Even the best luxurious five-star hotels and resorts can occasionally get an infestation of bed bugs. This is sometimes unavoidable because many hundreds, or even thousands of travelers and tourists can be staying at a hotel or resort at any given time. These little blood sucking critters can easily hitch a ride on unsuspecting travelers or hide in their luggage. Hotel and resort managers are very aware of this problem and do their best to prevent this from happening.
What do these pests look like?
Bedbugs are very tiny, flat, wingless bugs. Their size can vary from a head of a pin to about
one-quarter of an inch in length when fully mature. They have an oval shape and look like small watermelon seeds. Their color can vary from a translucent yellow to a dark reddish brown. If they have just dined on a person’s blood they may appear dark brown or black in color.
How easy are they to detect?
Most travelers are not aware of bedbugs until they see the red bite marks on their bodies and start scratching their itchy wounds. Bed bugs can be extremely difficult to find if the infestation is light. Their eggs are very tiny and about the size of a grains of rice which are even harder to see. To make matters worse they tend to be nocturnal so they are waking up and looking for a blood breakfast when most vacationers are going to sleeping.
When you check into your room it is advisable to roll the bed sheets, blankets and comforters all the way down to see if you can find any bed bugs. A tell tale sign that they are there are dark fecal spots or drops of dried blood on the linen, pillowcases, or in the seams around the mattress or box springs. You may also find what appear to be shells of bed bugs which are in fact the skins that they shed as they mature. If you find any sign of their presence, call down to the front desk and ask for another room. You may be able to get a discount on your room for the upsetting experience and inconvenience.
However, bed bugs do not reflect on the cleanliness of hotels and resorts. These insects do not eat crumbs or dirt, or anything we may associate with unsanitary hotel room conditions. They only feed on blood.
In terms of a vacationer’s health, current research indicates that these insects do not appear to spread disease even though they can harbor well over twenty-five different pathogens.
Not everybody gets bitten by bed bugs. Sometimes, if there are two travelers sleeping in the same bed, only one may get bitten. However, bed bugs do not discriminate. Given a chance they will gladly dine on anyone’s blood. Bed bugs are attracted to the heat of our bodies and the carbon dioxide that we exhale when we breathe. They also release chemicals to attract and find each other. These night crawlers move fast and are excellent climbers. They can quietly tag along in a traveler’s luggage or on their clothes.
What can you do to avoid these pests when traveling on your holidays?
Unfortunately, apart from checking the bed linen, mattress, box springs, bed frames, behind the bed’s headboard, any upholstered furniture, and along the baseboards in your room, that’s about all you can do.
Bed bugs are a universal problem and can be found in motels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, hotels, pod hotels, resorts, hospitals, airplanes, trains, buses, cabs, cruise ships, etc. These little blood suckers can be found near any readily available sources of blood, like tired travelers. Bed bugs can even hitch a ride home with you, turning your home sweet home into a living hell.
What can you do to get rid of bed bugs?
You should leave the job to a professional pest control company as these pests are very difficult to get rid of. It’s expensive and can take time treating an infestation of bed bugs which usually involves using steam and pesticides. This process may have to be repeated a number of times before the very hot steam and pesticides kill all of them. Keep in mind that the insects must come into direct contact with the hot steam and pesticides for these tactics to be totally effective.
As far as your home is concerned, prevention is a lot easier and far less costly than the cure. In your home, you do not have to throw your mattress and box springs out. You can easily cover your mattress and box springs with zippered plastic coverings which will prevent bedbugs from hiding in the cracks and crevices of your mattress. There are also zippered plastic protectors that are just as effective for your pillows. This will prevent any possible bedbugs that are inside from getting out. At the same time it will prevent any new infestations from getting in, thus eliminating the bed as a problem. However, this is only one part of the solution. You will still need to apply steam and pesticides to any areas of the home where they could be hiding.