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Avoid Sharing Your Spring Break with Bed Bugs

Cheaper Hotel Rates Likely to Spur Increased Spring Travel

Sunscreen? Check. Bathing suit? Check. Bed Bugs? Uh-oh.

Cheaper, economy-driven domestic hotel fares may lead spring breakers back to sunny destinations, but vacationers need to watch out for bed bugs. These nocturnal, blood-sucking critters tend to settle in places where humans sleep, particularly hotel rooms. In fact, Orkin has found bed bug infestations in all 48 U.S. states where it operates.

“Traveling is what bed bugs do best. They’re hitchhikers,” said Matt Peterson, Orkin southeast division technical services manager. “And they may try to take advantage of travelers as we take advantage of great hotel prices during spring break.”

Adult bed bugs resemble appleseeds in size and color, and feed on human blood. They can crawl into personal belongings such as luggage, clothing or other items, and then hitch a ride to other rooms or locations miles away. Increased travel can mean increased transport of bed bugs to and from places like hotels, resorts, cruise ships, dorms and homes.

According to Bing.com’s “Fareologists,” domestic hotel rates in popular spring break markets are down 15 percent in 2010 compared to 2009, meaning many students and families can afford to hit the road after deferring vacations last year.

“When traveling, the last souvenirs you want to bring home are bed bug bites or actual bed bugs themselves,” said Ron Harrison, Ph.D., Orkin technical director. “Getting rid of bed bugs at home — once you have them — can be very difficult without a professional.”

Unlike many pests, sanitation is not a factor when it comes to bed bugs. These bugs are just as likely to show up in a five-star resort as a roadside motel. Orkin pest specialists recommend travelers take these simple steps to avoid spreading bed bugs:

  • Inspect the mattress. Pull back the sheets and look for black, ink-like spots on the mattress seams or box spring, which may indicate bed bug activity. If you see such spots, alert hotel management immediately.
  • Examine the luggage rack. Bed bugs may hide in the rack’s cracks and crevices. If you do not find any signs of bed bugs, use the rack to hold your luggage. Never put luggage on the floor.
  • Perform a thorough inspection on your luggage. Before you check out, inspect your luggage and clothing for stowaway bed bugs. When you return home, store luggage in the garage and machine wash and dry your clothes immediately.

Currently, bed bugs are not known to transmit disease. However, red marks or swelling may develop around the bite area, depending on the sensitivity of the victim. Because bed bug infestations are often challenging to control, Orkin recommends travelers take precautions to avoid contacting and spreading these pests. For more information on bed bugs, including a video with inspection tips, visit http://blog.orkin.com.

About Orkin, LLC

Founded in 1901, Atlanta-based Orkin is an industry leader in essential pest control services and protection against termite damage, rodents and insects in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Central America, the Middle East, the Caribbean, Asia and the Mediterranean. With more than 400 locations, Orkin’s almost 8,000 employees serve approximately 1.7 million customers. The company serves homeowners and numerous industries including food and beverage processing, foodservice, hospitality, healthcare, retail, warehousing, property/facilities management, schools and institutions. Learn more about Orkin on our Web site at www.orkin.com. Orkin is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rollins, Inc. (NYSE: ROL).