Bed Bug Tips for Travelers

When traveling, think of the acronym S.L.E.E.P. to remember the following action steps to help avoid taking bed bugs home with you.

Survey

Survey your hotel room for signs of a bed bug infestation. Bed bugs are not limited to any sanitation or income level, which means they can be found in any hotel or motel—from a one-star to five-star location. Large infestations of bed bugs can create a musty, sweet odor, like soda pop syrup. They leave behind brown or red spots on sheets. While not known to spread disease like many other pests, bed bugs can leave itchy, bloody welts on the skin. (Welts more commonly appear when the victim is sensitive to bed bug bites.)

Lift and look

Bed Bug Inspection
Bed Bug Inspection

Lift and look for all bed bug hiding spots. During the day, these nocturnal insects disappear in crevices associated with mattresses, box springs, sheets, furniture, upholstery and hollow bedposts, as well as crevices behind baseboards, pictures and even torn wallpaper. Make sure to lift and look around all possible hiding spots for bed bugs in the hotel room, not just the mattress.

Elevate

Elevate your luggage and other items. Carefully inspect the hotel’s luggage rack. If there are no signs of bed bugs on it, use it to keep your suitcase off the floor and away from the bed. Also pull the luggage rack away from the wall. This will reduce the likelihood of the insect crawling up the wall and getting into your things.

Examine

Examine your luggage while repacking and once you return home. Bed bugs are great hitchhikers, so be sure to check your luggage and clothing for bed bugs before bringing luggage back into the bedroom. (Orkin recommends unpacking in your garage or utility room.)

Place

Place all your clothing from your luggage immediately in the dryer for at least 15 minutes at the highest setting upon returning home from travel.
Because bed bugs can be extremely difficult to eliminate, treating for an infestation requires the use of a licensed, pest control professional with specific experience in treating for these pests.