For most people, Thanksgiving is a time of traveling. It may be an hour to the north or south, or as far as the other side of the world. If you’re visiting family, be sure to exclude bed bugs from your holiday plans. The last thing you want to do is stay in a local hotel/motel and carry a bed bug with you to the festivities. A single female can have over 4000 babies in a six month period. Since it only takes a month for a bed bug to grow to adulthood, infestation can happen fast. This is not a situation anyone wishes to encounter, or bring back to their own home. So, here are some tips to keep you safe this Thanksgiving.
  1. Before you travel, check the Bed Bug Registry. This is a great site for checking bed bug infestation reports, but bear in mind that it’s not 100% accurate. It is sort of an Angie’s list for hotel bed bug conditions, where users post reviews, and describe their experience. It is up to you to determine if you believe the reports are true. Regardless, this is a good place to start.
  2. When you arrive, leave your bags in the car until you have checked your hotel room. If you must bring your bags up, put them in the bathroom or on the tiled floor. Bed bugs prefer the cozier areas of a room, and won’t typically crawl on ceramic tiling.
  3. Check the sheets and pillowcases on the beds in the room. Look for tiny seed-like bugs or dried, brown blood stains. Bed bugs are sloppy eaters, and usually leave dribbles behind.
  4. Check the corners and seams on the mattress and boxsprings for sticky, black fecal residue.
  5. Use a flashlight to check the backboard, baseboards, electrical switch plates, picture frames, and any furniture in the room.
  6. If your inspection doesn’t turn anything up, it is safe to bring your bag in. Hanging your clothes is preferable, but you can store them in the dresser drawers as well.
  7. Put dirty clothes in a sealed plastic bag. If you can, refrain from putting them on the floor or draped over a chair.
  8. If you hear that a room above, below, or adjacent has bed bugs, take extra precautions, or move.
  9. When you’re ready to go home, vacuum out your luggage, and do a quick check for bugs.
  10. Once home, wash and dry all your clothes on the hottest temperatures. This should kill any eggs, larvae, or bugs that have traveled home with you.

These simple steps will keep your home safe from a bed bug infestation, and hopefully, protect the family or friends you visit for Thanksgiving. Nothing can ruin your vacation faster than waking up with a dozen welts on your body. And nothing is worse than bringing these blood eating bugs back to your home. They are hard to get rid of, and can cause considerable inconvenience. Be vigilant to check your accommodations, no matter how nice, and safeguard your Thanksgiving from this holiday wrecker.