Did you travel during the holidays? Millions of Americans did. In fact, billions of people travel world-wide every year. This is great news for the airline companies. It is also good for bed bugs.

If you’re not aware, the number one way bed bugs infest homes, is by hitching a ride in bags, luggage, clothing, and boxes. If you’ve recently returned from a holiday trip, and didn’t check your accommodations for bed bugs, you could be carrying an infestation.

A single female bug can produce over 4000 babies in her short six month life span. And, most bed bugs grow to mating age within a month. That means that, if even one bed bug got into the seams of your bags, you could have an infestation growing in your home.

If you stayed in a 5 star hotel or resort, you might be tempted to shrug off this information. But you may be surprised to know that even the most expensive luxury hotels are not safe from these blood eating insects. Large hotels push a lot of people through, each and every week, and those numbers are significantly higher during the holidays. People pass through from all parts of the world–places where bed bug protection is limited, or nonexistent.

You may also be tempted to think that, because you didn’t see any bugs during your stay, that you’re safe. But, if you stayed in a room above, below, or adjacent to an infestation, a stray bug could have passed through the wall conduit or ventilation ducts. You could have even picked up a single bug from the last occupants of the room you stayed in. Not many hotel staffs are trained to detect bed bugs.

If you traveled for the holidays, consider getting a professional inspection. Catching bed bugs now, can save you the trauma of an infestation. If you’re not ready to take this step, at least consider running down through this checklist.

  • Check yourself–and anyone else who traveled–for rashy bug bites. Many times you’ll find these bites in a row, because bed bugs feed multiple times in a night.
  • Check the seams of your bags for tiny seed-like bugs.
  • Wash all the clothes you took on vacation. Wash and dry on the hottest temperature, to destroy eggs, larvae, and adult bed bugs.
  • If it has been a while since you traveled, you can inspect your beds for these tiny brown bugs. Look for blood stains on your sheets and pillowcases. And, inspect the edges of your mattress and box springs for black sticky residue.
  • Use a flashlight to inspect backboards, furniture, and the rug around your bed.

If you find bed bugs, call a professional. This is a hard bug to get rid of, ask anyone who has ever had to deal with them. Professional technicians have the knowledge and gear to eradicate these bugs. Getting rid of them now, could save you from a nightmare in the spring.