The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) issues a warning to millions of Americans who plan to travel this summer — beware of the bed bug. The NPMA has seen a 71 percent increase in bed bug infestations since 2001, mainly due to international travel. These “hitchhiking” pests can easily travel home with people in their suitcases. While bed bugs do not transmit diseases, their bites can become red, itchy welts.
“Travelers can unknowingly bring bed bugs into their homes, giving the pests a new place to live and feed,” said Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. “Bed bugs multiply quickly and can be difficult to eliminate. We advise travelers to keep a few bed bug prevention tips in mind to avoid this most unwanted trip souvenir.”
A bed bug infestation is not a sign of unclean or unsanitary conditions. Bed bugs don’t discriminate and have been found in world class hotels and budget properties alike and wealthy neighborhoods as well as less affluent communities.
To prevent bed bug infestations, travelers should remember the following tips and check out this how-to video from NPMA:
· Pull back the hotel bed sheets and inspect the mattress seams, particularly the corners, for telltale brownish or reddish spots.
· Thoroughly inspect the entire room before unpacking. Do not put your luggage on the bed.
· If you change rooms, but choose to stay in the same establishment, be sure your new room is not adjacent to the possibly infested room.
· Use a large plastic bag to store your luggage.
· When you return home, inspect and vacuum your suitcases thoroughly before bringing them into the house.
· Wash all your clothes — whether worn or not — in hot water.
· If you suspect a bed bug infestation, contact a licensed pest professional.
For more information on bed bugs or to find a pest professional, please visit: www.pestworld.org.