Franklin Pest Solutions Indiana offers tips for travelers to remain bed bug-free during vacation

summer sand 

With kids going back to school very soon, many families are squeezing in last minute vacations this month. As people begin to hit the road and embark on trips for the summer’s last hurrah, Franklin Pest Solutions Indiana is encouraging travelers to be on the lookout for bed bugs.

A recent study conducted by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and the University of Kentucky found that bed bug infestations are on the rise in many places. In fact, 80% of pest professionals surveyed had treated bed bug infestations in hotels/motels in 2011.

Where do bed bugs come from?

Bed bugs can be found in places that people typically frequent during vacations, such as hotels, cabins, airports, resorts,” said Wayne Magnuson, . “Travelers can be more susceptible to encountering bed bugs and can unknowingly bring them home.”

bed bugs and skins

What is a bed bug?

Bed bugs are insect parasites. What does this mean? They thrive on hosts, but can survive without them for extended periods of time. Bed bugs take blood meals to grow to different lifecycle stages, but if a warm-blooded body isn’t present for say, a year, they’ll just hide and wait until one comes around. Cryptic, right?

bed bug flash card
True or False?

Let’s see how well you do in answering the following:

  1. You can’t see bed bugs.
  2. Bed bugs live only in beds, which is why they’re called “bed bugs”.
  3. Bed bugs bite in a linear pattern.
  4. You only get bed bugs if you’re a dirty person.
  5. If you don’t want to pay for a professional, bombing your house and throwing away your mattress will work just as well.

The only TRUE statement above is #3. How did you do? Let’s discuss…

  1. Adult bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed. If you’re able to see an apple seed, you can see bed bugs. If they’ve recently fed, they’ll be a reddish brown color. Younger bed bugs and unfed bed bugs are a yellowish color with a brown squiggly mark (digestive system) on their abdomens. The only thing that is very difficult to see is the bed bug’s eggs. These are pretty much translucent and super teeny tiny. bed bug life cycle
  2. Bed bugs gravitate towards beds when they’re ready to take a blood meal because that’s where they detect your body’s heat signature. If you spend a lot of time on your couch, they won’t hesitate to hide out near there either. They’re opportunistic. Wherever your body is planted for awhile, they’ll take advantage of you. When they’re not feeding, they’re hiding in nearby furniture, along baseboards, behind picture frames, etc.
    room with bed bug hiding places
  3. This is what bed bug bites look like. As they crawl along your skin, they bite multiple times. They don’t spread disease though, that we know of. And everyone reacts differently depending on allergy and sensitivity.
    bed bug bites
  4. Being clean or dirty has nothing to do with having bed bugs. HOWEVER, the more clutter you have, the more hiding places bed bugs have to spend time breeding.
    Clutter Reduction resized 600
  5. Over-the-counter bed bug products are more dangerous than the pest itself most of the time. Just this year alone, more people have died or have gotten injured trying to eradicate bed bugs than by getting bitten by the bug itself. Consult a professional. It will save your life and sanity.

6 Summer Travel Tips to Prevent Bed Bugs in Northwest Indiana

Experts at the NPMA recommend the following steps travelers can take to remain bed bug-free on vacation:

  • Thoroughly inspect the entire hotel room before unpacking and settling in, including behind the headboard and around the bottom of other furniture.
  • Pull back the hotel bed sheets and inspect the mattress seams, particularly the corners, for telltale spots or stains.
  • If any pests are spotted, notify management and change rooms immediately. Be sure your new room is not adjacent to the possibly infested room.
  • Use a large plastic trash bag or a protective cover to store your luggage during your hotel stay.
  • When you return home, inspect and vacuum your suitcases thoroughly before bringing them into the house. Consider using a garment hand steamer to steam your luggage, which will kill any bed bugs.
  • Wash all your clothes – even the items not worn – in hot water.

feeding2 resized 600

If you suspect a bed bug infestation, contact a licensed pest professional to identify the species and recommend a course of treatment. For more information, please visit!


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