18 responses to “Bed Bug Alert: What to Know Before You Go”

  1. Tarrabyte

    It took six months to get bed bugs out of my house. It wasn't quick or easy. To avoid bed bugs when I travel I keep my clothes in XXL Ziplock bags and when i get home everything goes into my Packtite, portable oven designed to kill bed bugs. You can watch videos on how to inspect for bed bugs at bedbugsnw.com. I'm afraid scented oils will not deter bed bugs from biting you. They eat blood and don't care what you smell like. Bed bugs reproduce like crazy so you need to have information to successfully avoid and eradicate bed bugs.

  2. Melanie Haiken

    Hi Terrabyte and thanks for sharing your story – ugh! My kids got head lice once when they were little and it was such a terrible trauma for all getting rid of them that I take the threat of pest infestations super seriously! I guess my thinking is that perhaps the sprays are at least preventing the bugs from getting in my suitcase, since it's taking them home with me that I truly fear. (A few bites while I'm there doesn't seem as serious a threat, since I've dealt with tropical mosquitoes and sand fleas many times.)The plastic bags are a great idea, though — I'll start doing that for sure!

  3. Donna Hull

    Although I hate to think about bed bugs in hotel rooms. It's good to know the best way to combat them. Thanks for the information. I've linked to your post at the My Itchy Travel Feet page on Facebook.

  4. Alexandra

    This is no joke, and I am really glad you have written about it. I can tell you that, as an innkeeper, I was horrified a few years ago when I realized a lovely couple, who had stayed at an upscale hotel in NY prior to their visit to Cape Cod, well, they had stowaways in the luggage or laptop, and I had to deal with it after they left. What a nightmare! Especially for a green innkeeper. The chemicals are the only way to really be sure you get rid of these pests. Fortunately, I caught the problem early. The thing is, they spread through the walls in New York hotels. I have heard it is a problem at Disneyland. Our town health agent sent a warning last spring to be on the lookout. Now I warn guests who have booked and come from abroad or will have stayed in NY first, to watch out and tell them the tricks you mention, like keeping luggage closed at all times. Ugh! I hate bed bugs!!!

  5. Sheryl

    Ick is right! When I wrote about bedbugs a while back, the post got a zillion hits. Although they're disgusting, for some reason people love to read about them. These are great tips, Melanie – thanks! I've also heard about dogs being trained to sniff out the critters (not in hotels, but in your home). Thanks for the suggestion, too, for Rest Easy. I'm going to order some, just to be safe.

  6. ruth pennebaker

    Thank you, thank you for this post. I live in fear of these critters. Now, I'm thinking I should go to cheaper hotels (where I don't have to pay for wi-fi, either).

  7. MarthaAndMe

    Oh ick! The thought of this is just awful. Thanks for all the tips. I am definitely going to follow them.

  8. Kristen

    I've heard that bed bugs are making a resurgence, but haven't wanted to give it much thought–ew. You offer some great tips here. I'll start checking hotel mattresses!

  9. Alisa Bowman

    I hate the idea of these things being in bed with me. But I think it's probably a good thing that we are no longer using DDT.

    For your home bed, you can encase it in a cover that will prevent bed bugs from gaining access to the softer part of the mattress, which is where they like to lay their eggs. Same with pillows. Not sure why hotels don't use these. They don't cost all that much.

  10. Trisha

    Great information Melanie – thanks for sharing this.

    I do think it's important for readers to remember that these bugs – unlike cockroaches or other nasties – have nothing to do with a hotel's cleanliness. They are being spread in the clothing of travelers, and because they are so tiny and hard to spot, most housekeeping staff never see them. And yes, their sense of smell is very strong so they will migrate through cracks in walls (if such cracks exist) to get from an empty mattress to one with someone sleeping in it.

    As much as I dislike chemicals like DDT, sadly the aromatic oils do not do any good – as Terrabyte points out – they make you feel better but are really a waste of money as the bugs don't care about them – they just want your blood no matter how good or bad you smell.

    If you're SURE you don't have bedbugs at home, but suspect you've encountered them while traveling, definitely put ALL of your belongings into airtight plastic backs (ziploc works well) and make sure you squeeze as much air out as possible – yes, they can suffocate, but it's more about making sure there aren't holes they can sneak out of, and when you get home DON'T bring your luggage into your bedroom -take it right away to your laundry room and wash everything on the hottest wash setting and dry completely on the hottest dry setting. Use HOT steam to clean your luggage, and use the Packtite for anything that can't be washed or steamed.

    There is a lot of really good information available at bedbugger.com, but one should really read through all of it if they have a concern.

  11. Jennifer Margulis

    Bleech to bedbugs. Horrible. And Alexandra's experience with guests bringing them to her inn sounds awful too. Hooray for the spray though!

  12. jesakalong.com

    I had heard about this, but wasn't sure I could believe it. Bed bugs?! Wow. I love your recommendation of Rest Easy, specifically because it's natural. I have a vacation planned in June and will be adding Rest Easy to the packing list!

  13. sarah henry

    Good for you for posting on a subject that deals with a less sexy part of travel — but something everyone should know how to deal with. Just back from a trip. Feeling itchy now.

  14. TravelingJane

    Bedbugger (a good website for all things bedbuggy) has great FAQs on how to avoid bed bugs when you travel, or how to avoid taking them home if you encounter them.

    I recommend it! http://bedbugger.com/faqs/travel/

  15. bed new york

    In some part of Asia, bed bugs are a little smaller compared to ones in the US and Europe. But these Asian bed bugs, despite their size, will make you feel itchy for 3 DAYS after being bitten by them

  16. Jean

    More illegal aliens more bed bugs think there is a connection?

  17. Melanie Haiken

    Actually, Jean, some of the hotels with the biggest bed bug problem are extremely pricey upscale hotels that only the very wealthy stay at. There is no connection between bed bugs and illegal aliens. They do not discriminate; everyone is equally tasty to a bed bug.

  18. Anonymous

    Help!!!! I have bites all over me and headed home
    now!!!!! Are these things going to infest my car?
    I am freaking out!!!!

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