This guide is written for those people that want to travel smart and take precautions to avoid bed bugs while traveling. It contains some of the best tips and tricks for avoiding bed bugs during travel so that you don’t bring them home with you as an unwelcome souvenir. We have also included some suggested products that are key components to successfully carrying out these best practices.
Before Leaving on Your Trip
1. Encase all of your mattresses and box springs.
Bed-bug-proof encasements will prevent bed bugs from infesting your mattress and box spring. Equally as important, the smooth, white encasements make it much easier to spot bugs and other sig ns of an infestation. Encasements are key to early detection and rapid response as the sooner you find an infes- tation, the easier it is to get rid of. We recommend encasements from Protect-A-Bed® because they are proven to be durable, bed-bug-proof, and available in every size to ensure a snug fit over your mattress.
2. Install interception devices.
Think of interception devices as bed bug alarms. These devices catch bed bugs as they travel around your home which improves the chance of early detection. We recommend the BlackOut BedBug Detector because it is durable and discreet. As with encasements, these devices will make your life easier in the event that bed bugs do come home with you from a trip.
3. Pack heavy duty plastic bags in your car.
Purchase heavy duty (2 ml) plastic bags that are large enough to fit your luggage in and leave them in your vehicle. When you return from your trip, seal your luggage in these bags which will isolate any bed bugs that may be on your luggage to prevent your vehicle and home from becoming infested while you go through the unpacking process. If you have green concerns about using so many bags, a BugZip lug- gage encasement is an effective re-usable option.
4. Pack for your trip.
Hard-shelled luggage is much less attractive and difficult to infest for bed bugs compared with fabric luggage. Avoid packing clothing that are difficult to clean as hot laundering and dry cleaning clothes are effective in eliminating any bed bugs associated with them.. Pack toiletries and other items that you can’t wash in Ziploc® bags to protect these items from bed bugs.
*During Your Stay Away
A quick inspection of your accommodations and placing your luggage in low-risk areas for bed bugs are two simple steps that you can take to protect yourself and your belongings from bed bugs.
1. Keep luggage closed and away from areas where bed bugs hide.
Keep your luggage away from the bed or other upholstered furniture in the room. Storing it in the bathtub and removing it when you shower is actually ideal since bed bugs are not typically found in the bathroom and bed bugs don’t climb well on smooth surfaces. At a minimum you will want to keep your luggage on the luggage rack and situate it so it is not touching any walls or furniture if you can. Another option is a BugZip luggage encasement which will protect your closed luggage wherever you keep it. Remember, the less contact with the sleeping area the fewer opportunities for bed bugs to get into the luggage.
2. Conduct a very basic inspection of the bed.
You should be able to see a well-established bed bug infestation simply by pulling back the bed linens and looking at the edges of the mattress and box spring. Look for evidence of live bugs, dark brownish to black spots or stains, or shed skins from bed bugs. Bed bugs are about the size of an apple seed, so most should be visible with the naked eye. To get an idea of what you’re looking for see “Bed Bugs 101” at www.BedBugCentral.com.
3. Keep items that cannot be laundered in sealed Ziploc® bags.
Keep items that can’t be laundered (books, electronics, toiletries, laptops, etc.) in Ziploc® bags when they are not in use. This tip is especially pertinent at night while you are sleeping and the bed bugs may come out in search of food.
4. Notify hotel management immediately if you suspect bed bugs.
Notify the hotel management if you think you see evidence of bed bugs or you wake up with itchy welts on your body. Although itchy irritations are not always caused by bed bugs, hotel management should be aware of your concern so they can investigate the cause. Depending on the outcome of the investigation, how you handle the situation is your decision.
Returning Home From Your Destination
This is the most important section to reduce the likelihood of introducing bed bugs into your home. TRAVEL bedbugFREE offers some effective tips, but they are certainly not foolproof—there’s still a chance you can bring home bed bugs. If you have any reason to believe that you have encountered bed bugs during your stay or that your belongings are infested, you should keep all items sealed in bags and call a pest management pro- fessional to evaluate the situation.
1. Bag and seal luggage before placing in your vehicle or as soon as you get home.
Place all luggage in the heavy duty plastic bags or BugZip luggage encasements that you set up before your trip. If bed bugs are on your luggage, this step will keep them isolated until you can deal with the luggage and its contents.
2. Unpack carefully and methodically.
If possible, unpack your luggage in an area that is well lit and away from any furni¬ture and sleeping areas. Outdoors, in a garage, or in a cleared area in the basement are ideal places to unpack.
• Take the luggage out of the containment bag and inspect the bag and dispose of it in an outdoor trash can.
• Unpack one suitcase at a time, using plastic bags or dissolvable laundry bags to separate clothing that can be laundered (further separated into whites and colors to make things easier later on), clothing that must be dry cleaned, and items you won’t launder.
