Pest Control Expert Reveals Tips to Prevent Bringing Bed Bugs Back from Holidays 

Vicki Sims said, ‘When people arrive in their hotel room, many place their suitcase straight onto the bed and start unpacking their clothes. However, 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.
  • 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, it is safer to hang your clothes in a wardrobe than in drawers as bed bugs can’t fly, so they are less likely to be able to get to your clothes in a wardrobe.
  • It would help if you also investigated your hotel bed for an infestation of bed bugs. To do this, pull your bedding off the bed to see the bare mattress and any signs of actual bed bugs or their faeces. Next, lift the mattress 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.
  • You should investigate your mattress, including behind, and look in-between the gap between the headboard and the wall itself. 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.
  • Bed bugs are more attracted to dirty clothes than to clean clothes. So, 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.
  • When you arrive home from your holiday, unpack your bag in a location other than the bedroom. Ideally, 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. It would be best if you then vacuumed your suitcase before placing it back in storage.
  • Once you arrive home, 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.
  • 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.
  • If you share laundry facilities with others on holiday, take extra caution. When you transport your items to be washed, please 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.

How to spot a bed bug

Bed bugs tend to come out at night searching for their next feed and always hide in groups. This makes it difficult to spot them in broad daylight. Although they are sometimes mistaken for fleas, their colour makes them more distinguishable, similar to an apple pip. They also have a flat body and large abdomens.

Where bed bugs are most commonly found

Despite what their name implies, their flattened bodies also allow them to conceal themselves in cracks and crevices around the room, such as in floorboards, skirting boards, or the furniture. However, they usually tend to stay close to anywhere you or a pet will be sleeping – which is why over a third (35%) of them are found in the box springs of a mattress, 23% are found in the mattress itself, and 13% are found in the bed frame or headboard.