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Bed bugs: the unwanted holiday travel guest

Lina Rokou - 14 November 2012, 15:21

Check for bed bugs when you get to your holiday destination and return home.

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.

  • Survey surfaces for signs of an infestation, such as tiny ink-colored spots on 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. Adults are about the size, shape and color of an apple seed when fully grown, and nymphs are about the size of a pinhead and ivory in color.
  • 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. Luggage can also be placed in a garbage bag or the bathtub.
  • Examine your belongings 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. Keep dirty clothes contained in a sealed bag.
  • 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.
"It is best to contact a licensed pest control professional if you think you have bed bugs," said Harrison. "You do not want to try and combat these pests yourself. Professionals can identify infestations using a variety of techniques like visual inspections, monitors, trained bed bug-sniffing dogs and DNA testing, in which common areas bed bugs are found can be swabbed and tested to confirm if bed bugs are present."


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"Dahai Dong" commented on 15 November 2012, 15:03:

Don’t be misled that it is difficult to get rid of bed bugs. You don’t need to throw away furniture, spray chemical to everywhere, seek bugs behind wall and under carpet, or perform retreatment again and again. An easy one-time effort stops bed bug bites forever even bed bugs continually migrate from other apartments. The video with text explains how easy to starve all of bed bugs because bed bugs must crawl to 3 objects (top of bed, tables, and chairs) before they bite and you can easily keep the 3 objects bed bugs free forever. The easy method not only starves bed bugs but also confirms success immediately by indication of no more bites forever. Only 2 methods can immediately tell you success. One is heating entire house to 120F. The other one is the starving method because no more bite in 24 hours is good enough to prove no more bite forever.
Many people have stopped bed bug bites immediately by sleeping in a slippery bathtub, providing 100% confidence for you to immediately and permanently stop bed bug bites by sticky barriers. Why did few people stop bed bug bites immediately by the starving method? People did not have any chance because tapes from most stores are not sticky enough confirmed by experts’ suggestion using oil instead of sticky tape to build barrier around bed legs.
Exterminators may challenge this method that bed bugs will fall from ceiling to bed and can live 1 year without blood meal. Bed bugs can’t fall from ceiling if you apply transparent packing tape to ceiling surrounding an area larger than bed. You can easily confirm that bed bugs can’t live for more than 3 months if you catch bed bugs into a glass jar without cap where they can feel smell of sleeping people and seek attacking routes every night without dormant. It is not important how long to starve the last bug because you have immediately solved problem or bed bugs in the room can’t hurt you.
CO2 trap kills bed bugs, but most bugs bite people and lay eggs fast. DE powder slowly kills bugs which bite and lay eggs before die. Steamer kills bed bugs, but those behind wall or under carpet lay eggs fast. Chemicals are usually worse than steamer because they are not suitable for clothing. A mattress encasement may seal 10 bugs inside mattress, but it only needs one day for other bed bugs to lay 10 eggs. If you throw away everything until nothing left in a room, a few of bugs behind wall make your effort futile. Bed bug bomb does not kill bed bugs. Heating to 120F fails if bed bugs migrate from other apartments. All of these are low efficient killing methods. As comparison, the starving method stops bed bug bites forever no matter how many bed bugs migrate from other apartments.
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