It’s that time of year again. Time for students around the country to set aside the school books and enjoy some well deserved break time. Yep, spring break is here again. While some kids will head home to see the family (and catch up on laundry and hot meals) others will hit the road to soak up some sun and blow off some steam.
Spring break travels can be a lot of fun. But they can also put you in the crosshairs of some hungry bed bugs. Before you pack your bag and lock your dorm room here some tips on protecting yourself from bed bugs during spring break.
Equal Opportunity Pests
Before we get into the nitty gritty of avoid bed bugs on spring break we need to get a couple of things clear.
First – bed bugs are equal opportunity pests. They don’t care who you are. They don’t care where you’re going. They’re just as likely to infest a famous 5-star resort as they are a small mom-and-pop roadside motel. So wherever you’re headed for spring break you need to be mindful of bed bugs.
Second – while you’re probably planning on spending all of your time at the beach you’ll still be spending some of your time in your hotel room. And don’t forget, that’s where all of your stuff will be stored while you’re soaking up rays. So even a small bed bug problem in a room you spend very little time in is still a threat.
During Spring Break
When you arrive at your destination the first you want to do after checking in is inspect your room. It’s not difficult, and it’s your first best chance to stop bed bugs from ruining your trip. Here are some simple tips to follow:
Stash Your Luggage – Before you do anything else put your luggage in the bathroom or stash it somewhere high and off the floor. Bed bugs can’t fly and they don’t jump. So this will protect your belongings while you check out the room.
Inspect the Beds – Peel back the covers of all the beds and look for blood or fecal stains on the mattress and sheets. These stains are left behind after bed bugs feed. Also look for sticky black residue along the seams or corners of the mattress.
Inspect the Room – Take a flashlight (if you have one) and make a visual inspection of the room itself. Check out the bed’s headboard and frame, and inspect any upholstered furniture in the room.
Inspect the Carpeting – Check out the carpets and look along the baseboards for any signs of bed bug activity. Also check out the closets and dressers for any signs of bed bug activity.
You should work through this list before you unpack anything. If you notice any signs of bed bugs contact management immediately and ask for another room. Ideally, you should get a room on a different floor as far away from your original room as possible.
After Spring Break
When spring break is over there are still a few steps to take. If you’re heading back home you’ll want to inspect your luggage before taking anything into the house. Ideally, if you have a separate laundry room you can check everything out there. Open your bags and inspect your dirty laundry. Look for signs of bed bugs and then put everything into a hot wash. The heat should kill any stray bed bugs as well as any eggs.
If you’re heading straight back to campus it’s a good idea to head to the laundromat first. Again, a hot wash and dry will kill any stray bed bugs and eggs you may have picked up on your travels. While you’re going through the laundry be sure to give your bags a good once over. You want to make sure nothing’s hiding in the corners or folds of your luggage.
A bed bug infestation can start from just a few strays. And it won’t happen overnight. Following on from spring break keep alert and watch for any signs of bed bug activity in your dorm or at home. If you’ve been careful over spring break chances are you’ve dodged any real trouble. However, if you do notice anything suspicious take steps immediately to address the issue. The sooner you act the lower the chance of a full-scale invasion.
Published by Scott Palatnik
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