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How to Prevent Bringing Bed Bugs Home From Travels

How to Prevent Bringing Bed Bugs Home From Travels

Know Before You Go: Bed Bug Travel Tips

Before we know it, summer will be here and millions of people around the country will begin packing their bags to have some fun in the sun. Before embarking on vacations, many of these travelers will create a travel checklist to help them prepare for hitting the road. While packing sunscreen, turning off lights, cleaning out the fridge and locking doors are all likely to make the list, it’s also important for travelers to bring along another type of list to use before and after unpacking from their trips — the bed bug prevention checklist.

Even the most seasoned travelers are at a higher risk of encountering bed bugs when traveling because these blood-sucking pests are excellent hitchhikers and are easily transported from one place to another in human belongings like suitcases. As a result, bed bugs continue to remain a problem in lodging facilities. In fact, 75 percent of pest professionals have treated bed bugs in hotels and motels, according to the 2013 Bugs Without Borders Survey conducted by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and the University of Kentucky.

All travelers will benefit from a little bed bug know-how to help ensure they don’t bring them home as an unwanted souvenir. If you and your family are planning on getting away this summer, here is your bed bug prevention checklist:

When You Arrive At The Hotel

  • Thoroughly inspect the entire room before unpacking, including behind the headboard, under lights, and inside dressers, drawers, sofas and chairs.
  • Pull back the sheets and inspect the mattress seams and box springs, particularly at the corners, for pepper-like stains, spots or shed bed bug skins.
  • Place suitcase in a plastic trash bag during the duration of your trip to ensure that bed bugs cannot take up residence there prior to departure.
  • Do not place luggage on upholstered surfaces. The safest place is in the bathroom in the middle of a tile floor or on a luggage rack after it has been thoroughly inspected. Do not use a luggage rack if it has hollow legs, where bed bugs may hide unseen.

If You Suspect Bed Bugs Are In Your Hotel Room

  • Notify management and request to change rooms immediately.
  • Do not move to a room adjacent and/or directly above/below the suspected infestation. Bed bugs can easily hitchhike via housekeeping carts, luggage and even through wall sockets. If an infestation is spreading, it typically does so in the rooms closest to the origin.

When You Arrive Home

  • Inspect your suitcases outdoors before bringing them into the house.
  • Vacuum your suitcase thoroughly before storing it. Consider using a garment hand steamer to steam your luggage, which can kill any bed bugs or eggs that may have traveled home with you.
  • Wash and dry all of your clothes – even those that have not been worn – on hot cycles.
  • Keep clothes that go to the dry cleaner in a sealed plastic bag until they can be transported.

If you get settled back in at home following a trip and suspect that you may have brought some hitchhiking bed bugs back with you, contact a licensed pest professional in a timely manner. Bed bugs are not a DIY pest and should be left to a professional.

Looking for more information on bed bugs? Check out this Pest ID card or visit AllThingsBedBugs.org for a plethora of bed bug resources.

Florida bed bug control questions

Answers to your Florida bed bug control questions:

What do bedbugs look like?

They are brown, about a quarter of an inch in diameter, and look like an apple seed or a lentil.

Has there really been a resurgence in bedbugs in the U.S. and how do you know?

There HAS been an increase in bedbug infestations.  Pest control companies who received 1 or 2 bedbug calls a year are now reporting 1 to 2 each week. According to 2010 research conducted by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and the University of Kentucky, 95% of pest control companies report encountering a bed bug infestation in the past year. Prior to 2000, only 25% of pest control companies surveyed had encountered a bed bug infestation.

In addition, another survey by NPMA found that one in five Americans has had a bed bug infestation in their home or knows someone who has encountered bed bugs at home or in a hotel.

Where have you been finding the bedbugs?

These pests are not limited to any one specific type of environment. Pest control companies have been reporting infestations in both single and multi-family housing, apartments, hotels, hospitals, college dormitories, public transportation, laundry facilities and even movie theaters.

What states have been affected?

Pest control companies have reported bed bug activity on a national scale.  Bedbugs are being found from the East to the West Coast; and everywhere in between. Every state has reported bedbug infestations.

Why are bedbugs so hard to treat?

Bedbugs should NOT be equated with filth or sanitation problems — in hotels or in homes, for that matter. Bedbugs are VERY elusive, transient and nocturnal pests. They are often found in other areas besides the bed, and they are hardy.  They can live for a year or more without eating and can withstand a wide range of temperatures from nearly freezing to 122 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bedbugs CAN be controlled with vigilance, constant inspection and treatment by professional pest control companies.

What can a consumer do to protect themselves from bedbug infestations?

To prevent bedbug infestations, consumers need to be vigilant in assessing their surroundings. When returning from a trip, check your luggage and clothing.  If you think you may have a bedbug infestation, contact a pest control professional.  This is not a pest that can be controlled with do-it-yourself measures. To find a pest control professional in your area you can visit pestworld.org.

Why are bedbugs an issue for hotels, visitors, and homeowners?

