As kids, our parents often tucked us into bed with the advice, “Don’t let the bedbugs bite!” But these days, getting bitten by a bed bug is no joking matter. Over the last decade, bed bugs have made a huge comeback, and one way they get around quickly is by hitching a ride with travelers.
According to AAA, 43.6 million Americans will be taking to the roads, skies and railways during the holiday season. Traveling is the fastest way bed bugs spread, no matter whether you’re staying at a five-star hotel, visiting relatives, or hosting friends and family yourself. If you or anyone you know will be among the season’s travelers, it’s important to be aware of bed bugs and know how to prevent them from invading your holiday.
Understanding bed bugs
Bed bugs can travel from place to place in luggage, on clothing and in personal belongings. Once inside a hotel or home, they can spread from room to room via furniture, pipes and even housekeeping devices like vacuum cleaners. Though bed bugs aren’t known to spread disease like other pests, they do leave itchy, bloody welts on human skin, so it’s important to keep them away from homes and businesses.
Bed bugs are flat, tiny insects with an oval shape and light tan to brown coloring—until after they bite, when they turn a reddish color. Adults are typically 3/16 of an inch long, about the size of an apple seed, while baby bed bugs are the size of a pin head. During the day, bed bugs disappear into mattresses, sheets and furniture, and hide behind baseboards and picture frames. They leave dark brown or red spots on surfaces, and in large infestations, bed bugs can create a musty, sweet odor like soda pop syrup.
S.L.E.E.P.: Bed bug precautions to remember
Travelers should check for signs of bed bugs anywhere they stay, and can prevent contact and travel with these pests by remembering the following S.L.E.E.P. tips from Orkin.
Keep bed bugs from biting
If you’d like to learn more about how to prevent bed bugs from becoming part of your holiday, visit Orkin.com . You’ll find a range of useful information to help identify and eliminate insect issues, including a pest library where you can look up any species you’ve spotted in or near your home. You can also locate a local Orkin pest control pro to help eliminate bed bugs, and arrange for a free pest control estimate.