When traveling for summer vacation, spring break, or business, you need to ensure that you do not end up bringing those pesky crawlers called bed bugs back home with you. It is true that you may not be in a mood to inspect your hotel room when you are tired after a long flight, but that extra effort can save you from wasting a lot of time and money that you would otherwise be spending if you have to deal with a bed bug infestation.
Whether you stay in a motel, hotel, resort, or another place that witnesses many visitors, you need to look for the signs of bed bugs before you even open your suitcase. If you do not practice care, those bed bugs may cling to your luggage and travel wherever you go. They will eventually enter your home and make you deal with a problem that sometimes requires professional’s assistance.
If you would check the room, you could save yourself from dealing with all the trouble caused by bed bugs. You can ask for another room if you find any signs of bed bugs or you can even look for another hotel if you see actual bed bugs in the hotel room. Here is what you should do to spot bed bugs in hotel rooms:
- Do not leave your luggage close to your bed. It is better to leave it in the bathroom until you have confirmed that there are no bed bugs in the room.
- Inspect your surroundings carefully and notice any musty odor. A musty odor usually means there is a bed bug infestation in the area.
- Look for small crawlers with reddish brown color and no larger than the size of apple seeds. You may find them underneath your mattress or in the area around your bed. Use a flashlight to look closely for the presence of bed bugs.
- Look for any leftover bug shells from molting. Check the mattress as well as any furniture in the room. You should also look for rust-colored spots of fecal matter. These spots may also be present in the folds of mattresses and sheets.
- Do not ignore the headboard and check it carefully. Also, use a flashlight to check walls, pillows, and any dark place where you suspect the presence of bed bugs.
In case you suspect an infestation, it is better to take some immediate precautionary measures. For starters, use sealed plastic bags to protect your belongings. If you cannot find any plastic bags, inform the hotel administration about your concern and insist on getting a different room.
Spotting Bed Bugs on Your Luggage
Whether you have failed to identify an infestation or you just never tried to find one, chances are bed bugs have already invaded your luggage. Before you decide to try ways to get rid of bed bugs in luggage, it is important to inspect your luggage carefully to confirm the presence of those bugs. It would not be enough to check your suitcases, but you will have to carefully inspect each item.
Once you have checked your suitcase from the outside, you should then check it from the inside and leave no cracks, crevices, folds, or seams unchecked. Remember that bed bugs can very small, especially when unfed, and can easily hide in hard-to-reach places. Check everything carefully or else you will take an infestation home.
Getting Rid of Bed Bugs in Luggage
It is never easy to get rid of bed bugs in luggage, but that does not mean you should discard all luggage and clothing once you know you have an infestation. There are certain steps to take to help save your luggage and other belongings. For instance:
- You should first separate items that can be laundered. Put those items in plastic bags and set aside. You can get rid of bed bugs by exposing your infested items to extreme heat or cold. Therefore, you do not have to worry much about the items that you can wash with ease.
- Do not take those items home with you. It is better to have them washed and cleaned before you take them home. If you want to clean them on your own, be sure to put all your infested items and luggage in the garage.
- Before going further, be sure to separate dark colored clothes from light items and also separate clothes that could be dry cleaned only. Some items are so delicate that they cannot withstand high temperatures. Therefore, you need to separate them as well.
- You can use your home drier to clean certain items. Be sure to empty the bag directly into the drier and set a high temperature. Ideally, you should be opting for the hottest setting that is still safe for the fabric. Sometimes, you will have to use a dry cleaning service. If that is the case, be sure to inform them that your items are infested.
- You cannot put your suitcase into a washing machine, so it is important to check it manually. You can hand-wash your suitcase, but be sure to use hot water when washing the suitcase. You are likely to get the best results when you opt for a temperature of 120F or sometimes even higher. Do not forget to use a scrub brush to clean all the folds and seams.
- Do not leave your delicate items untreated. Since you cannot expose them to high heat, you can try a cold-treatment for that matter. You can put those items in a sealed plastic bag and then put it in the refrigerator. Keep in mind that a cold-treatment will work only when you opt for a temperature as low as -5C. At this temperature, you can kill bed bugs in about 5 days. You can lower the temperature even further to reduce the time of exposure. Lower it to -26C and you will be able to get better results.
It is important to keep in mind that both heating and freezing techniques can help kill bed bugs in your luggage, but you need to ensure that you start counting the exposure time when the temperature in the middle of the infested items has reached to the recommended limit.