Bed bugs are nothing more than external parasites that hitchhike onto your stuff and come home with you, causing a great deal of stress and discomfort. They are, by far, the most difficult pest to get rid of and are multiplying at an alarming rate in the Portland Metro area. Most of the time, it will take multiple treatments to get an infestation under control and can cost hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars. Your best bet is to do anything you can to avoid them.
Since the majority of bed bug infestations are picked up while traveling, there are some precautions that you can take. Many of you will find yourself in airplanes and hotel rooms while you travel over the holiday season and you should go out prepared knowing the likely ways that you can bring home an unwanted pest.
#1- Hotel rooms
I would say that the most common place that you can pick up bed bugs is in a hotel room and I don’t think that it is even close. Most of the hotels that I have stayed at recently have a bed bug encasement around the mattress, which tells me that that room has had bed bugs at one point. With so many different people spending the night each week, the odds are that one of them will bring the pests with them and leave them behind. When you get to your hotel, lift up the mattress and start looking for them (see picture to the right to know what to look for). You can also look for fecal matter and discarded skins. If you see anything that looks out of the ordinary, it is time to switch rooms.
However, even if you do not see anything, you need to be careful. Many times, the bed bugs are not easily found, but will come out while you are asleep. A pretty sure fire to avoid bringing any home would be to put your luggage, shoes, etc. into the bath tub where they cannot get onto your stuff. If you feel that is a bit too much, at least keep your belongings off the floor. Doing this will usually avoid bed bugs from finding a nice crease in your luggage to ride home in.
Airports are usually another hot spot for activity. Think about your luggage that you so carefully placed up high or in the bathtub to avoid bed bugs in your hotel room. Well, that suitcase now sits next to the guy who stuffed his under the bed in the luggage compartment in the plane. There is not much that you can do about this, but you can still keep them from getting in your home. Before bringing the suitcases inside, leave them in the garage. Take all your clothes out and be sure to wash them. In the meantime, your suitcase can sit in the garage until your next trip. Bed bugs can survive for a long time and can find you by sensing carbon dioxide, but it is unlikely to happen when they are shut up in the garage. To be extra careful, stick your luggage in plastic bags and seal them.
#3- Your House
If you were not the one that was traveling, but your relatives where traveling to you, you might want to take some precautions. Chances are that your family is not as careful as you are and may not have made any of the attempts above to avoid bringing bed bugs to your home. After they are gone, you might want to check the bed or couch and look for signs of bed bugs. Catching an infestation early makes all the difference in the world.
If you need help in getting rid of bed bugs or have any questions, please do not hesitate to call or email!