A guide to avoid bringing bed bugs home from holiday

Bed bugs are nasty hitchhikers that have tortured many a traveller returning home. Make sure you don’t bring any of these bugs home by keeping in mind the S.L.E.E.P. acronym, which reminds us how to look for bed bugs and take care of our luggage.

Just one female bed bug could lay eggs and quickly cause an infestation. Although you can check a Bed Bug Registry to try to avoid hotels with reported bed bug problems or eliminate bed bugs with a DIY hot box, for any hotel stay it’s wise to check for signs of bed bugs (who hide even in the cleanest homes and finest hotels).

S.L.E.E.P.

Survey surfaces for signs of an infestation, such as tiny rust-colored spots on bed sheets, mattress tags and seams, and bed skirts.
Lift and look for all bed bug hiding spots, including underneath the mattress, bed frame, headboard, and furniture. Typically, they come out at night to feed, but during the day, they are most likely found within a 5-foot radius of the bed.
Elevate your luggage on a luggage rack away from the bed and wall, since bed bugs can often hide behind head boards, artwork, picture frames and electrical outlet panels.
Examine your luggage carefully while repacking and when you return home. Always keep luggage off the bed and store it in a closet or other area, far away from your bedroom.
Place all your clothing from your luggage immediately in the dryer for at least 15 minutes at the highest setting upon returning home from travel.

By Melanie Pinola

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