Don’t Let Bed Bugs Ruin Your Vacation

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{guest post} Don’t Let Bed Bugs Ruin Your Vacation -thanks go to Rose McMillan for the article on her blog
07:27 pm on Jul 7th 2012 Anna

Though the initial panic surrounding the bed bug epidemic has subsided, the little menaces are still haunting mattresses from five-star hotels to backpacker hostels. However, there are several steps you can take both before and during your vacation to ensure the nasty critters won’t spoil your adventure. Preventing bed bugs is a high priority at many establishments— who try to schedule regular inspections by a licensed professional bed bug exterminator. Because bed bugs can travel from place to place via clothing, luggage or pets, it is vital that lodgings have a regular schedule of checking mattresses, carpeting, and upholstered furniture for areas that may require bed bug treatment.
These notorious little beasts are parasitic insects of the Cimex genus, and earned their nickname from favoring habitats where humans sleep. Light colored nymphs must molt six times before becoming fully grown, leaving behind clear, empty exoskeletons. Full-grown bed bugs are flat, light brown insects about 4-5 mm in length and narrow enough to fit into tiny seams and crevices.
Bed bugs are linked to a number of adverse health effects, including skin rashes and allergic reactions, so it’s best for innkeepers to seek immediate bed bug treatment before news of any infestation spreads across the Internet. Face, neck, hands, and arms are common sites for bites, with symptoms including redness, itching, and swelling. Though mostly nocturnal, these pests do venture out in daylight, so sleeping with the lights on won’t help with preventing bed bugs from biting.
Preventing bed bugs is not easy, as hotel rooms can become infested when the little hitchhikers ride in on new but infected mattresses, luggage, guests’ clothing or pet travelling companions. Once an infestation has been found, the establishment must call their local bed bug exterminator and schedule a thorough, hotel-wide bed bug treatment of all potential hiding places, from mattresses to headboards to upholstered chairs.
Prior to booking lodgings, check on your intended destination’s success in keeping rooms bug-free by conducting a search of travel review websites, where pictures and reports of infestations are often posted. You can also ask the hotel if they’ve had a recent visit from the bed bug exterminator, but answers may not be completely honest. Remember that any guestroom can harbor these unwelcome guests, from an immaculately clean five-star suite to a funky little beachfront backpacker dorm.
Once in your room, take a few simple steps to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of these blood-sucking little parasites. Use a luggage rack, dresser or the bathroom floor for your luggage rather than setting it on a possibly-infested bed, couch or carpet, and then conduct a thorough search of areas that may need bed bug treatment. Pull back the bed linens, lift the mattress and inspect seams, tags, dust ruffle, and linens. Tell-tale signs include tiny dark fecal spots, blood smears, and clear exoskeleton molts, as well as the smell of over-ripe raspberries. When you get home, vacuum your suitcase and immediately launder all clothing, thus preventing bed bugs from invading your home turf.
If you do find signs of bed bugs, notify the hotel’s management immediately and request a room change. If the new room is also infested, ask for a refund and try to find another hotel. If several rooms are infested, it is a sure sign that it’s time for a visit from the bed bug exterminator, and you’d be best off finding new lodgings that you needn’t share with uninvited tiny guests.

Author Bio: Rose McMillan is an experienced pest control professional who has worked at several pest control companies, including Terminix and now does freelance writing with the purpose of giving back to the community by educating the general public.

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