The following protocol should be utilized by the traveling public when traveling and upon returning home.
This protocol makes no assumptions as to whether the traveler was or wasn’t exposed to bed bugs during the course of the trip. Every traveller should assume they have been exposed. If you are positive you were exposed, then it is paramount that you follow this protocol and use common sense to discourage bed bugs from finding your bed. Remember bed bugs have evolved without any ability to find a bed, only the ability to use YOU to eventually introduce itself to YOUR bed. Bed bugs cannot create ensuing generations to plague man without finding places that people frequent to sleep or rest for long periods of time. Beds are the obvious, but recliners, couches, and seats used in continual or long distance travel such as planes, trains and buses can also maintain a bed bug population. As a general rule, a bed bug egg is laid in the immediate vicinity where the adult female last found food, and usually in the same place where she always found her food..human blood! The hatchling (juvenile bed bug) has been more or less imprinted with the sense to stay put and wait for its host (MAN) to return to its sleeping/resting spot. Although bed bugs can travel and move on their own volition, going on a search for man beyond his normal resting place is totally a waste of its energy and will not help that bed bug to be successful. (These are general statements based on the average infestation and normal healthy living conditions that most people live under and expect.)
ONLY YOU CAN ASSURE THE BED BUG’S SUCCESS by not following the protocol that follows.
UPON RETURNING HOME:
- Upon return never take your luggage into your bedroom to unpack!
- Open your luggage in your laundry area and wash all clothing including what you wore home in hot water. If laundering cannot be immediately done, place all items in a tightly sealed plastic garbage bag.
- Place all your empty luggage in tightly sealed plastic garbage bags and place them where they are normally stored.
- Shoes and other non-washable items can be individually inspected, cleaned, bagged, even frozen if necessary, and not stored in the bedroom.
- Before using your own bed, make sure you have bathed thoroughly and your bed clothes are fresh.
- Educate yourselves on bed bugs. Remember no hotel is immune from bedbugs. When traveling or at home, be aware of the signs of infestation.
- Look for evidence of tiny blood spots on your sheets these spots may be dark in color due to digested blood in the form of bedbug feces.
- Check your mattress and box spring by removing your bedding and look for bedbugs as well as any fecal stains. Usually the mattress and box spring fringe or label area are good places to look. Remember bed bugs can be seen with the naked eye, however eggs and first stage juveniles are very difficult to see.
- Do not rely totally on physical evidence as bed bugs are very cryptic and most humans don’t normally feel or react to bed bug bites. Media photos misrepresent by using sensational examples.
- If you positively ID a bed bug or think you have something, save it and show it to management. Remember this is not the end of the world and in most cases the hotel is as much a victim as you are! They have procedures to help you to get through it.
- Use common sense and follow the protocol. Don’t panic or dwell on the problem beyond doing what you should do. Unfortunately bed bugs, once a thing of the past have returned because we forgot about them. We’ve become more worldly in our travels, changed our habits and limited treatment options to aid and abet the success of the lowly bed bug. The days of Moms tucking their children into bed with the comforting saying….”Goodnight…..don’t let the bed bugs bite!” finally makes sense!
*Note: This protocol was written by a person that has 35 years experience
in the pest control industry and has purposefully slept in beds with bed bugs and has raised many generations of bed bugs on his own blood for the sake of seeking knowledge. That’s me, and to this day I have not introduced them to my own bed. (My wife is happy about that!) I also follow this protocol when I travel.