Bedbugs leave itchy, bloody welts on human skin. Adult bedbugs can live for a year without eating, making them especially hard to control.  Once inside a hotel or home, bedbugs spread rapidly from room to room – through pipes, in vacuum cleaners, on clothing and luggage. In a hotel, bedbugs can even spread to neighboring rooms, since guests are may end up moving to another room.

Are bedbugs just in beds?

Bedbugs are not just in beds.  They can be in chair cushions, sofas, behind electrical outlets, cracks and crevices around baseboards, or even behind picture frames. In other words, they can live pretty much anywhere.

How does one control bedbugs?

Any effective bedbug control strategy should start with a careful, thorough inspection by a pest control professional of all known and suspected spots where the bugs may be harboring. This is not a pest that can be controlled effectively with do-it-yourself measures.  As they are discovered, the pest control professional will develop a treatment and control strategy with the customer depending on the extent of the infestation.

UF Study Reveals Bed Bug Feeding Patterns

UF Study Reveals Bed Bug Feeding Patterns

Researchers at the University of Florida examined the feeding patterns of bed bugs — and the impact they can have on humans’ blood after several months. Their research was published in the journal Medical and Veterinary Entomology. Via: PCT

Researchers at the University of Florida examined the feeding patterns of bed bugs — and the impact they can have on humans’ blood after several months. Their research was published in the journal Medical and Veterinary Entomology.

The study shows that bed bugs will have a bigger or a smaller bloodmeal depending on when they last fed. For example, if bed bugs are fed every day, they have 1.5 times fewer instances of eating than those only fed occasionally, researchers found.

Researchers also found that production of bed bug eggs is linked with how much blood the bed bugs were able to consume the week prior.

“Longer and more frequent feedings increased egg production, which would allow a faster growth of bed bug populations,” they wrote in the study. “The increase in bed bug populations obtained with more frequent and longer feedings can be the difference between a population that barely survives at a location and a thriving population.”

Researchers conducted their study by letting bed bugs feed on chickens (both chickens and humans are known to be great “feeding hosts” for bed bugs).

Download the article at
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2915.2012.01057.x/abstract.

Tips to keep you bed bug free during school

  • Fully inspect your suitcases prior to re-packing for a return to school, especially if you have traveled during the summer. Be sure that any clothes that may have been previously packed in the suitcase have been washed and dried in hot temperatures .
  • Before putting your sheets on your dormitory bed, inspect the mattress seams, particularly at the corners, for telltale stains or spots. Thoroughly inspect the entire room before unpacking, including behind the headboard and in sofas/chairs.
  • If you are considering bringing “secondhand” furniture to campus, properly inspect it to insure that a pest problem, such as bed bugs, is not the reason for its “secondhand” status. If you see anything suspect, do not bring it to campus.

Visit http://site1.das-group.com/commercial_pest_control/bed-bug-control.asp?type=commercial to learn more about bed bug control

 

Everyday Bed Bug Prevention Tips

Everyday Bed Bug Prevention Tips

It is important to be aware of ways to prevent bed bugs in your everyday life. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Vacuum suitcases after returning from a vacation.
  • Check your sheets for tell-tale blood spots.
  • Consider bringing a large plastic trashbag to keep your suitcase in during hotel stays.
  • Carry a small flashlight to assist you with quick visual inspections.
  • Never bring second-hand furniture, especially mattresses and box springs, into a home without thoroughly examining for signs of a bed bug infestation. You might consider having a pest control professional inspect the furniture as it is difficult to detect an infestation without training.
  • Regularly inspect areas where pets sleep for signs of bed bugs.
  • Bed bugs are elusive creatures, so it is imperative to seek professional pest control assistance to address an infestation.

Monkeypox Scare is an Important Bed Bug Reminder for Travelers

EMaxHealth.com: Monkeypox Scare is an Important Bed Bug Reminder for Travelers

Last Thursday, health officials tipped off by an overly-concerned mother that her daughter flying-in from Africa may have picked up a contagious disease, placed a 2-hour quarantine on a Delta plane in Chicago. What was presumed to be a possible case of monkey pox evidenced by a rash on the passenger’s skin turned out to be nothing more than probable bed bug bites.

Monkeypox infection appears as a rash that consists of raised, blister-like bumps, and is usually accompanied by fever, headache and lymph node swelling. Bed bug bites, however, can cause a swollen and reddened area that may or may not be itchy, and without the other symptoms of monkeypox.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, monkeypox is a rare and sometimes fatal disease similar to smallpox that occurs primarily in central and western Africa. Monkeypox is contracted through direct contact with infected animals or their bodily fluids, and can spread among humans through fluids and contaminated clothes or bedding.

In this case, potential bed bug-contaminated clothes in the traveler’s luggage may be the endnote for her quarantine ordeal and one that many other travelers will face this summer.

To help prevent bringing bed bugs as unwanted souvenirs from your next trip, the following biology lesson and tips on bed bug removal from your luggage will keep you and your family bed bug free.

