Although summer travel season is over, there's been no hiatus from the rampant bed bug infestations overtaking hotel rooms nationwide. Moreover, business travel is predicted to increase according to a recent survey from AirPlus International. So, experts at Steritech the second largest commercial only pest prevention provider in North America are offering tips for business travelers to detect bed bugs and help ensure they don't bring them home.
According to a statement issued jointly in July 2010 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there has been an "alarming resurgence" in the beg bug population in the U.S. Bed bugs, like head lice, feed on the blood of humans, but are not known to transmit diseases. Nonetheless, they cause mental, physical and economic angst wherever they appear.
Judy Black, a board certified entomologist and the technical director at Steritech whose clients include hotels, hospitals and educational institutions advises hotel occupants to always check out their hotel room before unpacking anything.
"The problem with bed bugs is that most people have little or no physical reaction to the bites at all therefore, they may never know they've stayed in an infested hotel room," said Black. "Before they know it, it is too late. They may have already brought bed bugs home with their luggage and infested their house," she added.
She stresses that it's important to take the following precautions to avert a bed bug encounter in your hotel room.
- When checking into your room, don't put your luggage on the bed, carpet or upholstered furniture as that's primarily where bed bugs like to hang out.
Instead, place your baggage on non-upholstered furniture such as the coffee table, desk or light stand, as long as they are not near the bed. You can place your suitcase on a metal luggage rack, but be sure to inspect it first.
- Pull back the bedding on the bed and check the mattress. Bed bugs are reddish brown in color and range from 1 to 7 millimeters in length. They usually hide during the day in the seams of mattresses.
-Bed bugs can also hide in box springs, head boards or dresser tables so be sure to check those too.
- If you find bed bugs in your hotel room don't panic. Ask the hotel to change to another room. Just because they are in one room at the hotel doesn't mean they are in another. Be sure to inspect the new room for bed bugs as well.
- When you return home from a recent stay at a hotel room, immediately inspect your suitcase for any signs of the bugs and place all your clothes that were packed in the suit case in the dryer for 15 minutes on the high setting even if you didn't wear them.
If you find that you have carried bed bugs home with you from a recent business trip, Black suggests calling a professional immediately rather than trying any home remedies or handling dangerous and often times inappropriate pesticides.
In the statement from the CDC and EPA, the agencies acknowledged that the exact cause of bed bugs is not known, but "experts suspect the resurgence is associated with increased resistance to bed bugs to available pesticides, greater international and domestic travel, lack of knowledge regarding control of bed bugs due to their prolonged absence, and the continuing decline or elimination of effective vector/pest control programs at state and local public health agencies."
Steritech is unveiling a new, patent-pending thermal chamber treatment method in October to treat bed bug infestations more effectively and in less recovery time than traditional and current methods.