The danger of staying in a hotel infested with bed bugs is no longer confined to low-budget hotels and motels. It is increasing common while staying in even the most expensive hotels. Not only do bed bugs in hotels cause an uncomfortable experience while there, in the worst scenario, they may hitch a ride in luggage and clothing and infest the home. Some blame the increase in bed bug infestations on the rise in international travel, while others cite the change in pest control methods in recent years. For whatever reason, pest control agencies have seen a startling increase in bed bug calls in the past decade. Although most travelers never encounter bed bugs, there are ways to stay protected from these tiny, biting insects while traveling.
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One of the first places to consult when planning a vacation is Bedbug Registry. This website keeps a comprehensive database of bed bug occurrences in the United States and Canada in hotels and apartments and will soon be adding cruise ships to the registry. In addition to this website, look at travel review sites. Bed bugs are big news, so guests who experience them are quite likely to report their encounter. Bed bugs in hotels do not indicate an inferior hotel, as they are brought to the location by guests. Most hotels have a well-trained staff who are constantly on the look out for these hard to spot insects. Routine pest control is practiced at almost all hotels, but bed bugs are particularly difficult to get rid of. This is a primary reason for not wanting to take them home.
Once arriving at the hotel, never place baggage directly on the carpeted floor, on the bed or in a chair. Instead, place the bags and suitcases on a hard surface like a desk or a tiled bathroom floor. Then, do a search of the room. Although bed bugs are small, they can be found hiding during the day. Search the seams of the mattress and any other hiding spots. Look for tiny black specs on or near the bed and furniture, this is the feces of the bugs and may indicate their presence even if the bugs themselves are not seen. Another thing to look for are tiny spots of blood on bedding or furniture. One of the best ways to prevent bed bugs in hotels hitching a ride home is to seal all luggage in plastic bags. Once home, wash and dry all clothing on high heat. Heat is one of the most effective ways to kill the bugs. Some travelers put their luggage in black plastic bags, leaving them in the car in the sunshine to kill the insects.
Bed bugs in hotels have been a concern for quite awhile, but their incidence is now spreading to other public places as well. They have been found in shopping malls, movie theaters, and schools. Librarians have reported finding bed bugs hiding in the bindings of books, a place these secretive little insects find safe during the day. Hospitals and dorms are other places where people stay that may be infested. Although bothersome and always uninvited, bed bugs are not known to carry diseases, so they do not present a health hazard to those who have been bitten.