Travelers: 10 Tips to Protect Yourself Against Bedbugs
This was an oft heard phrase from my childhood. However, in my 53 years, I don’t think I have ever actually seen a bedbug. Nor, to my knowledge, have I ever been bitten by one.
They are actually quite ugly bugs. Don’t you think?
I was reading a press release from Terminix (the pest control folks) the other day, and they noted that bedbugs were nearly eradicated after World War II. However, with increased international travel, these little buggers have evidently taken our country by storm.
The 2010 most bedbug-infested cities include:
|1. New York
7. Columbus, Ohio
8. Dayton, Ohio
|9. Washington, D.C.
10. Los Angeles
13. Louisville, Ky.
15. Minneapolis, Minn.
It seems that the state of Ohio wins the dubious award of being the most bedbug infested state in our nation.
Here are 10 tips from Terminix to protect yourself while traveling and at home:
Because of the bedbugs’ tendency to hitch rides from one location to the next, high-traffic areas such as hotels, motels, airplanes and cruise ships are especially susceptible to infestations. Travelers should use the following tips to protect themselves from bedbugs:
- Check headboards, mattresses and box springs for bedbugs and the dark blood spots they leave behind.
- Hang all clothing. Leave nothing lying on the bed or furniture.
- Avoid unpacking clothing and storing your clothing in the hotel’s furniture drawers.
- Store baggage on a luggage rack as far from the bed as possible.
- Vacuum suitcases when returning, and immediately wash clothing in hot water.
Consumers do not have to travel in order to bring a bedbug infestation into the home. According to Terminix data, reports of bedbug infestations in office buildings and retail shops are on the rise, and homeowners should use the following tips to protect themselves:
- Inspect furniture, antiques, used appliances or consignment items for signs of bedbugs before bringing them into the home.
- Never pick up used mattresses or furniture left curbside.
- Inspect clothing for bedbugs and wash (in hot water) new items in hot water after bringing them into the house.
- Use zippered encasements on infested mattresses and box springs.
- If you suspect you have bedbugs, have your home inspected by a trained professional. Bedbugs cannot be controlled by over-the-counter treatments.
For a further understanding of these pesky little bloodsuckers, here is a piece from Michael F. Potter, Extension Entomologist, University of Kentucky College of Agriculture.
Now, you might want to go check your mattress.