Raise your hand if travel news in the last few years has made you extra cautious about bedbugs? I am definitely much more aware of the possibilities even in the nicest hotels. So, when I found this interview with Patricia Hottel, technical director at McCloud Services, on WGN’s ‘Midday Fix,’ I knew I had to share it.
Hottel introduces us to the critters and provides some excellent tips for travelers who want to reduce their risk of encountering bedbugs or, worse yet, bringing them home. Her interview takes you through the steps of identifying if your mattress is infected. I always assumed that if I didn’t see them scurrying around on the mattress that I was safe. Not so! You should not only inspect the mattress and box springs for the bugs themselves, but also note if there is a “pepper dot” trail (turns out that this is fecal matter left behind by bedbugs). You should also inspect cracks in the piping, lift tags and, if possible, check behind the headboards.
Even if the room appears to be bedbug-free, Hottel suggests taking extra precautions with your suitcase to help guarantee that you don’t accidentally take some unwanted visitors home with you. She suggests never putting your suitcase, or clothing, on the host surfaces—namely the bed or sofa in the room. If possible, bring a plastic bag (a garbage bag will do) and wrap your clothes in that inside the suitcase before heading home. Then once you are home, leave your suitcase in your garage (or balcony) and take the bag with your clothes straight to the laundry for washing. The dryer temps are usually high enough to kill any remaining bedbugs.
Still concerned? Patricia Hottel provides valuable information in her video interview on a number of gadgets, detectors and traps that could help you in your fight to reduce the risk of bedbugs while you travel.