Vacation Traveler’s Guide to Bed Bugs

What causes bed bug infestations?

Travel is widely recognized as the most common cause of bed bug infestations. Often unbeknownst to the traveler, bed bugs will hitchhike on people, clothing, luggage, or other personal belongings and be accidentally transported to other properties.

Bed bugs are extremely proficient at going unnoticed by humans. As small, wingless insects with flattened bodies, they can hide in tight, secluded spaces that are often out of sight, such as behind headboards or deep in upholstered furniture.

Their flat bodies also help to protect them from being smashed if one of their hosts rolls over onto them in the middle of the night.  

Although bed bugs prefer to remain hidden, they will move out of their hiding spaces to feed when a host is nearby. But even then, bed bugs are cautious about their actions. To avoid detection, the reddish-brown insects typically wait until the middle of the night before beginning their quest for a blood meal and moving towards a host. When they bite, they inject their victim with a mild anesthetic to help them go unnoticed while they feed.

Characteristics of Bed Bugs

To continue cycles of mating and egg production, males and females must feed (consume a bloodmeal) once every 14 days. With regular feeding, a female can lay 1-3 eggs daily and 200-500 eggs in her lifetime. Should a bed bug’s regular feeding be interrupted, however, it can still survive for several months on one meal.

Bed bugs are not known to travel large distances on their own. However, they will attach themselves to movable objects such as bedding, boxes, clothing, and furniture. Besides residences, bed bugs are known to inhabit a variety of interior settings like offices, stores, hotels, and gyms.

  • About 3/16 – ¼ inch long (nearly the size of an apple seed)
  • Brown coloration with a flat, oval body (unfed); balloon-like and longer after feeding
  • Found throughout the U.S.
  • Mainly active at night – but will seek a host during daytime, if hungry
  • Produces a musty, yet sweet, odor — especially when found in large groups
  • Prefers to feed on the blood of humans
  • Susceptible to temperature extremes; will die when heat reaches 113 degrees

What Scents Do Bedbugs Hate?

That is why you need to do everything in your power to get rid of the bedbugs in your home. Bedbugs usually hide during the day and come out at night to feed. That is why it is almost impossible to physically flash all of them out. Fortunately there are certain scents that bedbugs hate that you can use to get them out of your home. Here are the scents that bugs hate the most:
1. Fresh mint

This makes it easy for you to kill them. The best way to harness the power of mint is by boiling it in a pot of water. These will release the strong scent so that it can spread throughout the house. After boiling the mint, pour the resulting solution in areas where the bugs hide to flush them out. You can also put the solution in a spray bottle and spray it around your bedrooms on mattresses and linens. You will also benefit a lot from the scent of mint in your home. The smell is not only pleasant, it is a stress reliever. Therefore, a little mint will keep the bedbugs and stress away.
2. A solution of garlic

The aroma of garlic in your home can make the bedbugs really uncomfortable. To be able to release the scent of garlic in your home, crush a few cloves close to the areas where they hide. You should also boil them in water to release the scent all over the house. After boiling for some time, strain the liquid and pour it in the areas where the bedbugs hide. This should be in cracks, crevices and other places. You should also put the liquid in a spray bottle and apply on bed frames, baseboards and other fixtures in the bedrooms. Unfortunately, you will also be irritated by the strong scent that comes from the garlic. However, you should persevere if you want to get rid of the bedbugs in your house.
3. Cayenne Pepper

This hot spice is not only helpful when you want to prepare tasty meals, it can also help you with the bedbug problem in your home. Sprinkle some cayenne pepper in places where the bedbugs hide. However, you should use this bedbug repellent with caution when you have children around the house. This is because it can burn their mouths or irritate their eyes and noses.
4. Alcohol

Bedbugs hate the smell of alcohol. You can get rid of the bedbugs in your bedroom by spraying alcohol in places where they hide. Many studies have shown that alcohol can also irritate the bodies of the bedbugs. There are so many products in the market that contain alcohol. You can also use skin care products that contain alcohol to keep the bedbugs away from you. The best time to apply these products is just before you go to sleep. However, you must be careful to ensure that you do not choose products that can irritate your skin. If you are allergic to alcohol, you should not use this option to deal with your bedbug problem.
5. Cinnamons powder

Cinnamon powder is another good ingredient that you can use to get rid of the bedbugs in your home. When you put this powder on your bed, most bedbugs will run way because they can’t stand its scent. You can put this powder directly to your bed to remove all the bedbugs that are on it. If you can find pure cinnamon powder, you can use products that contain this powder. There are very many of them in them in the market. You can also use the cinnamon powder in your kitchen.

How do you get rid of bed bugs permanently

Let’s get to the procedures.

What’s important to understand is… persistence and following the protocols. A bed bug treatment must not end after one treatment. This is because of external sources out of your control, which we will explain in a bit.

Below is a short and sweet process to follow every treatment cycle.

  1. Inspect entire property for evidence of bed bugs
  2. Collect removable linens, clothing, encasements & wash in high heat
  3. High heat steam clean bedding, carpeting, recliners, and furniture
  4. Spot treat all surfaces with bed bug spray
  5. Vacuum all areas of the property & seal bag and throw away
  6. Re-treat property with residual bed spray to prevent future re-infestations

How to prevent bed bug bites when traveling or staying in hotels

The last thing you want is an uncomfortable night due to bed bug bites when staying in a hotel. Experts recommend several tips to prevent bed bug bites when spending a night or two away from home.

  • As soon as you check into the hotel, stash the luggage in the bathroom (as this is the only place where bed bugs will not hide in).
  • Next, you must check the bedding by pulling back the linen and inspecting all areas behind the headboard.
  • Look out for red/brown stains which are the fecal matter or discarded exoskeletons of the bed bugs.
  • It is also important to check furniture, art frames and cushion seams in the hotels order to prevent bed bug bites when staying away from home.

Naturally, if you do see these tell-tale signs, you must call the hotel management and ask for another room or, better yet, move to another hotel.