Souvenirs are a great way to bring a piece of your holiday home with you. Fridge magnets, snow globes, food, jewellery and tea towels from your exotic holiday make for great memories, but one souvenir you don’t want to bring home with you is a swarm of bed bugs. These sly bugs travel in luggage, wrapped up warm in your clothing and waiting to feed on your blood. Luckily for you, Express.co.uk chatted to Vicki Sims, Managing Director of Lady Bug Pest Control on behalf of Mattress Next Day, to find out how you can avoid bringing bed bugs home.
8 tips to avoid bringing bed bugs back from holiday
Suitcase off the bed
What’s the first thing you do when you get to your hotel in holiday? Sling your luggage on the bed and start unpacking.
However, this is the worst thing you can do in terms of minimising bed bug infestation risk.
Managing Director of Lady Bug Pest Control, Vicki Sims warned: “We would suggest keeping your suitcase off your bed as this is where bed bugs are most commonly found.
“Depending on the star rating of your hotel, you may have a luggage rack which is where you should ideally store your suitcase.
“But if you don’t, keep your suitcase as close to the door as you can.”
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Wardrobe not drawers
When you’ve been travelling for hours, the first thing you’re likely to want to do once you arrive in your hotel room is to remove your clothes and throw them into a drawer before heading back out.
However, you need to change your habits to avoid picking up bed bugs!
Vicki said: “It is safer to hang your clothes in a wardrobe than in drawers (especially if they are the drawers of your bed), as bed bugs can’t fly, so they are less likely to be able to get to your clothes in a wardrobe.”
Put your detective hat on and inspect the hotel bed for any signs of bed bug infestation.
Vicki instructed: “Pull your bedding off the bed so that you can see the bare mattress, and any signs of actual bed bugs, or their faeces.
“Next, lift the mattress up and look for bed bugs underneath your mattresses.
“Do this as well as in the crevices of the bed drawers if it is a divan bed.”
Don’t be lazy, you should investigate your mattress, including behind, and look in-between the gap between the headboard and the wall itself.
Vicki suggested: “If it’s too dark, you can also use a torch on your phone to take a closer look.
“Some common signs of bed bugs include rusty or reddish stains on the sheets or mattresses, dark spots, bed bug eggs or live bed bugs.”
Separate clean clothes from dirty
Bed bugs are more attracted to dirty clothes than to clean clothes, Vicki pointed out.
While you’re not likely to head to the laundrette on a week-long vacation, there is a way to separate the dirty clothes from the clean clothes in your case.
Vicki said: “When packing for a trip, make sure to take a spare plastic bag for your dirty clothing, and knot it each time you add to it.”
If you do wash clothes on holiday and you share laundry facilities with others, take extra caution.
Vicki explained: “When you transport your items to be washed, keep them in a plastic bag and once they are washed, remove them from the dryer and place them straight back in the bag. Fold them at home where it’s safer to do so.”
Cool it down
If you’re still concerned that your room isn’t totally clean, stick on the air con.
According to the British Pest Control Association (BPCA), the ideal temperature for an adult bed bug to thrive is between 21-32°C, so it’s best to keep your room cool at night-time.
Don’t unpack in your room
When you arrive home from your holiday, unpack your bag in a location other than the bedroom.
Vicki said: “Ideally unpack on a hard floor as you won’t be able to spot bed bugs in the carpet.
“Next, inspect your suitcase closely and use a flashlight to revise the seams, folds, and pockets of your suitcase.
“You should then vacuum your suitcase before placing it back in storage.”
Once you arrive home, you’ve got a lot of laundry to do.
Vicki advised: “Wash all your clothes, including those that you did not wear.
“If the washing labels of your clothes permit it, wash them in hot water.”
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