CHARLESTON S.C. (WCBD) – This week is National Bed Bug Awareness Week. According to the National Pest Management Association, 97% of Pest Control Professionals in American have treated homes for bed bug infestations.
Bed bugs— they are expert hitchhikers and travelers nationwide have had run-ins with the critters while staying in hotels, vacation rentals, or at camp. Thus, if Summer travel plans are in your near future, experts say it’s important to take proper precautions to prevent these freeloaders from heading back home with your family.
Local exterminator and owner of Carolina Exterminating, Andrew Leilich, shares some expert tips:
- Bed bugs cling to fabric, so when visiting a hotel room or vacation rental, you should never store your luggage on a carpeted surface. “Take the luggage and these bags and as you travel to different locations, lets keep those on the hard surfaces. Let’s keep those in the bathrooms,” Leilich said.
- Always inspect the mattress & headboard for bugs or tiny blood spots prior to laying on the bed. “You can look around the edge of the mattress, but you can also take a blow dryer and heat up that area and see if they come out of those cracks and crevices,” Leilich said.
- If you are sending your kids to summer camp, the experts recommend washing all their belongings immediately (in hot water and dry on high heat) when they return home—a good tip to follow any travel. “I would take all the linens, all of the bags, I would wash them. I would double dry them and that will take care of any hitchhikers that might be coming through and the same with the duffel bags, the book bags, lets wash those or dry clean those as well,” Leilich said.
- Carry a flashlight to assist with visual inspections
- Consider a hard-shelled suitcase, offering fewer crevices where bugs can hide.
- Prior to heading out on a Summer get-a-way, cover your mattress and box spring in a bed bug proof cover. This will prevent the bugs from infiltrating the mattress, in case you accidentally bring one home. It will also make it easier for exterminators to spot the bed bugs & address the problem.
- If you think you may have brought bed bugs home with you, seek professional pest control assistance to address an infestation.