Bed Bugs are Back After a Record-Setting Summer of Travel — Discover How to Protect Yourself and Loved Ones
Summer 2022 was a record-breaking travel season. Sadly, for many travelers, souvenirs aren’t the only things they brought home. Bed bug season typically peaks from June through October, and it’s expected to remain high throughout fall and well into the cold weather months.
In late September, an Amazon fulfillment center had to shut down in Amarillo, Texas. In early October, the Athens-Clarke County Library in Georgia had to close for several days. What did they both have in common? Bed bug infestations.
It’s no coincidence that bed bug season peaks just as people are traveling and returning home. Bed bugs love hitching a ride on clothing, luggage, and pets. Understanding what causes bed bugs, how to spot signs of bed bug infestations, and how to get rid of them can help everyone keep homes and loved ones safe.
What is the Main Cause of Bed Bugs?
Travel is among the top causes of bed bug infestations spreading. These critters are most commonly found in locations where people and their belongings frequently visit, including the following:
- Hotels and motels
- Cruise ships
- Public transportation like trains and ride share vehicles
- Outdoor campsites
Do Bed Bugs Travel on People?
These creepy crawlies love to hop into people’s belongings and stow away until they find a spot to feed, breed, and call home. Bed bugs will stow away in purses, in backpacks, and on upholstered or soft surfaces.
Can Bed Bugs Spread Diseases?
Bed bugs aren’t a known carrier of diseases or illnesses, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These blood-sucking parasites are more of a nuisance for people who have to deal with them. Physical reactions to bed bug bites range from negligible symptoms to itching and redness to an allergic reaction that could be life threatening.
How to Protect Yourself from Bed Bugs While Traveling
Bed bugs love soft folds, upholstery, and cozy nooks they can nestle into while traveling to each new destination. Swapping soft-sided luggage for hard-shell suitcases and packing belongings inside resealable plastic bags can help lower the risk of taking these pests home.
Other tips for avoiding bed bugs in hotels and other travel destinations include:
- Place luggage, purses, and other belongings on luggage racks or in the bathroom until you have a chance to inspect the area.
- Inspect the mattress, bed frame, box spring, pillows, linens, under beside lamps and tables, and in the folds of drapes.
- If you suspect a problem, call the front desk or management to work with the hotel, resort, or facility to find an effective solution.
- Protect yourself when you get home by inspecting your luggage, purse, and bags and washing/drying all your clothing using the high heat setting.
Early Stage of Bed Bug Infestations
The earlier you catch a bed bug infestation, the easier it is to treat and eliminate it. That’s why year-round preventive maintenance and treatment from pest control professionals can be so effective.
Some of the early signs to look for include:
- Live bugs in areas like baseboards, couch cushions, and mattress seams.
- Tiny, pearly-white, oval-shaped eggs.
- Dark smears and spots on fabric from bed bugs’ fecal matter.
- Bloodstains on sheets, pillows, or clothing.
How Long Does It Take for Bed Bugs to Appear?
It can take up to two weeks to notice bite marks after initial exposure. Every day, females can lay up to five eggs, which take anywhere from four to 12 days to hatch. As a result, full-blown infestations occur within a matter of days.
What to Do if You Get Bed Bugs from a Hotel
It’s a good practice to get into a bed bug prevention routine after traveling. After arriving home, keep luggage and other belongings in the garage or on the porch. Remove washables and transfer them to a garbage bag before putting it in the washer.
Keep everything else outside until each item can be inspected and treated, if necessary.
How to Get Rid of Bed Bugs in Luggage
Several methods can help eliminate bed bugs in suitcases and other bags, but there is no replacing professional bed bug control.
First, use a stiff bristled brush to scrub every part of the luggage to dislodge bed bugs and eggs. Then vacuum the luggage thoroughly, focusing on each seam, nook, and pocket. Remove the vacuum bag or empty the cup and dispose of the content in a tightly sealed garbage bag.
After vacuuming the luggage, it is ideal to place it in a freezer, if possible, for a few days to kill everything.
If bed bugs are found, it is advisable to leave these items in a tightly sealed plastic bag until a professional pest control technician is able to mitigate the situation.
Inspect Your Home for Bed Bug Infestations
Checking your living space for evidence of a possible infestation can confirm that you’ve got a problem or give you some peace of mind. Common areas that should be carefully checked for live bugs, dead bed bugs, and eggs include:
- Mattresses and box springs, including the seams and near tags.
- Pillows, particularly seams and folds.
- Headboards and bed frames, especially cracks and crevices.
- In the seams and between/under cushions of all upholstered furniture.
- On the underside and in the folds of curtains and drapes.
- Loose or peeling wallpaper.
- Cracks near where the wall and ceiling meet.
- Behind pictures and other items on walls.
- Inside electrical receptacles and appliances.
Schedule a Free Bed Bug Inspection with Catseye Pest Control
If you find evidence of an infestation or want to get professional help, contact us.
Catseye has more than three decades of experience treating everything from bed bugs to wildlife infestations — and everything in between. Effective bed bug treatment starts with a free, detailed inspection that we use to create a custom plan to eliminate these bloodsucking pests.