Bed bugs are small, round brown insects that feed on human blood, especially at night. They can cause massive, large-scale infestations relatively quickly and often require repeated treatments until they can be completely removed from a location. Since they spread so easily (usually by clinging to personal items) vigilance is important in order to keep them out of your home.
Even some of the best hotels in the south can find themselves with a bedbug infestation during the warmer months when visitor traffic is high and humans are in close, dense proximity. It’s important for anyone hoping to spend time in a hotel, motel, cabin, or Airbnb to be aware of bedbugs and how to check for their presence in any hotel room, especially if you’re staying in an area with a lot of people.
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First, know what they look like.
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Bed bugs are very small, about 4-5 mm long, and have flat, brown bodies that can fit within cracks in walls or personal belongings. They smell very distinctly like rotten strawberries. Eggs are small, opaque, and white, and can stick to surfaces.
Second, take precautions.
Before checking for bedbugs, place your suitcases on a raised stand or in the bathtub before checking the living area. Clothes should be never left on the floor and should be washed as soon as guests return home. Bed bugs can crawl into and onto most belongings and suitcases are rife with crevices and hiding places for the bloodsucking insects. They have been known to hitch rides inside places as small as laptop computers or purses.
Next, check where they can be found.
Bed bugs like warm, dark places where humans have been, like beds, chairs, couches, cushions, and pillows. They find shelter and stay there living in clusters until they leave to feed every five to seven days. When done, they follow a chemical trail back to their homes.
While beds are the obvious first place to check, hotels will clean and change sheets between guests, so it’s important to check the rest of the room and not rely on only examining the bed.
When examining beds, be sure to carefully check the seams and folds of your mattress and pillows for bugs, eggs, molted skin, or any remains of their existence.
After beds, check cushions, furniture crevices, pillows, and anywhere they may be hiding after the bed sheets have been replaced. Checking areas where furniture meets the carpet or walls is important, as is checking crevices behind dressers and shelves.
Fourth, know what the bites look like.
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Preferably, your trips won’t come to this point if you’ve checked thoroughly, but if you find small, red lesions or blisters appearing over your body, especially in areas covered by bedsheets, then you have a surefire way of confirming an infestation and should report this to your lodgings as soon as possible.