Bed Bug Basic Biology

Bed bugs are oval, flattened, brown, and wingless insects approximately 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch long. Young bed bugs are much smaller at approximately 1/16 of an inch when they first hatch and are colorless until they begin feeding. After an adult bed bug has taken a blood meal from an unsuspecting traveler, its color will change from brown to a dark purple-red and will grow in size morphing into a more elongated cigar-like shape. The presence of bed bugs in a hotel room may be noted by fecal spotting consisting of digested blood and skin castings the bugs shed while growing.

Bed bugs are active reproducers and according to one expert if 40 bed bugs are released into a room, their population will reach over 5,000 bugs in 6 months.

Bed Bug Hiding Places

Bed bugs will seek out beds, clothing and other areas where they sense a potential blood meal may be present. However, visually checking a bed before lying down is no guarantee that your bed or room is bug-free as bed bugs have a penchant for hiding in dark, recessed areas such as cracks and crevices in floors, closets, mattresses and…your luggage were clothing is stored. However, while many are tempted to throw out or burn their luggage in cases of suspected bed bug infestation rather than risk bringing it into their home, experts say that such measures are unnecessary as long as precautions are taken.

Bed Bug Precaution Tips

Tip #1: Bag it

Packing your clothes in zip lock bags before embarking on a trip is a good way to keep bed bugs out of your clothing during travel. Furthermore, placing color-sorted soiled clothing back into the zip lock bags before returning home limits the chances that you will deposit bed bugs in your home. Upon returning home, leave your suitcase outside and carry the pre-sorted clothing directly to the clothes washer before opening.

Tip #2: Wash and dry on high

Heat is your friend when it comes to bedbugs. When washing, set the washer and dryer cycles for the hottest settings that the fabric can withstand. If some articles of clothing cannot take high temperatures, consider going to the dry cleaner and let them know about your bed bug concerns with your clothing.

Tip #3: Skip insecticides for elbow grease

Suitcases pose a special problem as they typically do not fit in washers very well and provide lots of crevices for bed bugs to hide in. Spraying with insecticides can be effective, but may also cause staining and leave behind chemical odors that you will not want on your clothing during your next trip. Experts advise hand-washing suitcases outside the house using soap and the hottest water possible. A target temperature of 100°F to 120°F should be sufficient to kill all bed bug life forms from eggs to adults. Use a scrub brush along the seams and folds to ensure that you are getting to hidden bugs.

Tip #4: Heat or freeze

For luggage or other items that cannot be washed, you may want to consider heating or freezing the bed bugs to death. If the item’s materials can handle it and are not easily combustible, some experts recommend placing the items in an oven heated to a temperature of 120-150 degrees Fahrenheit. Some studies have shown that a 2-hour core exposure at 120°F should be considered as a minimum target temperature for heat treatments-the hotter the temperature, the shorter the “baking” time.

Freezing is another option for items that cannot be washed. However, using the home freezer takes longer than baking it in the oven as a minimum of 23°F must be maintained for at least 5 days.

The thing to remember (aside from safety) is that with heating or freezing, the entire item must reach the temperatures and exposure times recommended to ensure all stages of bed bugs and their eggs are being adequately exposed to result in complete extermination.

While following the tips with every trip may seem to be more hassle than the perceived risk of picking up bed bugs at your hotel or resort this summer, consider the cost and inconvenience if your house or apartment were to become home to these unwanted guests.

It’s Bed Bug Awareness Week – Brush Up On Information Before Vacation

It’s Bed Bug Awareness Week – Brush Up On Information Before Vacation

The National Pest Management Association reminds the public to be vigilant about bed bugs

As part of National Pest Management Month, which has been celebrated in April for more than 30 years, the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) is marking the week of April 22 – 28 as Bed Bug Awareness Week. As people begin to move about more frequently in the warmer months and embark on summer vacations, the NPMA is spreading awareness, promoting public vigilance and providing essential prevention advice about bed bugs.

Bed bugs are still a problem in America. A survey of pest professionals conducted by the NPMA and the University of Kentucky in 2011, found that bed bug encounters have become more common in public places than in previous years; in some cases, the numbers of professionals who reported treating certain types of businesses and commercial facilities saw double digit growth from the prior year,” said Missy Henriksen, NPMA’s vice president of public affairs.

“With summer travel around the corner, NPMA reminds travelers to arm themselves with bed bug knowledge and prevention tips. A watchful eye can go a long way in preventing an infestation upon returning home,” advised Henriksen.

The NPMA recommends the following bed bug prevention tips when traveling:

  • At hotels, pull back sheets and inspect mattress seams, for telltale bed bug stains. Inspect the entire room before unpacking, including sofas and chairs and behind the headboard. Notify management of anything suspect and change rooms or establishments immediately.
  • If you need to change rooms, don’t move to a room adjacent or directly above or below the suspected infestation.
  • Keep suitcases in plastic trash bags or protective covers during your stay to prevent bed bugs from nesting there.
  • When home, inspect suitcases before bringing them into the house and vacuum them before storing.
  • Wash all clothes – even those not worn – in hot water to eliminate any bed bugs and their eggs.

For more information, photos and videos of bed bugs, please visit allthingsbedbugs.org

The NPMA, a non-profit organization with more than 7,000 members, was established in 1933 to support the pest management industry’s commitment to the protection of public health, food and property

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