The holiday season should be a time of joy, festivities, and gatherings of friends and family. However, along with the celebrations and merriment comes the potential for some uninvited guests. No, I don’t mean know-it-all Uncle Bill or complaining Aunt Mary. I’m talking about bed bugs.
These elusive creatures are notorious for infesting homes and the holiday season, with its increased travel and social activities, provides an ideal environment for these blood-sucking insects to spread. But there are ways to protect yourself and your home from these unwanted guests and ensure your holiday celebrations remain free from bed bug infestations.
Holiday Travel and Bed Bugs
For many of us the holiday season means travel. Individuals and families head out on trips to celebrate the season with their loved ones. Unfortunately, this increased movement of people creates an ideal opportunity for bed bugs to spread.
Bed bugs will latch onto luggage, clothing, or other personal belongings. This helps them find new homes in hotels, guest rooms and even the homes of unsuspecting holiday hosts. Bed bugs are skilled hitchhikers and their ability to survive without feeding for extended periods allows them to travel long distances. For the bed bug holiday travel is the gift that keeps on giving,
Hotels and Accommodations
One of the most common scenarios involving bed bugs and the holidays involves hotels and other temporary accommodations. Hotels and motels, with their frequent guests and high turnover rates, provide ideal environments for bed bugs to establish themselves and thrive. Holiday travelers run the risk of unknowingly bringing these pests into their homes after staying in infested lodgings.
In order to reduce that risk holiday travelers need to be aware of potential bed bug interactions. They should also know how to take preventative measured to avoid bringing unwanted bed bugs home or worse – bringing them into the homes of family and friends.
Bed Bug Prevention Strategies
If you’re traveling for the holidays this year there are some simple strategies you can employ to help reduce your bed bug risk. These tips should help you navigate busy hotels and airbnb rentals without bringing an unwanted guests home with your.
Store Your Luggage – When you arrive at your hotel wait to unpack until you can thoroughly inspect the room. The best place to store your luggage while you check out the accommodations is in the bathroom. Ideally in the tub or shower. Wait to open your luggage until after you’ve inspected your rooms.
Inspect Your Accommodations – Before settling into your lodgings take some time to inspect the surroundings. Check the seams of mattresses, headboards, and nearby furniture for any signs of bed bug activity. Look for dark spots on bedding and other furnishings. Also watch out for any live bed bugs or shed exoskeletons. If you see any signs of bed bug activity notify hotel staff immediately and change rooms.
Use Luggage Racks – After you’ve checked out your room it’s time to unpack. Avoid putting any of your clothes or other belongings on the floor. Use a luggage rack to keep your cases elevated and out of the reach of any stray bed bugs. Dirty laundry should be returned to your suitcases or placed in resealable bags to keep out any adventurous pests.
Laundry Precautions – When you return home (or get to Grandma’s house) wash any clothing that may have been exposed to bed bugs immediately. Wash everything in hot water and dry on high heat. This will help eliminate any bed bugs that may have escaped your precautions.
Addressing Possible Bed Bug Infestations
Despite the best precautions, bed bugs can still find their way into homes during the holiday season. If you suspect you may have brought these pests into your home it’s important to address the issue promptly and effectively:
Professional Pest Control – Contact a licensed bed bug inspection and removal service at your earliest opportunity. The sooner you act the sooner you can effectively eliminate any growing bed bug infestation in your home.
Clean Thoroughly – Vacuuming and steam cleaning can be an effective first step in eliminating bed bugs. Focus on areas where these pests are most likely to hide such as mattresses, upholstered furniture, carpeting and cracks in walls.
Discard Infested Items – In sever cases it may be necessary discard any infested items such as mattresses or upholstered furnishings. This will help to prevent any potential recurring infestations or your home after it has been professionally treated.
During the holiday season it’s important to be aware of the potential risks associated with bed bugs and travel. But by understanding the enemy and taking any necessary precautions during your travels you can minimize any potential infestations and ensure that the season remains free from an unwanted holiday guests.
Published by Scott Palatnik
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