We all know how disgusting and traumatic bed bugs can be. They cause anxiety, panic and can be extremely difficult to get rid of. They seem to infect every corner of the Earth and love a good trip. The key to never getting bed bugs is understanding how to search, identify and prevent them. This bed bug prevention guide provided by Bed Bug Force NYC illustrates some of the basic precautions to take when traveling and how to handle your luggage upon arrival at hotels and when you're coming home.
Obviously, to be able to prevent bed bugs you need to know what they look like and how to identify them. The main ways to identify if there is a bed bug problem is by looking around the bed and mattress seams for black specks that seem to resemble pepper flakes. These are bed bug feces and are a sure sign that there is a bed bug presence. Bed bugs themselves are rather flat with a slight elliptical shape to them with a reddish-brown color. They are usually no bigger than an apple seed in size.
There are some basic things you should do before embarking on your trip like:
Pack a flashlight - You'll need one to inspect for bed bugs in your hotel room and around the bed where you plan on sleeping.
Use a hardshell or collapsible suitcase - Hardshells usually are easy to clean and don't have seams where bed bugs can hide. If a hard-shell isn't possible than a collapsible type suitcase is another option as these can be washed easily upon arriving home.
Bring a plastic bag (optional) - If you want to be extra careful, bring a large garbage bag to put your suitcase in during your trip. This will make it even more difficult for bed bugs to get into your luggage.
Read reviews carefully - Of course doing your due diligence on any place you plan on staying in is paramount. Any reviews that mention bed bugs should be taken seriously. Avoid any place with reviews mentioning bed bugs at any point during the establishment's history, even if the review is old.
Upon arriving at your hotel, hostel or wherever you're staying immediately put your luggage in a bathroom during the inspection process. Bathrooms are much safer to store your luggage in since they are usually full of slippery surfaces and tiles that bed bugs do not like. This will give you some time to inspect your room thoroughly before bringing your luggage into the actual hotel room main area.
You'll want to be as thorough as possible with your inspection of your room. Areas you'll want to check are:
Once you've determined that room is clear, you can bring your luggage out from the bathroom into your room. Even though you may think that you are clear if you didn't see anything during your inspection, you still want to be careful. Keep all of your luggage off of the floors, preferably on a desk or table that can't easily be climbed up on from the ground.
Bed bugs are hitchhikers and they love to travel. That means that they can also end up in rental cars and get into any items you may have stored in the trunk or inside the car. After picking up your rental, do a quick sweep of the trunk, inside and tire areas to ensure there are no bed bugs hiding out in the rental. Check under spare tires as well for any remnants of past or present bed bug infestations.
Never assume that you came home bed-bug free. It's always best to assume that you DID come home with bed bugs and get in the habit of handling your items as such upon arriving home. Some basic things to do when you're coming home from your trip include:
Wash all your clothing in hot water. Even the clothing you didn't wear. - If any bed bugs slipped in during any point of your trip, they will be killed during the wash.
Before bringing your luggage into your home, do a thorough inspection outside with a flashlight and a keen eye. The last thing you want to do is bring a single bed bug into your home from not checking your luggage thoroughly. You'll want to inspect all necessary parts of your suitcase where bed bugs may be hiding such as:
After following these basic steps and educating yourself on how to identify bed bugs and prevent them, you'll be able to travel the world and have peace of mind knowing that your chances of bringing bed bugs home with you are very slim. Staying alert and being diligent in your efforts will ensure you have many safe travels that are free of bed bugs. Check out the infographic below that helps illustrate the bed bug prevention process. And of course for any bed bug related situations be sure to talk to an expert at Bulwark Exterminating for possible bed bug treatment options.
Bulwark Exterminating created this video with AJ Richards testing bug repellent against bed bugs. Could the solution to the EPA spending $550,000 on research be that simple? Does bug repellent prevent bed bugs? 1st test is in and the results look promising. Bedbug repellent just might solve the nation's woes of the spreading bedbug epidemic. From the bedbug dog sniffing team in Phoenix AZ, and your local pest control company, Bulwark Exterminating, this is one video you will want to watch. Wouldn't it be great to know that bug repellent can keep your home bedbug free? After round one the results seem positive. The second part of this video we test the repellent after a short feeding to see if it works again. AJ Richards, owner of K9 Bedbug Inspectors, allowed this common bed bugto latch onto his untreated forearm. The bug did indeed begin the blood sucking process. Richards then moved the bug to his opposite arm treated with an advanced formula insect repellent, containing 7% Picaridin. The bed bug scattered around Richards’ arm, refusing to attach itself. Once returned to the original untreated arm, the tiny insect immediately resumed its feeding.
