Bed bugs were once thought to be all but wiped out in the U.S., but reports of these pests resurfaced in recent years, partly due to increased international travel. Since bed bugs are great hitchhikers -- latching onto luggage, personal belongings or even you -- they can be found almost anywhere, from one- to five-star hotels, resorts and cruise ships to retail stores and even movie theaters.
Adult bed bugs are similar in size and color to apple seeds. Though these nocturnal pests are not known to transmit disease, they feed on human blood for survival. An encounter with them is anything but pleasant as red marks or swelling may develop around the bite area.
What can be worse than receiving a bed bug bite is unknowingly bringing them home.
"Once they've established themselves in your home, bed bugs can be very difficult to remove without the help of a professional," says Orkin Technical Director Ron Harrison.
Harrison offers the following bed bug tips for travelers, using the acronym SLEEP to help you remember:
-- Survey your room for signs of an infestation, such as small rust-colored spots, cream-colored eggs or cast-off skins on bed sheets, mattress tags, seams and bed skirts. While you might think only one-star hotels are likely to host bed bugs, these pests aren't picky about where they stay -- travelers are their main attraction.
-- Lift and look. During the day, bed bugs hide in dark cracks and are most likely found within a five-foot radius of the bed. Typical hiding spots include crevices associated with mattresses, box springs, bed frames, headboards, furniture, behind baseboards, picture frames and even torn wallpaper. Make sure to inspect all these areas in your hotel room for bed bugs, and call the front desk to report any signs of an infestation.
-- Elevate your luggage away from walls and furniture. Hotel luggage racks are more than just a convenient place to store your belongings -- they can also make it difficult for pests to climb into your suitcase. Be sure to inspect the rack first for signs of bed bugs.
-- Examine your luggage carefully before leaving your destination and when you return home to ensure you do not transport any unwanted guests. Once home, always keep luggage off the bed, and store it in a closet or an area far away from your bedroom.
-- Place all your clothing from your luggage immediately in the dryer for at least 15 minutes at the highest setting upon returning home from travel. Bed bugs cannot survive temperatures beyond 122 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bed bugs can be very difficult to control. If you find evidence of an infestation in your home, contact a licensed pest control professional with experience treating for these pests.
For more information on how to avoid bed bugs, visit orkin.com.© 2012 ARAContent
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