Now that COVID seems to be in the past for us in western Pennsylvania,  I want to talk to you about how to avoid getting bed bugs while on vacation, or traveling for business.

Many of us will be headed to the surrounding mountains, while the other half of Pittsburgh seems to be headed to the outer banks.

Whichever your destination of choice may be, you might end up visiting places where previous guests have left some bloodsucking visitors behind, and those visitors would be more than happy to hitch a ride home with you.

If you’re going on vacation in the near future, here are three-bed bug prevention methods you can use to avoid picking up pests while you’re on vacation, and some strategies you can use if they come home with you despite your best efforts.

Bed Bugs Prevention Tip #1: Know which signs to look for.

Signs of a bed bug infestation include blood stains on fabrics, dark or rust-covered spots of bed bug waste on bedding or seats, excrement on nearby walls, eggshells and shed insect casings where the invaders hide, and a musty odor from the bugs’ scent glands.

You may also notice black stains, especially in seams and stitching on upholstered furniture and mattresses, and black streaks on wood and fabrics.

Prevention Tip #2: Check ALL the places where bugs might be lurking.

Some people think they can avoid getting bed bugs by steering clear of hotels, but that isn’t true.

While places that have multiple rooms close together, like hotels, motels and resorts, are an ideal place for these bloodsuckers to thrive, they can also be found in the homes of your friends and relatives, and in the seats of taxis, trains, planes and buses.

Many people take precautions when they reach a hotel, only to find out too late that the damage was already done during the ride there. Or they stop taking precautions when they reach their friend’s home, and discover that they let down their guard too early.

Bed bug prevention starts when you leave your home, and ends only when you’ve confirmed that you made it through the trip without picking up any tiny hitchhikers.

Prevention Tip #3: Don’t assume you’re safe in well-maintained buildings.

Some people assume that bed bugs only live in dirty, ill-maintained places, but that isn’t true.

These pests feed on blood, not dirt, so they’re happy to set up camp in any place where blood-filled visitors visit regularly. This can include even some of the cleanest, most well-cared-for hotels and resorts in the U.S.

How do you get rid of bed bugs if they DO come home with you?

The above tips will greatly increase your odds of staying bed bug-free on your travels, but infestations are climbing across the United States, and there’s still a chance that you’ll get a few stowaways despite your best efforts.

If you wake up with itchy areas and small red welts that you didn’t have when you went to bed, it’s time to check for signs of bed bugs in your room, and take steps to stop the infestation before it can take hold.

Bed bug removal methods you can try include:

  • Cleaning all fabrics on and around your bed with hot water, and drying them on the hottest dryer setting. If some items, such as shoes or stuffed animals, can’t be washed, put them in the dryer on high for half an hour.
  • Vacuuming your bed and the area around it frequently, and putting the vacuum cleaner bag in a plastic bag inside an outdoor garbage can immediately after vacuuming.
  • Getting rid of bed bugs’ hiding places by repairing cracks in your plaster, gluing down peeling wallpaper, removing clutter around the bed, and encasing your mattress and box springs in a tightly woven, zippered cover, so bugs can’t enter or escape. Bed bugs can live for up to a year without feeding, so keep the cover on for at least a year to make sure the mattress’ entire bed bug population is dead.
  • Using a stiff brush to scrub out the seams of your mattress and dislodge the bed bugs and their eggs before vacuuming.

What if none of those methods work?

If the do-it-yourself methods aren’t working, or you just want the bed bug infestation gone NOW, we’re here to help. We’re the best pest control company in Western Pennsylvania, and we can remove your bed bugs quickly and efficiently, using methods that are safe for your family and pets.

If you’re ready to have a good night, sleep tight, and NOT let the bed bugs bite, contact us today to book your consultation.

Image Credit – Adobe Stock

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