When you go on vacation or a trip you want to bring back good memories, great experiences, maybe even some awesome pictures and cool souvenirs. What you don’t want to bring back are bedbugs, roaches, ticks, or termites.
Since so many people go through hotel rooms, it is pretty easy for an infestation to develop. Thing is, you don’t want to carry any of that home with you. These tips will help you make sure that you leave the pests where they are and keep your home critter free.
At the Hotel
When you bring your bags in don’t set them on the hotel beds or furniture. Only put your bags, belongings, personal items, or clothing on the table that is in the room. The reason being that dressers, chairs, and nightstands are complex structures with lots of cracks and crevices. Many of them have drawers and various components to them that make fine hiding places for bedbugs, termites, and other insects. On the other hand, the table is a flat surface. In order for anything to get on something that is on the table it would have to crawl up from under the table. While some pests, like roaches, can crawl upside down like that, you still greatly minimize your contact with anything by following that simple step.
Always carry a flashlight with you when you travel. As soon as you get in the hotel room, before you bring in your luggage, examine all of the drawers, under overhangs on furniture, in cubbies, and other hidden areas before putting your things on them. You are looking for bed bugs primarily, but you should also keep your eyes open for roach feces (tiny dots or pellets) or egg sacs.
Before you get in the bed, turn down the sheets and raise the mattress cover. Examine the seams of the mattress, especially around the top and headboard area as well as the headboard itself. You are looking for bedbugs or evidence of bedbugs. If you see tiny black or dark red dots on the mattress pad or sheets, or if you see bed bugs, leave and report it to the front desk.
There are travel mattress covers that are supposed to prevent bedbugs, but if you conduct a thorough examination and take the precautions here the cover may not be necessary. If it gives you more peace of mind, though, then by all means do it.
If you do find bedbugs and choose to stay in the same hotel, don’t get an adjacent room. You want a room that is several rooms away in any direction because if one room is infested it is likely that the adjacent rooms are infested as well. Bedbugs can travel through the walls so you don’t want the room or either side, above, or below the one that you have found to have bedbugs.
If you think you may have brought home bedbugs do not remove any of your luggage from your car. Take it straight to a commercial laundry to clean it and dry on the highest heat setting. Leave your suitcases and bags in a storage area that is not in your home until you can have them treated or disposed of. A pest professional can treat your luggage and other items to get rid of the pests.
Be careful what your purchase while you are away. Many wooden items, especially those that are carved, can be infested with insects like termites, bedbugs, or even roaches. Even if you don’t see any live insects, they may be egg sacs in the crevices, drawers, or legs. These egg sacs can hatch and the larvae can mature and emerge in your home.
Be careful when you bring plants and flowers in, especially from other places. Potted plants often have various pests living in them. While these insects might not be a problem in a greenhouse they will definitely be a problem in your house. For instance, Asian cockroaches are notorious for being found in poinsettias – they love them.
Another thing that many people visiting the southern states like to bring home is Spanish moss. They use it to decorate in their homes, but it can bring a serious problem with it. Spanish moss is a favored harborage for ticks. They hide in the moss, you pick the moss thinking it is pretty, you bring it into your home as part of your décor and the next thing you know you have ticks in your home. That can be serious since ticks can carry Lyme disease.
Fresh Christmas trees are another potential pest carrier for unsuspecting homeowners. They can have praying mantis egg sacs on them. Outside where it is cold, these eggs are dormant. When you bring it inside where it is warm, they think it is spring and begin to emerge - and they can be in the thousands.
You should also thoroughly examine items from yard sales, thrift stores and items you bring home from other people’s houses – furniture and electronics especially. When you bring items from someone else’s home they can have pests hiding in the items. It doesn’t matter if you don’t see actual insects in the person’s home, there can still be some hiding, especially if the item is in a garage or basement. Spiders like those areas and may decide to make that item their home so when you bring it to your house you have just welcomed them as well.
Roaches love to hide in electronics like TVs, radios, and DVD players. It doesn’t take much either. One radio that is infested with German cockroaches can lead to an infestation your entire home.
You should also be careful of what people bring into your home. Houseguests can bring roaches, or bedbugs with them – and leave them when they go.
Remember, when you transfer one item from one environment into your environment you are inviting any pest that is associated with that item into your home. When you take an item from your home, transfer it to another environment, and then bring it back home, you have exposed it to whatever pests were there. Be mindful of what you do and examine everything. If you are vigilant your chances of bringing in pests are minimal. If you find that you do have unwanted houseguests (not of the two legged variety, sorry) call a pest professional to manage the problem and help you stay pest free.