The peak season for bed bugs is June through October. The increase in heat and humidity during the summer and early fall months does appear to have the effect of making bed bugs more active. By “more active” we mean that they will want to feed and breed more often. However, bed bugs are indoor pests and do not die out in the winter time so vigilance is necessary year-round. Besides the weather factors, the increase in travel within the US during the summer months allows bed bugs to spread from place to place very quickly creating new infestations in many more hotel rooms and homes. Many exterminators and canine inspectors have reported they have been extremely busy over the winter and spring this year. There are so many multi-tenant facilities such as apartment buildings that are struggling to gain control of their bed bug problems and residents of these buildings visit all the same places as people who have never experienced bed bugs so it is only a matter of time before everyone will feel their ‘bite.’
There are some very simple steps that travelers can take to greatly reduce their chances of bringing bed bugs home from a trip. Travelers do not need to be scared of bed bugs, just prepared, and here’s how:
· Research your hotel: Before confirming your reservation, check for recent reports of bed bugs in your hotel at tripadvisors.com and bedbugregistry.com Some of the reports will be false alarms, but why take a chance an walk into an existing problem if you don’t have to.
· Know your enemy: Bed bugs are small but not microscopic. Spend some time learning what bed bugs and their tell-tale signs look like online at reputable sites like http://bedbugger.com/faqs/
· Inspect your room: Bring an LED flashlight and a magnifying glass with you on every trip. With your luggage still in the hallway, pull the sheets off the top half of the bed and check the edges of the mattress for tiny black spots that look like mold spots. These are the tell-tale fecal spots that bed bugs leave behind. It’s rare to find actual bugs since the hide in the walls and furniture so well, the black spots are a dead giveaway. Also, check the bed skirt in between the mattress and box spring which should be totally clear. Lastly, most hotel beds have a headboard that can easily be lifted off the wall with two people. Again, use the flashlight to check for black spots in the screw holes and any crevices.
· Zip up your luggage: Even a hotel room that looks spotless could still be hiding the early stages of an infestation. The only way to prevent bringing them home is to place your luggage in plastic zip bags by BugZip. These are cheap insurance and much more effective than just using the luggage rack or bathtub to try and keep your luggage away from bed bugs.
· Invest in a home monitor: Since the hotel room is not the only place bed bugs reside it is highly recommended to invest in a home monitor for bed bugs to give you early warning if bed bugs ever enter your home. Some people act as their own monitors because of the itchy bites. However, more than 50% of people do not react to the bites so they would have no idea they are getting bitten without a monitor. There are two home monitors to choose from: (1) The BB Alert Passive Monitor and (2) ClimbUp Interceptor.