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The Travelers' Guide to Avoiding Bed Bugs at Hotels

Everything You Need to Know to Keep Bed Bugs from Following You Home

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Gross as they may be, bed bugs don't transmit diseases.

Gross as they may be, bed bugs don't transmit diseases.

Photo: Flickr user JLplusAL

Bed bugs were once a pest of the past, but they’ve made a remarkable comeback in recent years. Just a few hitchhiking bed bugs in your luggage can start a full scale infestation of the bloodsuckers in your home, should you unknowingly bring them back from your travels.

The mere thought of bed bugs might be enough to make your skin crawl (literally!), but it's important you understand a few things about these pests and their habits.

First, bed bugs don't transmit diseases, and aren't generally considered a threat to your health. As with any insect bite, bed bug bites can be itchy, and some people's skin may be more sensitive than others.

Second, bed bugs are not a product of filth, and will inhabit even the cleanest of homes. Don't assume your house or your hotel room is too clean to host bed bugs. If there's something for them to eat (usually you), bed bugs will be just as happy in a 5-star resort as they will in a cheap motel.

Third, bed bugs are nocturnal. That means they're only going to show their faces at night, when it's good and dark. Don't expect to walk into a hotel room in broad daylight and see bed bugs crawling up the walls.

Fourth, bed bugs are small, really, really small. You can see adult bed bugs if you know where to look, but viewing bed bug eggs will require a magnifying lens. Because they're so tiny, bed bugs can hide themselves in places you'd never think of looking.

Fortunately, there's plenty you can do to minimize your chances of bringing bed bugs home from your next vacation or business trip. If you plan and pack carefully, inspect your accommodations for bed bug problems, and take some precautionary pest control measures when you return, you can travel without worrying about bringing bed bugs home.

Next: How to Plan and Pack for a Bed Bug Free Vacation

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