ATLANTA - Atlanta-based pest control leader Orkin reminds holiday travelers to look out for bed bugs because they can be a threat to you and your home, whether you are staying at a five-star hotel, visiting relatives or have friends and family visiting you. According to AAA, 43.6 million Americans are planning to take to the roads, skies and railways between Nov. 21 and Nov. 25. The Federal Aviation Administration lists the nation's 35 busiest airports, and 30 of those cities can be found on Orkin's top 50 bed bug cities list.
"Bed bugs are great hitchhikers, so you have to pay close attention when traveling," said Orkin Entomologist and Technical Services Director Ron Harrison, Ph.D. "Bed bugs can find their way into your luggage, whether it is in a hotel, on a plane, train or bus and eventually make their way back to your home. If you brought home just one bed bug, it could reproduce and get out of hand in just a few weeks."
One female bed bug can lay one to two eggs a day and up to 200 eggs in her lifetime. Routine inspections will lead to early identification, which is important to help lower the risk of a severe problem and the need for extensive pest control treatments. Typically, bed bugs come out at night to feed, but during the day, they are most likely found within a 5-foot radius of where people sleep.
Research from the University of Minnesota has also suggested bed bugs are attracted to dirty clothes, so keep them in a sealed bag or container.
"It appears that body odor is one cue for bed bugs that there could be a food source nearby," said Harrison. "It may be an evolutionary trait that leads them to your dirty laundry, which makes sense, so do everything you possibly can to ensure you do not attract bed bugs."
When traveling, Orkin suggests using the acronym S.L.E.E.P. to avoid taking bed bugs home with you.