Bed bugs are the small, flat and oval, reddish-brown living nightmares that hide in your bed. They are pests that are hard to see and get rid of. They are parasites that feed on human blood at night. You will not know that you have them unless you feel the itchy bite marks.
Their droppings can leave small brown stains on your sheets but you may not pay attention to that until you are bitten. The bed bugs are only active at night and during the day they stay hidden.
Where do bed bugs hide
They find places to live that are near their hosts and come out only at night time. They can be found in bed frames, baseboards walls, beds, mattresses even furniture and carpets. They can even be found in the springs of a bed or in the wall (if there are small holes).
Symptoms of bed bugs
Most times the bites will not even appear immediately but after a few days. Since the symptoms of bed bugs are red itchy marks on your skin, you might not find out right away that the cause is bed bugs. Some people might not even show any of them but here are symptoms that you should be looking for:
- Bites will be most likely on skin that is exposed during the night – arms, legs, even face and neck.
- The bites and the skin near them are swollen and red with a darker centre.
- The bites may form a line or as if they are grouped together in a small area.
- You might feel a burning sensation on your skin and itching. The bites might even bleed or swell even more (a secondary infection) if you scratch them too much.
- If you feel a musty odour in your room without any apparent cause, it might be bed bugs infestation.
Where can you find bed bugs
In most facilities that have a lot of people, especially in small spaces, you are very likely to find bed bugs. Such places are hotels and motels, hall of residence, a block of flats, even hospitals, homeless shelters, business offices, military bases. Which leads to the question how do they spread?
How do bed bugs travel
If you are wondering whether you can pick up bed bugs from an infested place and bring them home or if you think someone has brought them into your home, you will be correct. They can travel with you or with anyone else. When you are on vacation and you stay at a hotel or a motel, even a guest house or a rented house, you need to be careful. And here are a few things you can do to save yourself from bed bugs when travelling:
How to avoid bed bugs when travelling
Check the hotel room
Always inspect the room of your hotel/motel/guest house or any other. You should check the bed, bed frame, mattress, bedside cabinets and drawers, skirting boards even, sofas, chairs, luggage stands. Look for black or brown stains on the sheets, shed skin, live bed bugs or their eggs.
While inspecting the room, put your luggage in the bathroom. Bed bugs will not stay in a bathroom and your luggage will be safe. Sometimes if bed bugs are hidden in a carpet, a wall or a closet they might get into your luggage and you will take them home. And once in your home, they will continue to reproduce.
If you have any suspicions of bed bugs infestation, call the hotel immediately and request another room. Inform the staff about the situation. If you will request a new room, ask for one that is two floors away and thoroughly inspect that one, too.
How to protect your luggage
Keep it off the ground. Some hotels offer luggage stands which you should also be cautious with because they can be a hot spot for bed bugs. If there are no stands for your luggage you can buy special plastic bags to keep your suitcases in, while you are travelling.
What to do when the vacation is over
When you are already home, there are a few things you should do to be sure you will not bring any bed bug inside of your home.
Leave your luggage outside overnight, if it is possible. Do not bring the suitcases inside right away. Leave them on a terrace on your patio. And the second thing to do right away is to put your family’s clothing in the laundry machine.
Teach your kids to also be cautious when travelling. If they are old enough they can help you inspect the premises. Explain to them the importance of a thorough check-up and care for your luggage.
And if you ever find your home infested with bed bugs, immediately call for a professional treatment. This is not a pest problem that you can deal with on your own. Only professionals can eliminate the bed bugs efficiently and safely. What you can do is make sure to take preventive measures so this does not happen again.