The bedbug did indeed avoid the sprayed arms on both test subject. Well call me crazy, but carrying some bug repellent in my suitcase is now a no-brainer. Spraying down my luggage with bedbug repellent? Yep. Spraying down my clothes prior to going to a movie theater that doesn't carry a bedbug inspection seal? Yep. I would even consider spraying myself down prior to ridding a mass transit vehicle at night, airplanes included. Getting a bedbug infestation is not an enjoyable experience. Treating a bedbug infestation can cost a couple of thousand dollars. Yes, two successful trials, and our hopes are soaring. Bedbug repellent here we come. But this is just the preliminary tests. We are currently under way testing how long the repellent will be effective in detouring the bed bugs. Will it last through the night? Is it only affective for 10 minutes?
Bed Bug Professionals: AJ Richards: There he moved again. When he finishes a capillary and drains a capillary, he’ll move to another spot. It’s probably not smart of me to move him again because now I have two big welts, but can you see that? If you look from the side, you can see him looking straight down in and his sucker’s stabbed right into me right now. Cameraman: I can see it from here. I’m not sure if the picture, if the camera can pick it up. Thomas: I think you’re the sucker, I don’t think he’s the sucker. *Laughs* Look at that. I think he’s getting a little fatter. AJ: Oh! I’m feeling that one. That one hurt. If I was asleep, I probably wouldn’t have felt it, but I’m watching him so I can definitely feel it inside there. I’ll let it go long enough if you want to see it fill up. He’ll go to twice his size. Thomas: Don’t we already have a video of that? AJ: We did a baby, so it wasn’t as visible. Thomas: Oh yeah. This is an adult right here, huh? AJ: Yep. If you watch his color change, he used to have just one brown spot right down the center. See how it’s filling up? Thomas: And that’s your blood filling up in there, huh? AJ Richards: Yep, that’s all blood. Thomas: If you blow on him right now, is it going to bother him? AJ: I don’t know, try it. Thomas: No, doesn’t seem to care. AJ: So, a feeding, a typical feeding actually would take about fifteen minutes. Thomas: Fifteen minutes? AJ: Uh huh. For him to get completely engorged, fifteen minutes. So, he’ll feed, drain a capillary, move, feed, drain a capillary, that’s why a lot of times… Thomas: I know that fifteen is like the max on You Tube. AJ: Yeah, I do know, so we can… Thomas: I just don’t think that’s going to work. AJ: Maybe we can do a time lapse, huh? *Laughs* Thomas: A time lapse. *Laughs* AJ: Uh, but uh, that’s why when you’ll see typical markings from a bed bug is in a line. Usually three or four, because they’re cleaning out a capillary, they’re dropping down, you know, stick it in another capillary, draining it until they’re full, so, um, and once they feed, they actually won’t need to feed for uh, you know, about three or four days. Thomas: So, what do you think? Do you think the bug repellent worked then, pretty good? AJ: I would say it did. Cameraman: They have to eat that often? Thomas: Should we try the other arm? AJ: Yeah. Well, no, they don’t have to eat that often. Yeah, let’s see if we can confirm it. Thomas: Let’s go ahead and spray this arm over here. AJ: They don’t have to feed that long. Put it right there. Thomas: Very good. I gotcha, right here. AJ: Oops, thanks man. Thomas: Dude, do you feel these things, dude? That’s nice. AJ: Popeye. *Laughs* Thomas: Woo hoo! AJ: Making me feel weird. Thomas: That’s what the arm will do for you. I know, sorry. AJ: *Laughs* Thomas: At least it’s not sun tanning oil or something all over you, AJ. AJ: Right. That’s not too bad. Thomas: He’s getting pretty big, dude, he might not even want to feed at this point, I guess, but... AJ: Well, we’ll try. He’ll double in size and, and he doesn’t know when his next meal is, so I would actually speculate that he’ll keep going as long as the blood meal’s there, until he’s full. So, let’s see if we can bring him over here. Thomas: Just put the paper down and see if he even crawls off. Look at that, he seriously doesn’t… AJ Richards: He’s refusing it. Thomas: Yeah, I bet if you put the paper back up there, he’ll climb up on the paper, too. AJ Richards: Notice the shape change? He’s a little bit more elongated…. Thomas: Yeah, put him back over again, see