The holiday season is upon us and is the busiest travel season of the year. By following a few simple steps, you can reduce the risk of encountering bed bugs.
Prevention Tips for Holiday Parties
If you are having a party and are worried about bed bugs, here are some simple steps to take:
- Do not put your guests’ coats or bags on your beds. There may be bed bugs on these items and they could move from these items onto your bed.
- Clean out your front closet and use for guests coats and bags during the party. If you are worried about bed bugs you can vacuum the closet after the party to reduce the risks. If you use a vacuum to capture bed bugs, seal and dispose of the vacuum bag as soon as you are done.
- While it is unlikely that bed bugs will be on shoes, you should place shoes on a plastic mat near the door as an extra precaution. Bed bugs have a hard time traveling on plastic and the mat can be washed with hot soapy water.
Prevent Bed Bugs from Entering your Home with Overnight Guests
If a visitor is coming to stay and you know they had (or have) bed bugs in their home, there are precautions that you can take to reduce the risk of bed bugs coming into your home. Remember that people do not usually carry bed bugs on their bodies, but bed bugs will sometimes hitch a ride on clothes that people are wearing. However, bed bugs are more likely to be on personal belongings, such as bags, purses, luggage, wheelchairs etc.
You can take these precautions to reduce the chance of bed bugs entering your home:
- When overnight guests arrive at your home be prepared to immediately:
- Ask your visitor to change into clean clothes.
- Launder all their clothing and dry on high heat for at least 30-45 minutes.
- Place suitcase/bags into a plastic box or large plastic bag which can be tied shut.
- Wipe shoes with a damp cloth and hot water (not hotter than 120°F), or if possible place in a dryer. Some dryers have shoe racks designed for this purpose.
- Use a bed bug mattress encasement on the guest bed(s).
- If your guests will be sleeping on a couch place a sheet (white if possible) over the couch, this sheet can then be laundered and the couch vacuumed thoroughly.
- If your visitor is bringing gifts and you are worried about bed bugs on these gifts, after the gift is opened:
- Launder any clothing or textiles.
- Wipe down plastic or wood items with a hot, damp cloth.
- Immediately throwaway boxes and wrapping in a sealed plastic bag.
Traveling and Bed Bugs
If you are going to stay with friends or family who have been dealing with a bed bug infestation, you can reduce the risk of bringing bed bugs home by:
- If you are traveling using public transportation, carefully inspect the seat and area around you. Bed bugs are commonly found on airplanes, buses, trains etc.
- Using preventative measures such as mattress encasements and bed bug protection spray on the bed you will be using, or ask your host to do so.
- Not putting your suitcase, clothing or other personal items on the bed. If possible keep these items distant from the bed.
- Bring a couple of large plastic bags and store your suitcases inside the bags.
- After returning home, immediately launder your clothing, or seal in a plastic bag until you are able to do so.
- Learn more on how to avoid bed bugs while traveling and how to inspect for bed bugs.
Above all, do not panic! With a few simple steps, bed bugs are easily preventable and should not become an all-consuming worry as we approach and enjoy the holidays. Please remember to enjoy this special time of year with your family and friends.