you will experience a bed bug infestation. A small amount of precaution can help you enjoy your journey without bringing any unwanted souvenirs home.