How To: Not Let the Bed Bugs Bite on Vaca

Image: Komo News

Bed bugs are a problem for hotels across the board here in the United States, primarily for hotels that cater to a number of international travellers.  The measures that have to be taken when a bed-bug case is discovered at a hotel are quite extensive.  It involves disposing of the mattress and box spring, along with fumigation of the entire hotel room.  The problem is that bed bugs do not stop at the hotel room.  Many times, the bed bug is carried by the “host” on to the plane without even knowing it and is passed on that easily.

So, does that mean that hotels are out of the question?  Not necessarily.  But it does mean that you must be cautious.  Major hotel brands go above and beyond to control bed bug situations, while smaller, independent hotels just don’t have the budget to do so—however they also don’t tend to cater to many international travellers.  Scary and confusing, yes, I know.  Here are some precautionary means you can take in hopes that you will not be put in such a discomforting, and what can lead to, a costly situation.


  • Bed Bugs are flat, brown, wingless and about 1/4 of an inch
  • They have 6 legs, shiny reddish-brown but after a good serving of your blood, they appear dark brown and swollen as in the picture below.
  • They can be seen with the human eye, but do a great job at hiding
  • Bed bugs are not known to carry diseases as of yet
  • They feed on human blood preferring to do it in the dark when you’re sleeping
  • Simply using chemical treatments will not remove the infestation


  • Sofa seams
  • Cracks in the bad frame and or head board
  • Under chairs, couched, beds and dust covers
  • Under rugs, edges of carpets, drawers, baseboards and window casings
  • Behind light switches, electrical outlet plates, cracks in plaster
  • Televisions, radio clocks and phones
  • Backpacks, sleeping bags, clothes
  • Behind wallpaper, picture frames and other dark areas

PLASTIC,PLEASE. When travelling, become OCD by placing your clothing in large Ziploc bags, and remove them as needed.  The reason for this is it will save you money in the event that you do catch bed bugs.  Clothing that was exposed to the area which was infected by bed bugs must be washed in extremely hot water—which will ruin your darks—or disposed.

HOTEL PREVENTATIVE MEASURES: Hang clothing in the closet farthest from the bed.  Don’t just throw your luggage on the floor or the bed, place it on the folding rack found in most hotels.  It’s also a good idea to place your luggage in the dry cleaning bag found in the hotel.

PULL THE SHEETS BACK. Bed bugs can be detected by the human eye, so scope out the scene before you plop into that “luxurious” bed.  Expose the mattress and look in between the cording.  If you see any black dots, you’ve got bugs!  Evacuate tout de suite!

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Categories: Health, Home, On The Road