Bed bugs don’t like freezing temperatures, but fall temperatures are an ideal environment for them to live—and for them to hitchhike home in your clothes or luggage.
And bed bugs are in high numbers during the fall because the high heat of summer speeds up their reproductive cycles. Therefore, because bed bugs live for months, some even longer than a year, the “baby boom” of the summer is at its mature peak during the fall.
So when you’re traveling this fall, it’s a good idea to follow these four tips:
1. Before accepting a hotel room, diligently inspect:
- The bed. This is the most likely place for bed bugs to be because it’s near their food source—the blood of sleeping humans.
- Chairs or sofas.
- Drawers and desks, particularly those near the bed.
- Behind pictures on the wall and along the frame.
- The luggage rack. This is where you’ll want to keep your luggage, but check every part of it first.
Bed bugs are flat and can fit into crevices no wider than credit-card thickness. So to adequately check for them, you’ll need to inspect every crack or crevice you can spot. Also pay close attention to seams along mattresses or cushions. And remember that when looking for bed bugs, you’re also looking for signs of them—discarded bed bugs skins, feces, eggs.
2. If you find any evidence of bed bugs, refuse to take the room and ask for another as far away from that room as possible. Once you get to the new room, you’ll need to inspect it just as you did the first room.
3. Even though you’ve inspected the room, assume you missed them and take precautions to avoid bed bugs getting into your clothes or luggage, such as keeping your clothes in sealable plastic bags.
4. When your trip is over immediately wash and dry your clothes on high heat to avoid bed bugs infesting your home,. Take dry-clean clothes straight to the cleaners before bringing them inside. Treat your luggage with heat by leaving it in a car in the sun on a warm day or, better yet, by using a portable heating unit into which you can place the luggage.