Avoiding Bed Bugs When Traveling

Even nice hotels can fall victim to bed bugs.

Bed Bugs Like to Be Where You Are

If you travel, you may have already heard: Bed bugs have checked into hotels across the country. Stories like that don't make for a good night's sleep.

While the occurrence of bed bugs is quite rare, they can spread easily, so it's a good idea to know what to do in case you encounter them. As you pack for your next trip, here are a few tips to keep you from bringing home a few unwanted souvenirs.

How Bed Bugs Make a Living

Unlike fleas and lice, which like to ride around on their food, bed bugs prefer to eat and run. They hide in little crevices and cracks, waiting for a warm-blooded mammal (i.e., you) to pass by or lie down to sleep. When the lights go out, the feast begins. Once dinner is over, they scurry back to their hiding places before the lights come back on. Their habit of dining in the dark makes it difficult for bed bug hunters (again, you) to find them. So you will need a strategy.

Look for Signs of Bed Bugs

As you unlock the door to your hotel room, you may notice an odd odor. If you know your spices, the smell is something like coriander or cilantro.

That's a hint that bed bugs might be in your room, but you will need more conclusive evidence. Start first with the mattress and box springs. Be sure to check all the seams and folds. Also look in the corners of drawers, along the baseboards, behind the headboard and bed frame. Don't forget to look behind that lovely picture of Venice at sunset on the wall. You will be looking not only for the bug itself but also for any black dots and cast-off skins. If you see any of these signs, it's time to find another hotel. Fast.

An Alternate Scenario: Night Bites

But, let's say the hotel smells fresh, the baseboards are clean, and you blissfully fall asleep. Bed bugs may have infested the room next door and can go through the cracks between walls as they search for food (you). So when you wake up, be sure to check yourself over for any insect bites on your body that weren't there the night before.

How to Protect Yourself from Bed Bugs

If you're afraid of bed bugs hitchhiking home on your luggage during your next vacation, here are some tips. Protect your luggage from bed bugs by treating the outside seams with Ortho® Home Defense Max® Bed Bug Killer before you leave. When you arrive at you hotel, place your luggage in the bathtub or bathroom of your hotel room. Bed bugs are less effective at traveling up slippery surfaces like tile. Use the Ortho® Home Defense Max® Bed Bug Trap to check your room for bed bugs. Activate the trap, place it near or under the bed, and leave the room for an hour (have dinner, shop, or explore). When you return, check the trap; if bed bugs are present, push down the trap's window and notify the front desk.

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