Bedbugs don’t just live in beds. These apple-seed-size insects recently popped up in trains, airports and movie theaters in Paris, leaving some travelers there feeling anxious about every little itch.
In hotel rooms, the pests can hide out in furniture, waiting for his or her likelihood to return out, often at night, to feed on humans’ (and pets’) blood while they sleep. Their bites, often painless, often occur in clusters or lines.
Although bedbugs generally pose minimal risks to health, said Bryon Backenson, director of communicable diseases on the New York State Department of Health, their bites may cause allergic reactions for some and, after all, they’re a source of discomfort and anxiety for just about everyone else.
Here are some ways you’ll be able to prevent bloodsucking stowaways from sneaking home with you.
When you arrive
Check your hotel room before you agree in, even when the room is spotless. The warmth, blood and carbon dioxide of humans are much more vital to bedbugs than an unsanitary environment, in accordance with the Environmental Protection Agency’s bedbug myth website. But, the web site adds, clutter may help them hide.
When you first enter the room, immediately put your luggage in the lavatory, then do your bedbug inspection, advises Jody Gangloff-Kaufmann, a senior extension associate at Cornell University who focuses on pest management and has a doctorate in entomology.
Adult bedbugs are wingless and have six legs and a flat, oval body. They’re concerning the size of Lincoln’s head on a penny, in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The eggs are pearl white and concerning the size of a pinhead, the E.P.A. website says.
Thoroughly check the bedding, box spring, bed skirt, side tables and even the alarm clock, anywhere the bugs can hide.
“The very first thing you would possibly notice is the fecal stains that they leave behind, which is form of like magic marker dots in fabric,” Dr. Gangloff-Kaufmann said.
Also check the headboard; some may be popped off the wall. If there’s powder behind the headboard, Dr. Gangloff-Kaufmann said, which will an indication that the room has been treated for bedbugs up to now.
Pack a small LED flashlight you need to use as you do your inspection. It will help illuminate any eggs or shells discarded during molting. Finally, check the remainder of the furniture and any nooks or crevices — think baseboards, moldings and floors — across the room. A sweet, musty smell can also indicate the presence of bedbugs.
Commercial bedbug tests similar to the swab-based TruDetx, which guarantees “reliable detection in only five minutes” may go, but wouldn’t have enough scientific studies backing them up, said Dr. Gangloff-Kaufmann. They can even provide a false sense of security, Mr. Backenson said.
If you discover any evidence of bedbugs, don’t remain within the room. Instead, contact the hotel staff, leave the room along with your belongings and request a room in one other a part of the hotel — not adjoining to the infested one.
During your stay
Minimize the places a bedbug could hide by storing your clothes in sealable plastic bags. Some travelers also bring large, airtight plastic bags for his or her luggage.
A tough suitcase, Mr. Backenson said, could also be a safer selection than soft luggage since it has fewer crevices where bedbugs can stow away. Always keep your luggage on a rack, away from the wall, or in the tub.
Do not sprinkle diatomaceous earth — a white, silica-rich powder that some travelers have deployed to desiccate bedbugs — in a hotel room, Dr. Gangloff-Kaufmann said, because it might contaminate the room and potentially even cause a scare if a hotel employee sees it and doesn’t recognize it.
Blasting your luggage or clothes with a hair dryer or a conveyable steamer, one other popular tip, may not work since the temperature might not be high enough for long enough to kill the insects, said James Mulloso, vp of Northeastern Exterminating in Brooklyn. Their eggs may take as much as 90 minutes at 120 degrees Fahrenheit to destroy, the E.P.A. says on a web page for bedbug control.
Wiping down your suitcase with rubbing alcohol, one other popular bedbug-fighting strategy, may help kill the insects if done safely in a well-ventilated area, Mr. Mulloso said, but take into accout that rubbing alcohol is flammable, and it could possibly be dangerous.
After you come back home
After your trip, unpack your bags in the lavatory against a light-colored surface, so you’ll be able to spot any bugs, the New York City Department of Health advises, then shake out the clothing in a tub or shower and vacuum out your luggage. Don’t forget to empty the vacuum and get rid of its contents.
Put your clothes within the dryer as soon as possible, the experts agreed, and run it at the most well liked setting for a minimum of 20 minutes to kill bugs and eggs.
If you’re thinking that an item has been exposed to bedbugs and it cannot go within the dryer, seal it in an airtight plastic bag and leave it in a warm area for six months — the time it takes for the bugs to die from lack of water, Dr. Gangloff-Kaufmann said.
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