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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!  This magical time of year brings families and friends together to celebrate holidays, and overshare.  That can be a real hassle on social media, but when you find bed bugs have been shared with your family it is one gift you will really want to give right back.  Read more for Ace Walco’s top tips to prevent bringing the bed bugs home with you this holiday season.

Bed Bugs and Winter Travel

 

How to Spot Signs of Bedbug Activity

 

Bed bugs are excellent travelers—they are easily overlooked when hidden in luggage, bags, even the hem of your pants!  And they can be found just about anywhere these days, from the finest high-end hotels to your college student’s dorm.  Luckily, there are a few red flags you can look for to identify bed bug activity.

 

  • Bed bugs themselves look about the same size and shape as an apple seed.  When you arrive at your destination, take a few minutes to look around.  If you spot an apple seed with legs, book another room.
  • Brown or black stains on sheets or mattresses are left behind from fecal deposits as bed bugs eat; some say it looks like pepper.  It is a good idea for people to inspect their bedding when traveling.  If you tear back the sheets on your hotel bed and see something like this, save yourself some pain by moving somewhere else.
  • Bed bugs lay tiny white eggs—only about 1/16” long in crevices.  Be sure to inspect along seams in mattresses.
  • The various stages of a bed bug’s life also leave behind traces of their nuisance.  A bed bug infestation will have cast skins from molting along with the fecal stains, eggs and bugs themselves.

 

Avoid Bringing Bed Bugs Home

 

Thankfully, there are some things you can do to avoid bringing home any of these most annoying and expensive to treat insects.  Read further for tips on managing your luggage even if you were exposed to bed bugs while away from home.

  • Inspect your belongings thoroughly when you get home.  The most effective way to do this is to start by placing your luggage on a hard-surface floor.  This way if there are bed bugs, they will have to scurry for cover and you will see them.  Also, you can wipe a wet cloth over the floor around the bag to create something like a containment corral.
  • Next, go through your belongings and inspect for any bugs.  If you do find signs of bed bugs, don’t panic.  There is still hope of containing them yourself.  Place all your clothing or washable belongings in plastic bags for transport to a washer.
  • Set your washer and dryer to the hottest settings. Heat kills bed bugs.  Clean items that cannot fit in the washing machine by hand, with soap and the hottest water possible.  100°F-120°F should be adequate.
  • Finally, if washing is not an option, freezing will also kill bed bugs and their eggs.  For the most effective results, a minimum temperature of 23°F must be sustained for a minimum of 5 days.