As the holiday season approaches, and you reach for that pumpkin latte, deciding on where you're going to travel, take some time out to learn how not to let the bed bugs bite. We all know that travel rates are higher during the holiday season. However, did you know that traveling increases your risk of coming into contact with blood sucking bed bugs? Below we will get into the meat and potatoes of: the increasing bed bug problem, why traveling increases your risk of contact and how to spot bed bugs.
The Resurgence of bed bugs
Bed bugs are insects that are attracted to the carbon dioxide our body releases while we sleep. During the day, bed bugs hide in the cracks, crevices and corners of establishments. A bed bug can survive up to 51 days without a blood meal. One female bed bug can produce 200-500 eggs a lifetime. Bed bugs were originally brought to America from Egypt during colonization, but the problem was put to a cease in the 1950s. However, recently the issue of bed bugs has begun to resurge. The two most common resurged bed bugs are the Tropical bed bug, and the Common bed bug. Due to increased travel within the past 70 years, the bed bug problem in America has risen. The Common bed bug is popular in all 50 states, however the invasive Tropical bed bug species has found its way into Florida due to its favorable climate, increasing the risk of bites, rashes, and psychological distress. The bite of a bed bug itself is harmless because of the numbing agent in their saliva, however many people develop allergic reactions to this saliva.
Bedbugs In Hotels
Bed bugs are hitch hikers. They spread by hanging on to clothing and jumping into bags. Due to the high reproduction rate discussed earlier, one single female bed bug can cause the infestation of an entire establishment. Since so many people pass through hotel rooms, there is a high chance the room will become a host for bed bugs, feeding on guests. According to a 2015 study done by the NPMA (National Pest Management Association), and the University of Kentucky, 95% of the time, Pest Control professionals are finding bed bugs in apartments and condos. 75% of the time they are being found in hotels. 93% of the time bed bugs are found in residential settings, which is also something to consider if you're planning to stay in an Airbnb.
Where Bed Bugs Are Mostly Being Found:
How to Spot bed bugs
All of this may seem overwhelming, so here's where you can start. First things first, always travel with a flashlight and a keen eye. Some of the most common places to inspect for bed bugs are:
behind mattress head boards
in the box spring or box spring cover
along the seams of mattresses
in wooden bed frame seams, screw holes and crevasses
and in wall outlets.
When looking for an infestation it can be obvious to look for live bugs. However, you should also look for skin sheds and eggs, bloodstains, and fecal matter. If you see fecal matter, blood stains or skin sheds, there may not be an active infestation, so continue to look for eggs and live bed bugs. If you find any evidence of bed bugs take pictures and ask to speak to a hotel manager to get your room cleaned or change rooms all together.
Don't become victim to bites, rashes and more from bed bugs this holiday season! Be aware of the resurgence of bed bugs and use these tips to help you inspect your room/home for the season. If you fear you may have been in contact with bed bugs, or have an infestation, call a local pest professional to have your home or establishment inspected.