STAYING BED BUG FREE...
1. First know what to look for. To protect yourself and your surroundings from bed bugs, you should become familiar with how to identify the small parasite shaped like an "apple seed." They are usually red-brown in color, but can range from white after molting, to light tan, deep brown or burnt orange. Adults have a flat, oval shaped body and are about 1/4 of an inch long, while nymphs are transparent and not bigger than a pin head. The six-legged, wingless insect with the Latin name Cimex lectularius is mostly active at night, hence the name bed bug. However, they can be found anywhere that people and warm blooded animals stay and sometimes appear even in the daylight. The thin, flat bugs hide in mattresses, box-springs, bed frames, seams, window curtains, crevices, in and under furniture, especially upholstered items, behind wall hangings, in luggage, in the wall in electrical plugs, cracks, etc., and have been known to enter warm places such as laptops, computers and electrical devices.
You will be looking for the bed bug and its telltale signs, such as: fecal matter resembling black dots or dirt, brown molted skin shed from the nymphs, or blood stains from feeding bugs squished on the sheets. If you are unsure of your findings you can contact a pest control specialist or take a specimen to an entomologist. If you notice red, raised, itchy bumps in a row or grouping on your body, especially on exposed arms or legs you could be experiencing an allergic reaction to bed bug bites. (A doctor could help to rule out other medical conditions.) It could take up to a week for a reaction to appear and some never experience the alergic reaction after a bed bug bite. Bed bug bites take about one week to heal and you can relieve the itching with hydrocortisone cream. Not scratching will help to prevent infection.
2. Bed bug prevention. When traveling, inspect a room before moving items in or staying there. A hotel that is routinely monitored and remediated through a prevention program such as the Bed Bug Planet SM Program is the best place to stay, but remember that a bed bug could have hitched a ride in on the traveler who slept there the previous night. Inspect all the likely places as mentioned above and leave your luggage in your automobile, or place it in the bathtub. Bed bugs cannot climb slick surfaces making the tub a safe place for your belongings. Due to the fact that many people look for bed bugs, and do not detect them until the next morning, we recommend that you do not hang anything in the places provided in your hotel room. Hang all your hanging items on the shower rod in the bathroom. Keep your luggage in the bath tub, and place it on the vanity by the sink to remove items. Hard, light colored surfaces like the tub and vanity are much easier to see the bed bugs on, and bed bugs do not like these hard surfaces. It can be very difficult to see bed bugs on dark surfaces like carpet, bedspreads, etc. so by storing your items in the bathroom area, you are much less likely to give them access to your belongings. Bed bug nymphs (babies) are clear in color, and are so small they can crawl through a zipper on your travel bag even when it is zipped. You cannot exercise too much caution in trying to avoid them. Just bring essential items into the hotel. Some people are even leaving their luggage in their automobile, and only taking in what they need, which is also an excellent idea. Do NOT stay in a room with evidence of bed bugs.
1. If the hotel, motel, or hospitality establishment is a participant in the Bed Bug Planet SM Bed Bug Prevention Program notify the front desk, and then immediately notify the Bed Bug Planet SM Program so that an independent pest control specialist can inspect the evidence and treat the room if necessary. Ideally, this process should begin before you leave the premises. If this hotel is not a participating member, please file a bed bug report including their information on the Bed Bug Planet SM website so they can be contacted about our prevention program to get help for their problem. Your report will be posted online to warn other travelers of the bed bugs at this hotel. Your participation will help the BED BUG PLANET SM program bring the bed bug epidemic under control one room at a time. Remember to always report bed bugs, you may never stay there again, but another guest will.
2. When you return home, do not take your luggage into your home,(if you suspect bed bugs) remove your clothing from the luggage outside, and place it into plastic bags for transport directly to the washer. Wash and dry clothes on the highest setting that the fabric recommends. Bed bugs in all stages and their eggs die in high temperatures (46 degrees Celsius or 115 degrees Fahrenheit). Some items can be placed directly in the dryer on high heat for 20 minutes. It is a good idea to remove your clothes over a hard surface and wipe the floor with rubbing alcohol to kill any small bugs that might have fallen off your clothes. Luggage is probably the most likely carrier to bring bed bugs into your home. Remember, you could pick up bed bugs on an airplane, public or private transportation, any public place or private home, stores, theaters, in a dormitory, or restaurant, etc. Under cool conditions, they can live about a year without eating and are not killed by many available chemicals or harsh conditions. Used furniture and clothes can harbor bed bugs or eggs and should never be brought into your home without treatment. Prevention and careful precautions will keep you and your home bed bug free.