The resurgence of bedbugs has many travelers' skin crawling. They are turning up everywhere, from hotels, planes, trains, even high-end stores. Bedbugs aren’t going away any time soon, so be on the lookout, and don’t let these travel pests hitch a ride home with you.
Here are 10 things you need to know about bedbugs:
Bedbugs Don’t Need a Bed
Bedbug is a bit of a misnomer, because bedbugs can be found anywhere. According to the National Pest Management Association, bedbugs can found in cushions, behind electrical outlets, baseboards and even picture frames. Bedbugs are also excellent at relocating by hitching rides in luggage, boxes, shoes and any other mobile material.
Bedbugs Are Showing Up Everywhere
Bedbugs can be found in movie theaters, stores, college dorms, hospitals, day cares centers, libraries – any places where people go, bedbugs will go. Check out our Top 10 Bedbug Infestation Spots to find out more surprising places where these pests are hiding.
Bedbugs Are Not a Sign of Unsanitary Conditions
An infestation of bedbugs is not evidence of unclean living situations. World-class, 5-star hotels have reported bedbug infestations in recent years. The Waldorf-Astoria bedbug incident is just one example of bedbugs moving in to high-end digs.
Bedbugs Are Visible to the Naked Eye
Bedbugs are smaller than a grain of rice (1/4" in diameter) and look like a lentil or apple seed. They are brown to reddish-brown, and their body may have short golden hairs and exude a “sickening sweet” smell.
Bedbugs Don't Harbor Disease
Unless you're one of the few people who suffer an allergic reaction to bedbugs, your physical symptoms should go away shortly with little physical pain and no treatment. Contact your doctor if you believe you've encountered bedbugs for advice and a possible prescription for ointments or creams to reduce itching and pain.
Bedbugs Are the Most Difficult Pests to Get Rid Of
Bedbugs can live a year without eating. They travel and are very adaptable, making them hard to kill. They will routinely travel as far as 20 feet from their hiding places (and back) in one night to take a blood meal.
Bedbugs Can Feed on Family Pets
Bedbugs primarily feed on humans, but according to National Pest Management Association, “they can also feed on warm-blooded animals including birds, mice, and family pets.” Do Some Research Before You Book a Hotel While reviews on websites can be helpful, keep in mind that anonymous reviews aren't always impartial. Check out the Bedbug Registry, a free public database reporting bedbug findings in hotels and residences around the US and Canada.
Seek Professional Treatment for an Infestation
The first step is to have a professional thoroughly inspect the area you think has been infested. A pest-control professional will then determine the best method for controlling the infestation. When selecting a pest-control professional, find a company that has experience in dealing with bedbugs. You can find a referral from the National Pest Management Association.
Bedbugs Aren’t Going Anywhere
According to National Pest Management Association, bedbugs are found worldwide and are thought to have come to the US from Europe in the 17th century. A rise in international travel combined with a change in the pesticides and insecticides we use added to their resurgence. Bedbugs are here to stay, just make sure they’re not staying with you.
For more on bedbugs, check out Invasion of the Bedbugs. To see photos of other repelling creatures, check out our Travel Pests slideshow.