Have you ever experienced waking up with itchy red welts on your skin? Don’t accuse the mosquitoes and roaches yet – chances are that you’ve been sleeping with bedbugs and you’re still unaware.
As its name implies, a bedbug is a parasitic insect that usually lurks in, well you guessed it – bed. These crawlers tend to be active at night when the host is asleep and hide from view during the day. Their minuscule size allows them to fit easily in bed frames, mattresses, linens, and baseboards. Just because they’re dubbed as bedbugs doesn’t mean they only stay crawl on beds. They can also chill in electrical outlet plates, carpets, and other furniture. The bug is just as small as an apple seed and they usually hang out in cracks and crevices.
And you think you’re safe in pricey and clean hotels? Think again. These tiny crawlers have established clans in hotels and motels. Even if you’re staying at a modern, highly-acclaimed lodging establishment, like one of the Parramatta hotels in Australia this holiday season, you should also remain watchful. They can travel from room to room. And if you’re not careful, they can hop onto your luggage, purses, and briefcases, and travel with you.
Luckily, it is possible to beat bedbug infestation and enjoy a stress-free, worry-free stay in hotels this holiday season.
1. Know the face of your sly enemy
Bedbugs are flat, reddish-brown, oval insects with six legs. They can grow up to 4 to 5mm long. These bothersome critters feed mainly on blood and they turn swollen and reddish after a blood meal.
Bedbugs are not just terrifying and disgusting to see – these pesky critters are injurious as well. They feed exclusively on blood; when you’re bitten, you may develop itching, red welts, and swelling. Research also suggests they can cause distress and anxiety, especially to germaphobes.
2. Watch out for the hidden signs
How will you know if the room is infested with bedbugs even if you can’t see them crawling around? Look for traces.
Tiny, nasty details including light yellow sheddings (outgrown skins), blood stains, small, roundish, dark brown to black spots (fecal spots) that look like ground pepper, and pearly white eggs signal an infestation of bedbugs. If you see these pieces of evidence, don’t hesitate to call the hotel staff.
3. Run a thorough inspection of bed bugs
Now that you know who you’re up against, it’s time to run an inspection. Apart from the bed itself, inspect the area surrounding the piece of furniture. Studies have shown that most bedbugs are found within 15 feet of the bed.
- Mattress. Bedbugs effortlessly fit at the seams and zips of a mattress so make sure inspect it. Pull back the linens and check all the way around and under the mattress.
- Bed frame. Check the joints of the bed frame and along the slats. Look for cracks and crevices in the bed frame. See what’s lurking behind the headboard and baseboard of the hotel bed.
- Sofas, soft chairs, throws. Bedbugs love soft furniture, so check your couch, soft chairs, and throws. Pay attention to the cushions and along the seams and zips. You could also uncover and look inside.
- Closets, cupboards, nightstands. Check along the seals and joints of cabinet doors and drawers. Look for cracks and crevices where bedbugs usually hide. Next to the furniture, the objects placed in/on the furniture should also be checked. Look around nightstand ornaments like around the lamps, behind picture frames, under the telephone and alarm clock, and even in books.
- Walls and floors. Broaden your search by looking at areas where furniture, skirting boards, and carpets meet the wall. Check electrical outlets as well.
4. Keep luggage off the bed and the ground
Leaving bags and suitcases on the bed is one way to bring home an unwanted souvenir. Never place the luggage on or near beds, and on the ground. Don’t leave clothing laying around either.
Place it on a designated fold out luggage stand but make sure to check the part where the webbing wraps around the frame. You can also place your bags on the table top, on top of the dresser, or on a luggage rack.
5. Cover your things in plastic
If you think the worry of bedbugs would constantly keep you up at night, then opt for extra protection. Keep your luggage encased in plastic cases during your trip. You can use zip-up bags for this purpose.
Another hack is to wrap your suitcases in garbage bags. We’ve seen many people traveling with plastics wrapped around their luggage. Ridiculous and unsightly as it may seem, the hack can actually protect your belongings from bugs that can attack in transit, airplanes, trains, and cabs.
6. Go for the bathroom
Bed bugs are less likely to be found in the bathroom. Experts suggest that these critters hate tile floors, and there aren’t as many hiding places in the loo. That being the case, it’s safer to stash your luggage here.
7. Move two floors away
If any suspicious evidence of bugs is enough to warrant a new room, the hotel staff should be willing to transfer you to a new room. But it won’t make any sense if you’re moved to the next room on the same floor.
You can request that your new room be at least two floors away from your original one. Chances are that bed bugs can follow you as they can travel from room to room via wallboards or electrical sockets, looking for meal sources.
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is one of the writers for Holiday Inn Parramatta Accommodation, a modern hotel known for their exceptional accommodation, service, and location, which appeals to travelers in Australia. She loves doing landscape photography