if he feeds again. AJ: …than he was when he started. He was a little more round. And that’s very common, they go from more of a tick shape to, the call it a cigar shape. Thomas: Look at that, dude. AJ Richards: He’s feeding upside down. Thomas: Yeah, AJ Richards: Can you see that? Cameraman: Not really well in the camera, but yeah. AJ: Look at that. Thomas: Yeah, he full on, just, the repellent, the bug repellent works. AJ: Yeah. That’s copyrighted, by the way. *Laughs* Thomas: Yeah, first, you heard it here first. AJ: Bed bug repellent coming your way. Thomas: That’s right. Cameraman: That’s really cool. Thomas: We’re going to insert it into some fragrance so that we have fragrance kind. AJ: Yeah. Thomas: I’m thinking like, uh, CK One, we’ll call it K-9 One. AJ: K-9 One, there you go. AJ: You know, an application, really, the only application for something like that would be, you’ve got them at your house, or you’re paranoid, so maybe you want to spray yourself down, or an inspector, myself. Knowing that that works, I’m going to be soaked in bed bug repellent as I go in to do inspections because, that’s actually… Thomas: Yeah, I went in there with you yesterday, and I, so the reason why this all started is I went in there with him yesterday and my wife would kill me, I mean just kill me if… AJ Richards: If he brought those home. Thomas: Yeah, exactly. Not only that, but the house we went to was pretty, pretty bad, I mean, really bad, I mean, we’ve got some footage we’ll show you on that, but I didn’t want to get any, so I sprayed myself down. And AJ didn’t believe, didn’t know it’d work or not, but he still would’ve… AJ: I played it safe, didn’t I? *Laughs* Thomas: Yeah, you’re not going to take any chances, are you? AJ: No. Thomas: I mean, if there’s a chance it’s going to work… AJ Richards: Yeah. Thomas: So, there you go. AJ Richards: Spray it on my shoes and the bottom of my pants. Thomas: I just might be using this to, uh, using this anytime I go to the movies, theaters now, or in hotels. AJ Richards: In hotels, yeah. Thomas: Why take a risk, I mean, that’s like, if you get a bed bug infestation in your home, it’s a couple thousand dollars. AJ Richards: Yeah, if you, if you have a problem and most people realize what they have until it’s an infestation, and at that point, they’re talking an easy minimum of fifteen hundred to two thousand dollars on an average size home. If you catch it early enough, there are chemical treatments and steam treatments that can be successful for a quarter of that price, but like I said, most people don’t realize what it is until they’ve got an infestation and, and then it’s too late, so, and the one time you don’t take a precaution, you know, it’s probably that time that you’re going to get it, so… Thomas: Dude, look at him. He’s huge. AJ Richards: See how much bigger he is now? Thomas: Yeah. AJ Richards: And he’s dark red. He’ll get, see how, look at the back of him, how, oh, there he goes. Thomas: Oh! Oh! He just pooped on there. Oh, sorry. AJ Richards: So, he just … Thomas: No breathing on the… AJ Richards: He just defecated. That’s my blood. And that’s something you want to watch for, say you have white sheets, which I recommend by the way, it’s easier to spot, if you see that on your white sheet, Thomas: No pun intended. *Laughs* AJ Richards: If you see that on your white sheets, then you start looking. Call in a dog; call in a professional, whatever it takes. But, you want to find that right away. Like I said, you’ll save yourself thousands of dollars potentially. Thomas: Yeah, he totally doesn’t look like a tick anymore. Like when I first looked at him, he looked just like a tick, but I mean, he’s like a little accordion back there that just fills up. AJ Richards: Yeah. And… Thomas: And just poops it right out. AJ Richards: Notice he’s, notice he’s not trying to feed anymore. He’s pretty much full. Thomas: Yeah. AJ Richards: I mean, he’s got his blood meal. Now he’s just trying to find a place to hide. Thomas: Good, let’s put him away. AJ Richards: Let’s do it. Thomas: I’m done with him. That was pretty nasty. I didn’t like having that on my arm one bit. AJ Richards: I noticed. Thomas: Alright, at any rate, I’m a happy camper. Go buy some today. AJ: *Laughs* Thomas: I think that’s a wrap. See you guys. AJ Richards: That’s a wrap. Thomas: Check back in sometime. -Bulwark Exterminating Pest Control & Bed Bugs