• Keep your laundry in the tied off bags until you are ready to use one of the methods described in the next section.
• Items that cannot be laundered that were sealed in Ziploc® bags throughout your stay can be removed from the bags and are immediately ready for use. Throw the bags away in an outdoor trash receptacle immediately. If you have any additional concerns about these items carefully inspect them. You can consider heat treating them using a ThermalStrike heating unit but keep in mind the item and whether or not it can be exposed to temperatures up to 150 degrees.
• After you’ve unpacked, either keep the luggage in a new sealed plastic bag or your Bug- Zip luggage encasement until your next trip. Another option is to heat treat it using a por- table heating device. We recommend the ThermalStrike Expedition Bed Bug Heat Treatment.
3. Launder your clothes.
• When laundering clothes be aware that a hot dry cycle is the most effective option for addressing potentially infested clothing. You can simply put any items that can withstand a hot dry cycle di- rectly in the dryer to address these concerns. We recommend a full dry cycle as the size of the dryer load can dictate how long the items should be dried for.
• For items you want to wash, be sure to follow all manufacturer’s directions in regards to what tem- peratures and cycles you can expose the clothing to.
• If you are going to wash items, a hot wash cycle will also kill any bed bugs and their eggs.
• A cold wash cycle will not affect bed bugs.
• Clothing that you put in dissolvable laundry bags, can be placed directly into a washing machine and laundered. We suggest GreenClean Dissolvable Laundry Bags. Be sure you are washing the bags on the recommended cycle that is consistent with the dissolvable bags you purchased.
4. Inspect regularly.
If you followed our previous recommendations in this document, your final line of defense is already in place. This consists of the encasements and interception devices that you installed before your trip. Regularly inspect the encasements when you change your sheets and take a peek in the monitors at least once a week. If you see any signs of bed bugs or notice any suspicious itchy reactions, immedi- ately call a pest management professional to investigate the possibility of bed bugs. For more informa- tion, please visit “Bed Bugs 101” at www.BedBugCentral.com.
Allerzip Smooth Mattress Encasement
Keep bed bugs from infesting your mattress and increase your ability to de- tect infestations earlier with our premium quality Protect-A-Bed® mattress encasements. Protect-A-Bed® encasements have been exclusively designed with and endorsed by research entomologist, Richard Cooper. These are not generic, flimsy, or uncomfortable vinyl mattress encasements.
BEAP Co. Travel Kit
The BEAP Co. travel kit is a product designed to help travelers inspect and monitor a hotel room for the presence of bed bugs. If you’re a concerned traveler it might help you evaluate whether or not the room you are staying in may have bed bugs. It’s much easier to do then a visual inspection.
BlackOut BedBug Detector
Think of interception devices as bed bug alarms. These devices catch bed bugs as they travel around your home which improves the chance of early detection. We recommend the BlackOut BedBug Detector because it is du- rable and discreet. As with encasements, these devices will make your life easier in the event that bed bugs do come home with you from a trip.
BugZip Luggage Encasement
BugZip Garment Bag Size Bed-Bug Resistant Suitcase and Clothing Encasement. Protection for luggage and traveling, whether you are a frequent traveler or you would like piece of mind at home, BugZipTM luggage and clothing encasements offer a new solution to help prevent bed bugs from infesting your luggage and clothing. Traveling and overnight stays in hotels are some of the main culprits in bringing bed bugs home. Encasing your luggage and garment bags in BugZip will greatly reduce the opportunity for bed bugs to infest your home. The simple and durable design of BugZip makes encasing a variety of luggage and garments fast and easy once you arrive at your travel destination.
GreenClean Dissolvable Laundry Bags
GreenCleanTM dissolvable laundry bags were created as convenient and easy solution for transporting laundry that may be infested by bed bugs without the worry of spreading these pest and their eggs throughout your residence. These biodegradable and water-soluble laundry bags are an ideal method for safely transporting clothing from luggage to the washing machine after trav- el. GreenClean is also an important step in containing infestations already present in the home.
ThermalStrike Expedition Bed Bug Heat Treatment
Sustained heat is recognized as one of the most effective and complete methods for destroying all life stages of bed bugs and their eggs. ThermalStrike is a reusable, collapsible heating unit that provides a safe, pesticide-free meth- od for eliminating “stow away” bed bugs in your luggage and other infest- ed items that cannot be safely treated with chemicals or laundered. Ther- malStrike also is designed as a preventive measure for travelers, especially frequent business travelers since many hotels often have low-level bed bug infestations that are nearly impossible to detect by visual inspection. Items placed into the ThermalStrike are gently and thoroughly applied with sus- tained levels of heat in excess of 120 degrees.
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