Today we are featuring Karen Barnes, writer for bedbugs.org, which has some useful tips on how to deal with these nasty pests. Karen enjoys regular short breaks away and always takes precautions to avoid coming into contact with bedbugs whilst traveling on public transport.
Whether staying in a cabin on the lake or a chalet in the mountains, vacation rentals can be a great way to save money on a family vacation. These accommodations are usually nicer than a hotel or inn and often give greater access to desired activities and areas of interest. While vacation rentals are rarely reported to have problems with bedbugs, it might be wise for travelers to become more knowledgeable about this insect and the most likely places that it might be found, to avoid bringing any unwanted guests home with them.
Bedbugs are tiny parasitic bugs that feast on human blood and dead skin cells. Although these pests were almost eradicated in industrial societies by the 1950s, they have made a great comeback since the turn of the century. These bugs must have transport to move from one place to another, and they do this by attaching to skin, hair, clothing, bags, or pets. While bedbug bites rarely cause major medical issues, the rash is unsightly and can sometimes itch so badly that the constant scratching results in infection.
Because bedbugs have been discovered in even the most fastidious brand-name department stores and on public transportation, it is a great idea for every traveler to take them seriously. Because conventional insect repellents do not affect bedbugs, the following tips may prevent you from transporting these creepy little critters from a plane or train into a vacation rental and also ensure that none of them go home with you:
- Do not travel in shoes made of cloth or canvas.
- Never place purses or bags on upholstered or carpeted areas.
- Be prepared to place a sheet of plastic between you and any upholstered seat.
- Take several zippered bags so that any shopping purchases can be secured until you get them home to run them through a hot water washing and dryer session.
- Always use the luggage rack provided or place suitcases on a tiled area.
- Inspect any upholstery and bedding for signs of bedbugs and especially any red or brown specks that might indicate the presence of these pests.
After Returning Home
Even if you have not seen a bedbug during your trip, these sneaky little devils have a way of finding a way into your own house once your vacation is over. The precautionary measures should keep this from happening:
- Unload and unpack everything in an uncarpeted area.
- Take anything that can be washed and dried straight to the laundry area for immediate treatment at the highest temperatures possible.
- Enclose mattresses and pillows in zippered cases for at least two weeks after you return from travel.
- Do periodic checks of carpeting, mattress and curtain seams, and upholstered furnishing for the next month to catch any early signs of a bedbug invasion.
- Check pets carefully before allowing them to reenter your home, or house them in the garage for several days until you are sure they are bedbug free.
It is easier to prevent bedbugs from entering your home than it is to get rid of them once they have arrived and set up shop. Once an infestation is active, it may take a professional exterminator to solve the bedbug problem. Pre-emptive action should ensure that you do not bring bedbugs home with you after a wonderful family vacation.