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Bed Bugs: The Vacation Souvenir No One Wants

Choices. Choices. There are countless options of what souvenirs to bring home from summer vacations. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) lightheartedly recommends opting for tchotchkes or t-shirts and not bed bugs.
Summer is prime time for bed bugs, notes Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. According to a recent survey, Bugs Without Borders, by NPMA and the University of Kentucky, nearly half of respondents in the pest management industry suggest infestations occur most often in the warmest months. Henriksen suggests, Since people tend to travel more and enjoy added leisurely pastimes during the summer months, its likely a greater number of people unknowingly transport the bugs home from their travels and recreational excursions.
Check out NPMAs Summer Guide for Avoiding Bed Bugs:
Hotels and Motels. Travelers should be vigilant in protecting themselves. Before settling into a hotel room, inspect in and around the bed for bed bugs. Keep suitcases off the ground, and dont put them on the bed. Store luggage in plastic bags. When returning home, wash and dry all clothes on hot cycles.
Trains, Busses and Taxis. According to the Bugs Without Borders study, 21 percent of pest professionals treated transportation systems for bed bugs. When on public transportation, keep bags and luggage off the floor or in plastic bags if possible.
Movie Theaters. Theaters across the country have experienced bed bugs, and with so many great new releases hitting the big screen this summer, its worth remembering a few precautions. Keep purses, bags and sweaters in your lap, and inspect yourself and all belongings upon returning home.
Libraries. Bed bugs must have something in common with bookworms because reading rooms and the spines of books are often harborage areas for these pests. Inspect all books carefully prior to check out.
Summer Camps. With constant turnover of guests, overnight camps sometimes unknowingly invite bed bugs as bunkmates. Encourage children to keep all personal belongings in their cabin in sealed plastic containers, and when they return home, inspect their luggage, and wash and dry all laundry on hot cycles.
College Dorms. Almost half of pest professionals report treating college dorms for bed bugs, so when students return, take that dirty laundry right to the washroom. Inspect all other items with which they return.
For additional information on how to safeguard against bed bugs this summer, visit www.pestworld.org.
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