- Bedbugs can hitch a ride along on clothing, in linens, and suitcase, making it easy to get them while traveling.
- If you notice the signs you have bed bugs, start by quarantining your exposed clothes and luggage.
- If you brought them into your home, make sure you thoroughly clean everything from your sheets to your suitcase using high heat.
It is every traveler’s worst nightmare. You enjoy a vacation and a few days after you get home, you find you’ve brought back an insect infestation as a souvenir.
Thankfully, there are a few steps you can take to protect yourself and prevent bedbugs from getting into your house.
First, check to make sure you actually have bedbugs
“If you stay in a location that has bedbugs, these pests could hitch a ride on you or your belongings and begin an infestation wherever you go, including your home,” a representative for the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) previously told INSIDER.
To ensure this doesn’t happen, when staying in a hotel or anywhere that isn’t your home, visually inspect luggage racks, upholstered furniture, the back of the headboard, mattress seams, box springs, and bed frames, using a flashlight or magnifier if you have one.
In addition, if you’ve already been exposed to bedbugs, you might notice small, red, clustered bites on your skin.
The best thing you can do is tackle the problem before you get home
If you have yet to enter your house with the exposed belongings, Michigan State University suggests putting all of your belongings, including your luggage, into sealed plastic bags to keep the bedbugs from dropping out where you don’t want them.
Once you arrive home, before rolling your suitcase into your home, unpack your belongings in your garage or even better, outside. Although it may be tempting to throw out everything this isn’t necessary as bedbugs can be killed using high heat or extreme cold.
Take all clothing and items that can be laundered and wash and dry them on high heat. Ideally, the water temperature should be 100 degrees Fahrenheit to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Then place them in new plastic bags to keep them isolated from what is still contaminated.
If you have already brought the bedbugs into your home, consider hiring a pest control service or you can follow steps to get rid of them on your own
It’s often easiest to hire a pest control service to rid your home of bed bugs, but if this is something you can’t do, here are steps to take to get rid of the problem on your own:
- You’ll want to quarantine your suspicious clothes and suitcases.
- Discard any items that are not valuable or heirlooms.
- Place any contaminated items in a plastic bag.
- Use a laundromat that has industrial washers and dryers with high heat settings to kill any bugs that might be in your clothing.
- For smaller, delicate items, you can actually place them in a freezer to kill any bugs.
- If you’ve already gone inside your home, use a steamer to clean the carpets, drapes, linens, and mattress.
- Wrap your mattress in a bed bug proof cover.
- Place bedbug interceptors on the feet of your bed for a few nights just to be sure you killed everything.