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Avoid Bed Bug Bites when Staying in a Hotel

If you haven’t heard, there has been an increase in the number of reported bed bug bites when staying in a hotel. So much so that in the last year, Trip Advisor has seen a 12% increase in bed bug reports for NYC and 11% for the U.S. overall. If you are a business traveler, these numbers can be very alarming. The last thing you want is bed bug bites or worse, to take these critters home with you.

As a business traveler, staying in a hotel comes with the territory. As a result, it pays to be picky about where you sleep, diligent about avoiding bed bug bites and most importantly, keeping these pests away from your home. Here’s what you need to know:

The Facts:

  1. Where the Bed Bug Bites: These pests are small, non-flying insects that range in size from 1.5 mm to 5-7 mm in length when full-grown. They feed on human and animal blood. Although originally found in unclean environments, they can also thrive in clean environments. They live in tiny cracks in furniture, curtains, edges of carpet, inside dressers and furniture, cracks in wallpaper, inside spaces of wicker furniture, and on textiles or upholstered furniture. They are most commonly found where people sleep, including in and on mattresses, box springs and bed frames.
  2. How Infestation at Home Occurs: Since these pests can arrive on the clothing or in suitcases of guests from infested homes or other hotels, lodging properties are prime locations for infestations. As a business traveler, staying at a hotel or several properties within a single trip increases your chances of bringing them home. They can come home with you by crawling into or laying eggs in your suitcase, on your clothing or even, your laptop bag.
  3. Getting Bed Bug Bites: Bed bug bites are similar to mosquito bites. They leave bumps on your skin that are red and itchy. Often, they will form a line on your leg or arm. Unless you are allergic, bed bug bites do not usually require a doctor’s attention, just some anti-itch cream.

What You Can Do:

  1. Do Your Research: As a business traveler, you may have corporate travel policies that limit your options. That said, you can avoid staying in a hotel where these pests are likely by reading reviews on TripAdvisor.com or checking the property on bedbugregistry.com. One or two complaints of bed bug bites may not imply that there is a big problem, however, if there are a lot of postings, then you should probably stay clear of that property.
  2. Scope out the Room: Before you unpack your suitcase, check for pests by looking for their waste (appears to look like coffee grounds), laid eggs (white with a red spot) and shed exoskeleton or skin. All of these can be found behind pictures, under linens and on baseboards. If you find any of these signs, report them immediately to the front desk and asked to be reassigned to a different room.
  3. Luggage and Unpacking: Although a business traveler likes to travel as lightly as possible, choose luggage that is solid, rather than cloth. Before and after your trip, you can spray your luggage with Bedbug Spray. Also, when staying in a hotel, always keep luggage on racks and away from the wall. Do not place them on the floor, furniture or the bed. Lastly, don’t put your clothes into any drawers.
  4. At Home: As a frequent business traveler, I’ve been known to live out of my suitcase…even at home. A better strategy is to remove clothing and anything else that can be laundered and immediately wash it in hot water. Keep your luggage in a garage or if you live in an apartment, an entry or hallway closet. Once you are done unpacking, vacuum the house to remove any pests that came in with you and immediately throw out the bag into outside garbage.
  5. At Home Infestation: If you experience bed bug bites or have an infestation at home, contact a pest-control company immediately.

Have you gotten bed bug bites when staying in a hotel? Did you ever take them home?

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