Spring travel season is upon us! Millions of travelers will hit the open road or fly the friendly skies over the next six weeks. According to a recent study by Allianz Global Assistance, the top domestic destinations for Spring Break 2017 include typical warm weather spots such as Florida, Nevada, Texas and California as well as some ski destinations like Salt Lake City, UT and Denver, CO.
Bed bugs are not a seasonal pest. However, peak travel times bring with it an increase in bed bug pressure. As the number of visitors to a hotel, motel or resort increase so does the likelihood of bed bugs being introduced. Bed bugs are very tiny insects, adults being around the size of an apple seed. They are skilled hitchhikers that can easily latch onto a traveler or his belongings and infiltrate that person’s home or hotel room.
Whether you are a traveler looking to take precautions while you are away, a hotelier that wants to protect your guests and your rooms or a pest professional trying to keep your commercial and residential clients bed-bug free, consider how you can take preventive measures before, during and after this busy travel season. Protect yourself and your clients from a dreaded bed bug infestation using the following Spring Break Bed Bug Checklist:
- Search for online bed bug reports. Before you book your next trip search for your hotel destination at Tripadvisor.com and bedbugregistry.com. Afflicted travelers often post reports on the internet to warn others of a bed bug experience. Do your research and avoid hotels with known infestations, particularly those with ongoing complaints that maybe the result that the hotelier is not addressing the problem satisfactorily.
- Stay informed. Once your hotel is booked stay on top of online postings of the hotel by setting up a Google alert. Simply go to google.com/alerts and type in your hotel address. You can have relevant online postings that are cited by Google sent to your email inbox.
- Educate yourself. Understand what a bed bug infestation looks like. Pestworld offers a plethora of pictures and information on bed bugs. Know what to look for while traveling and even in your own home.
- Search the hotel room. Upon arriving at your destination, place your luggage and belongings immediately into the bathtub, a secure place bed bugs are least likely to be in a room. Do a thorough check of the bed and surrounding area. Follow these tips to conducting a bed bug inspection from Consumer Reports.
- Investigate unexplained skin symptoms. Bed bugs can be difficult to uncover, especially for an untrained eye. If you find yourself with unexplained red itchy skin welts be sure to further investigate the possibility of bed bugs. This may require a home inspection of a licensed pest professional with bed bug experience. Remember that not everyone reacts to bed bug bites. It is possible for two people to be sleeping in the same bed bug infested bed and only one have a reaction to bites.
- Take prompt action at the first sign. If you notice evidence of a bed bug infestation contact an experienced pest professional immediately. Bed bugs are prolific breeders. Delaying treatment will allow the infestation to spread and cause treatment to be longer and more complex.
- Protect your bed at home. Bed bugs do not discriminate…nearly everyone is at risk. You can take a preventive stance against the blood-sucking pest by protecting a primary area that bed bugs strike: the bed. Consider an active mattress liner on every bed in your home or hotel. An active mattress liner kills bed bugs after they come into contact with the treated fabric. This first line of defense can help ensure that a bed bug introduction doesn’t turn into a full-fledged infestation. Learn more at www.allergytechnologies.com.