There’s one souvenir you never want to bring back from vacation—bed bugs.
Hotel rooms can be a hot bed of bed bug activity, luckily, as RD.com points out, pest control experts Rentokil.com have put together a how-to guide for checking your hotel room for the nasty little critters. Keep in mind that bed bugs are not picky about which bed they will sleep in. They are just as likely to pop up in roadside motels as they are in five-star luxury resorts. Before you unpack your bag or take an antibacterial wipe to the hairdryer and telephone, it might be worth a quick look for signs of bed bug infestation following this handy guide.
First things first: don’t put your suitcase on the floor until you know the room is bed bug-free. Consider stashing it in the bath tub or on a raised luggage rack. Once your bag is stored, start your investigation. As you may have guessed from their name, bed bugs really do like to hang out in beds, particularly in the mattress seams and under the mattress. That’s why experts recommend beginning a bed bug hunt by peeling back the blankets and bottom sheet on the bed and taking a careful look at the mattress. Some experts suggest using a credit card to really get into and under the folds in a mattress. Adults, nymphs, and eggs are all visible to the naked eye as are the shells they leave behind. Do you see tiny reddish-brown insects, small black spots the size of a pin, or perhaps tell-tale blood stains from their last victim?
While most of us would stop there, if you’re feeling particularly skittish, check the seams on any upholstered furniture in the room and even the curtains. Your hunt shouldn’t just include fabric, though. Business Insider recommends using a flashlight or your phone’s flash to look behind the headboard or bed joints to see if anything has been lurking in the dark and skitters away in the light.
If you do think your room has bugs, Rentokil.com recommends reporting your suspicion to the hotel immediately and asking to change rooms.
The good news is that while bed bugs are irritating and may rob you of a good night’s sleep, they are not known to transmit disease. If you do find yourself with unwanted hitchhikers, according to Consumer Reports, you can kill them by sticking your travel clothes in a hot dryer for 30 minutes.