BOSTON (CBS) – Just saying “Bed Bugs” is enough to make anyone’s skin crawl. The last thing you want to do is bring them into your house after traveling.
In New York City, parts of the Empire State building and some upscale stores were closed to tourists because of bed bugs. It’s a warning to tourists to be careful of being exposed to these pests when they are away from home.
Most people don’t realize they’ve been bitten by bed bugs until they develop welts a couple of days later.
WBZ-TV’s Paula Ebben reports.
Many hotels are taking steps like unleashing bug sniffing dogs and training staff to search for any signs of these bugs. To really protect yourself however, experts say you need to take your own precautions.
No Drawers. For starters, make sure you set your luggage on the luggage rack. “But take a look at it first,” Thomas Scott of Orkin Commercial Services warned. “There’s no rule that says they can’t be on the luggage rack.” Also avoid putting your clothes in the drawers of any hotel.
Self-Inspect. Second, inspect the bedding carefully yourself. Remember, bed bugs are small enough to fit on the eraser of a pencil. You also want to look for red or back dots. “If you took an ink pen and made dots all over that bed sheet, in the corners, that’s what bed excreta would look like,” Scott said.
Bed bugs can hide behind pictures, headboards, or nightstands as well as the bed.
Wash Everything. Even if you take precautions when you are away, be careful when you get home. For example, you should inspect your luggage outside, or in the garage, before you bring it in the house. Then, put all your clothes in the wash. Make sure to use hot water and put them in the dryer for at least 20 minutes.
These are habits all of us might have to get accustomed to when we travel. Scott thinks bed bugs could triple or quadruple over the next two years.