At Russell’s, we know that many of our customers may be traveling for the holidays, so it might be time to discuss the high-profile topic of bed bugs. Our intention isn’t to cause anxiety, but we want you to be able to visit out-of-towners without bringing any home with you. So, this will be a two-part series. In this post, I’ll discuss some quick tips to protect you if you’re staying in hotels. Next time, I’ll discuss some facts (and fictions) about bed bugs that may help you to avoid them in your daily life.

Everyone wants to know how to tell if bed bugs are in a hotel room. This suggestion may sound a little daunting, but I think that your first line of defense is to ask the hotel employee when you book your room whether they have rooms quarantined for bed bugs. Several people have told me that is rude, but I disagree. You don’t have to attack or accuse; simply ask if they’re having a problem. If they say they do have rooms quarantined, you don’t necessarily have to change hotels. Ask for a room far from the affected area. Bed bugs aren’t long-range pests; their presence in one room doesn’t doom the whole hotel. They will stay put as long as they can obtain consistent meals. This makes it much easier for a pest control company to isolate and eliminate a problem quickly. However, you should always think of bed bugs in three dimensions. You don’t want to be directly next to them or above or below them.

After you check in, go up to your room before bringing anything inside; if you bring a purse with you, don’t lay it down on the ground until you’ve inspected the room. The most well-known signs of bed bugs are small reddish-brown stains in the seams of the mattress; those stains are the bed bugs’ waste (i.e. old blood). Pull up the fitted sheet and have a look at the little ties and grooves on the mattress top, and don’t hesitate to ask an employee if you find something that concerns you.

We recommend getting creative with your luggage. Don’t just pile it in a corner next to the wall. Bed bugs commonly hide under baseboards during the day before emerging at night to feed. Placing your luggage in an out-of-the-way corner gives them easy access to hitch a ride. Oddly enough, a good place for it is the bathroom. Bed bugs are less likely to inhabit the bathroom since they want easy access to their prey in the bed. Also, you can leave the light on in the restroom full-time. Since bed bugs are nocturnal creatures, light will naturally decrease their activity. Some of our inspectors recommend keeping luggage in the bathtub at night. Most bugs have a lot of trouble climbing up and down those sloped tub walls. They may be less likely to pursue your luggage into the bathtub, and you would be more likely to see them if they do.

With the publicity that bed bugs are getting, people have a lot of questions. We understand that sometimes travelers need an expert to talk to for good advice or some peace of mind. You can always contact us with questions, whether you are in need of service or not. Feel free to call or contact us here. We’ll get you the answers that you need as quickly as possible.

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