Summer is right around the corner and we know many of you have already started daydreaming about your summer vacation. No matter where you decide to go, we can bet you’ll want to come home with great memories and a refreshed spirit – what you won’t want to come with, however, is bed bugs.
Our Sumter pest control experts explain what to know about bed bugs and how to avoid bringing them home with you:
What they look like
Bed bugs can be found all across the U.S. and because of the increase in international travel, their numbers have increased by 71% since 2001. Unlike other bedroom-dwelling insects (such as dust mites), bed bugs can be seen with the human eye. Adults usually look like thin apple seeds – oval, flat, brown, and around 5-9 mm long. They’re wingless and can sometimes be a reddish color if they’ve just eaten.
Where to look for them
Once you arrive at your hotel, put your luggage in the bathroom (this is the least likely place bed bugs will be). Then, pull back each bed’s sheets and inspect the mattress for brown spots, bed bugs, and bed bug skins. Be sure to give the seams and box springs a thorough search.
It’s also a good idea to inspect any other upholstered furniture, as bed bugs can also be found in chairs or couches. If you notice anything that could be considered a bed bug infestation, notify management immediately and ask to be moved to another room.
Precautions to take
If you’re uneasy about the idea of bringing bed bugs home with you, seal all of your clothing in plastic bags and keep them sealed as much as possible. Also, after your trip, our Sumter pest inspection experts suggest you inspect your suitcase before you go back into your house and vacuum it thoroughly. After you return, you can also wash all of the clothing in your suitcase in hot water to eliminate any chance of transferring the bed bugs.
Bed bug bites
Like ticks and mosquitoes, bed bugs feed off of blood, which means if you’re sleeping in an infested bed, you’ll likely be bitten. While you may not feel a bed bug bite you, the bite will often turn red and itchy, similar to a mosquito bite. Bed bug bites are also usually the size of mosquito bites, but since everyone reacts differently, they can be smaller or larger.
How to get rid of an infestation
If you are unfortunate enough to bring bed bugs home with you after your vacation, wash all of your bed linens and clothing in hot water to get rid of any bugs that may be on them. While your linens and clothing are being washed, vacuum your entire home thoroughly including your mattress, box spring, and upholstered furniture. Also pay close attention to the seams in carpeted rooms. If you have any cracks in your walls, use caulk to seal them up so that they can’t harbor bed bugs.
After you’ve done all of these things, inspect your home every day for several days to make sure you’ve gotten rid of all bed bugs.