It’s official. Spring has sprung. And we all know what that means. Right now college students across the United States are making their plans for spring break. They’re breaking into party groups, figuring out where they’re going to go on their holiday, and adding up how much it’s going to cost them (or more likely their parents).
Spring break is an annual rite of passage for many students. It’s a chance to shake off the cold of winter and forget about the hard grind of classes for a while before heading back to tackle midterms. It’s a couple of weeks of hard partying, sleepless nights, and (no doubt) some rough and tumble mornings.
Best case scenario the kids come home tired, sporting a healthy tan and some wild tales. Hopefully, they don’t also come back with some unwanted souvenirs – bed bugs.
Spring Break and Bed Bugs
Bed bugs have become an international pest concern. It doesn’t matter if you’re heading to Key West or Cancun; Miami or Malibu. Wherever students choose to spend their spring break there’s a good chance they’re going to brush up against these blood-sucking pests somewhere on their travels. Even their choice of lodgings won’t have much of an impact. Bed bugs are just as likely to infest high-end resorts as they are roadside motels.
Bed bugs are notorious hitchhikers. They are also extremely opportunistic. If there is an opportunity to hitch a ride on an unsuspecting spring breaker and follow them home to a cozy dorm or family home they’ll literally jump at the chance.
It’s impossible to entirely safeguard against contact with bed bugs. However, there are steps travelers can take to minimize their chances of bringing them home along with their dirty laundry. Wherever you (or your kids) are traveling for spring break it pays to take precautions against bed bugs.
How to Avoid Picking Up Bed Bugs on Your Travels
Avoiding bed bugs during spring break begins when you check into your lodgings. Whether you’re staying at an expensive resort or a budget-priced hotel the rules are the same. When you check in follow these steps before you settle in and hit the pool:
- Pull back the sheets on your bed and inspect the mattress. Check seams and corners for any stains or spotting that could indicate bed bug activity. If you see anything that causes you to suspect the presence of bed bugs contact management immediately.
- Inspect the room itself before unpacking. Check behind the headboard and in sofas and chairs. If you see any pests it’s time to contact management again.
- Avoid unpacking your luggage. Keep your clothes and other belongings in your suitcases and keep them closed whenever possible. You might consider keeping the suitcase itself in a plastic trash bag to during the duration of your stake to minimize the chance of bed bugs sneaking into your luggage.
- If you see any sign of bed bug activity contact management and ask to be moved to another room. Inspect this room as well. If you continue to find signs of bed bugs consider checking out and moving to another hotel.
How to Avoid Bringing Bed Bugs into Your Home or Dorm
When spring break is over and you’re heading back home or to your dorm there are still some things you need to do to protect yourself from bed bugs. These steps are important, and will help to prevent potential bed bug infestations on campus or at home. Luckily, these tips are pretty simple and straight forward.
When you get back from spring break follow these steps before settling back into your home or dorm room:
- Inspect all suitcases, bags, and backpacks for signs of bed bug activity before unpacking.
- If possible unpack your luggage outside, in a garage, or in a laundry room to avoid any potential bed bug contamination in your living space.
- Wash and dry all of your laundry (even items you haven’t worn) using the highest possible temperature settings.
- Vacuum your luggage thoroughly inside and out.
- Carefully wipe down any hard-surfaced items (hardshell suitcases, laptops, etc).
What You Should Do if You Believe You’re Brought Home Some Bed Bugs
Spring break should be a time to have some fun and let off some steam. But the last thing you want to do is bring home some unwanted souvenirs from your trip.
If you suspect you have brought bed bugs back with you from spring break you need to take action as soon as possible. If you are a student living in a dorm contact your dorm supervisor or student adviser to report a possible infestation. They should be able to follow up from there and arrange for an inspector to check out the situation and set up a pest control solution.
Published by Scott Palatnik
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