Summer is a time of fun in the sun and vacationing in far away places for many families. However, this means you can also come home with some very unwanted hitchhikers: bed bugs. The information below is designed to help you detect the presence of bed bugs in your hotel or vacation area, detect them on your personal belongings, and learn what to do if you spot them. Many steps can be taken to ensure you come home from vacation safe and sound, and without any unwanted guests.

What Are Bed Bugs and What Do They Look Like?

Bed bugs are parasitic insects that feed on human blood. Because humans serve as a preferred food source, they make the easiest target while they're in bed asleep. Therefore, bed bugs are known to inhabit and infest areas around beds, mattresses, and other sleeping locations.

Of course, it's important to be able to recognize whether the insects you're seeing are in fact bed bugs. Bed bugs are brown in color and are flattish and oval in shape, and somewhat resemble certain types of ticks. Young bed bugs closely resemble their adult counterparts, just in a much smaller size. You may also find bed bug skins in the same location of an infested area. These are empty shells that bed bugs outgrew as they went through their various stages of development. You will also likely find fecal spots in areas of infestation, which are tiny brown or black dots of digested blood that bed bugs deposit in and around the areas they inhabit.

Bed Bugs in Vacation Spots

Unfortunately, even some of the finest hotels can be home to bed bugs. Since many vacation destinations are warm, sunny, moist areas, these are a preferred habitat for these pesky insects.

As you check into a hotel or other vacation residence, take a quick look at the wall by the bed, under the edges of the mattress, and underneath all the bedding. Pay special attention to cracks along the walls and floors, as bed bugs are largely nocturnal and hide extremely well during the day. If you spot any active bugs, empty shells or skins, or fecal spots as we discussed above, you know an infestation is likely. Short of moving out of your hotel room and into another one, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself from bringing the bed bugs home with you.

Don't Let Bed Bugs Come Home With You

If switching hotels isn't an option, one of the first things you can do if you spot bed bugs in your hotel room is to place your luggage, personal bags, clothing, and shoes up on top of the dresser or another surface that is off the floor. Don't place and store items directly on the bed.

When you're ready to pack up and head home after your vacation, it's best to seal personal belongings inside smaller zip lock bags. Clothing, shoes, blankets and other belongings can all be sealed in air tight bags and placed back in your luggage.

Once you get home, empty these bags outside and immediately wash everything that is able to be washed in hot, soapy water to kill any bed bugs that may have traveled along with you. Finally, be sure to treat your purse, suitcase, and any other luggage as well before you bring it into your home.

If you follow these steps, it's very unlikely for you to bring bed bugs home with you from summer vacation. However, if you are still concerned about a possible problem with bed bugs, contact All-Pro Pest Control right away for a complete and thorough inspection.