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How to Avoid Bringing Bed Bugs Home

Everyone likes to bring souvenirs back from vacation —mementoes of places we’ve been, sites we seen, activities we done. But while it can be fun to have tokens from our travels, it’s not so nice when the “keepsakes” are in the form of bed bugs. Here are some suggestions from pest control experts from Largo on how to avoid any “hitchhikers” of the pest variety:Know your enemy. Bed bugs are similar to wood ticks—oval, flattened, brown, and wingless, and about 1/4" to 3/8" long. After a meal, their color changes to purplish red, and they are larger and more cigar-shaped. While unlike lice, they don’t travel on people, they do hitch a ride on clothing or in suitcases or handbags.

Before you unpack, inspect. Check the bedding, the mattress, the covers and pillows for any signs of infestation, says pest control specialists of Largo. Check behind pictures, on the rugs, in any cracks, crevices and corners in woodwork, walls or furniture. If you think you see a bed bug, call management and ask for another room.

Use the luggage rack. Keeping your suitcase elevated on the rack will help keep bed bugs from becoming stowaways inside. (Don’t overlook your briefcase or handbag, says pest control experts of Largo. Keep them on a hard surface, not on the spare bed or the floor.)
Be a neat-nik. Don’t toss dirty clothes on the floor or on the furniture. Use a laundry bag and hang it in the bathroom. Bed bugs don’t care if your stuff is clean or dirty, says pest control specialists of Largo. They are equal opportunity infesters.

Plastic, not paper. If you suspect that, despite your efforts, your clothing may be infested, encase it in plastic bags for the trip home. Sort your clothes the way you would before washing, so the items are ready for a quick trip into the dryer at the highest possible heat for 15 minutes. (Suitcase infested? Bag it too, says pest control experts of Largo).

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