There are a lot of fun things you can bring back from a trip: a souvenir with a logo for the place you visited, something unique that can only be purchased from the area you went to, or even a t-shirt that says, "My parents visited such and such a place and all they got me was this dumb t-shirt." But, one thing that is never fun to bring back is bed bugs. That is why we've put together this easy-reference bed bug travel guide. We hope it helps you stay safe from these tormenting pests.
Bed Bug Identification Tips
No matter where you stay, no matter how clean, it is important to be able to identify bed bugs and signs of a bed bug infestation. Bed bugs have been found in 5-star accommodations. Recognizing these pests and the signs they leave around can keep those bugs from leaving painful, itchy welts on your skin, and from hitchhiking home with you.
Adult bed bugs: At full size, a bed bug is not much bigger than an apple seed. They also look a little bit like an apple seed. They are reddish-brown and somewhat oval in shape. The most noticeable characteristics of a bed bug are the horizontal indent lines on its large abdomen. These are seams that allow its abdomen to grow as it fills with blood.
Immature nymphs: When bed bugs first hatch, they aren't reddish brown, they are white, and mostly transparent. As they develop, they grow tan and less transparent. They don't become the recognizable rusty brown color until they are full adults.
Bed bugs that have recently fed: When a bed bug feeds, it becomes bloated and more of a pill shape. It is important to know what a bed bug looks like fed and unfed. It is also important to understand that adult bed bugs aren't likely to feed on you while you're awake. If you see a bed bug feeding on your skin, it is likely to be bright red from your blood, because immature nymphs are more transparent. It is also likely to only be about the size of the tip on a pen.
Bed bug eggs: Sometimes, you won't see bed bugs at all. You may only find eggs deposited by a bed bug. These tiny white eggs are about 1 mm long and can be in a small batch or littered about. Look for these eggs in the seams of luggage and bags or attached to clothing.
Bed bug signs: These bugs leave many signs to let you know they are around. Black streaks on sheets, pillow cases, outlet covers, alarm clocks, and on the stitching of upholstered furniture and mattress seams are common if bed bugs are present. Look for shed insect shells stuck to black patches in these areas or littered along floorboards. They also leave brown blood staining in all of these places.
Bed bug bites: If you see red welts that appear in a pattern of three bites in a line, take note. Most biting pests leave random bites because those bites are left by many insects biting only once. Bed bugs feed multiple times. Often three times. Entomologists jokingly refer to these bites as breakfast, lunch, and supper. A significant rash is also common with bed bugs bites.
Bed Bug Prevention Tips
Check for bugs before you travel. Websites like bedbugregistry.com are a good first step for protecting yourself from bugs when you travel.
Inspect your room. No matter where you stay, be sure to use a flashlight and do a quick search of your room for the signs listed above, even if you're staying at a friend's house or the home of a relative.
Don't leave clothes on the floor. Bed bugs lay their eggs in clothing left on the floor, especially if that clothing is moist.
Protect your luggage. Putting your luggage in a plastic bags can add a little more protection during your stay.
Put luggage on a luggage stand. If you open up your bags, consider using that luggage stand for more than just convenience.
When you get home, wash all your clothing and bedding with hot water.
What To Do If You Bring Bed Bugs Home
If bed bugs come home with you, call a professional. These are extremely difficult pests to get rid of without an education in bed bug entomology and bed bug control measures.
If you are in our New England service area, don't let the bed bugs bite. Contact Big Blue Bug Solutions for quick answers and immediate service.