Pest control leader Orkin has a piece of advice for anyone traveling this holiday season: take action during your trip to avoid taking bed bugs home with you.
“Every traveler should take precautions to prevent bed bugs, even in the fall and winter,” said entomologist and Orkin Technical Services Director Ron Harrison, Ph.D. “Bed bugs have been reported in hotels, cruise ships, homes and even public transit in some parts of the country. They are sneaky and can survive extreme temperatures.”
So what can travelers do to avoid these unexpected travel companions? Orkin advises travelers to be informed.
Bed bugs are hitchhikers that can hide in hotel rooms, bedrooms and in belongings, and then they can travel in luggage and other personal items. While bed bugs are not known to carry any diseases, they feed on blood and can leave behind itchy, bloody welts. And once bed bugs are inside a home or business, they can reproduce quickly.
To help prevent picking up bed bugs as an extra travel souvenir, Orkin recommends travelers use the acronym S.L.E.E.P. to remember the common signs of an infestation:
- • Survey any and every hotel room for signs of a bed bug infestation. Bed bugs are not a sanitation issue, which means they can be found in any hotel or motel – from a one-star to a five-star location. Look for red or brown spots on sheets.
- • Lift and Look for all bed bug hiding spots: crevices in the mattress, box spring, sheets and furniture, as well as behind baseboards, pictures and even torn wallpaper.
- • Elevate your luggage and other items on a rack away from the bed and the wall.
- • Examine your luggage while repacking and once you return home.
- • Place all dryer-safe clothing from your luggage in the dryer for at least 15 minutes at the highest setting when you return home.
Orkin has seen a rise in the number of bed bug cases over the past decade and has treated infestations in all 50 states. In 2013, Orkin’s parent company, Rollins, saw an increase in bed bug business by more than 20 percent compared to 2012.
Chicago topped Orkin’s Bed Bug Cities List this year, but people traveling to any part of the country should take precautions to prevent bed bugs. For a printable bed bug guide log onto Orkin.com.