Over half of pest service pros report getting the most bed bug calls in the summer months, according to a survey in 2018 from the National Pest Management Association (NPMA). With travel at fault for many of these sudden bed bug infestations, take a look at what you need to know about reducing the risks of these bugs before, during, and after your summer vacation.

Research the Resort

Does your hotel of choice have a history of sending guests home with uninvited hitchhikers? Hotels rank in the top three places pest control professionals report finding bed bugs, according to the NPMA survey.

Even though you can’t guarantee a hotel won’t have bed bugs (or any other pests), researching reviews can help to minimize the chances of picking the wrong place to stay. Read reviews online and talk to friends or family who’ve stayed at the hotel. If a hotel, motel, or resort has a history of bed bug infestation or several past guests cited this as a problem, avoid the establishment entirely.

Pack Plenty of Plastic

Bed bugs don’t magically appear in hotel rooms. Instead, guests bring these pests in. This makes it possible for even the best-reviewed hotel to get an instant infestation.

Reduce the likelihood of bringing someone else’s bed bugs home with you by packing plastic. Before leaving for your destination, carefully wrap your suitcases in bags or a plastic case. If you keep your belongings safely covered by bug-proof plastic for the entirety of your trip, bed bugs won’t have a chance to return home with you.

Inspect Everything

Sometimes, despite all of the previous mentioned tips, your room may still have an infestation. How can you tell if your hotel room has bed bugs? The only way to know for sure is through a thorough inspection. While it’s not realistic to bring your pest control tech with you (or request some from the hotel), you can check the room yourself.

Signs of a bed bug infestation include:

  • The presence of the bugs. Bed bugs are small-sized brownish/reddish bugs that look like tiny apple seeds. These pests are notoriously creative hiders. Look on mattress (especially along the seams), in or on other furniture, around outlets, or on/in the carpet.

  • Stains on sheets or the mattress. Rusty stains or streaks can indicate the presence of bed bugs. These marks are left behind by crushed bugs.

  • Dark spots. Bed bug excrement is small, dark, and about the size of a period at the end of a sentence.

  • Eggshells and skins. Tiny pieces of yellow or cream-colored shells or skins may litter a bed bug-infested area. These are the remnants of eggshells and skins that the bugs shed.

If you see any (or all) of these signs, ask for a new room immediately — preferably in a different area of the hotel or a few floors away. Don’t unpack your suitcase, use towels/linens, or sit on the furniture. When you get to your new room, repeat the inspection.

Unpack Wisely

Prevent a possible infestation by assuming you may have brought the bugs back with you. To decrease the risk of transporting these pests into your home:

  • Wash everything in hot water. Wash all clothes, linens, and towels in hot soapy water — whether you wore/used them during your trip or not.

  • Dry everything on high heat. After washing what you’ve unpacked, dry it on a high heat setting.

  • Vacuum your suitcase. Clean your suitcase thoroughly, paying attention to the seams .

Stay alert for infestation signs in your own home. If you see the bugs, their skins/shells, excrement, or reddish marks on sheets and upholstery, or you have mysterious bites, call a pest control professional to eliminate the issue as soon as possible.

Do you have a summer bed bug infestation? Contact Environmental Services Pest Control, LLC , for more information.