5-12-2014: How to Enjoy Vacation Without the Worries of Bed Bugs

State pest association provides tips for enjoying a summer vacation without bringing home itchy guests

Raleigh, N.C. — As summer nears, the North Carolina Pest Management Association (NCPMA) is urging North Carolinians to be vigilant in preventing the spread of bed bugs while on vacation and at summer camps.

“Summer is just around the corner and with it comes vacations, summer camps and students returning home from college. But many people don’t realize that staying in camps, dorms, hotels or rental vacation properties can also make them susceptible to bed bug infestations,” said Clint Miller of Clint Miller Exterminating Co. Inc. and a NCPMA board member. “There are simple steps that can be taken to ensure that people can enjoy their vacations without worrying about bringing bed bugs home as an unwanted souvenir.”

A 2013 Bugs Without Borders Survey conducted by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and the University of Kentucky found that 49 percent of responding pest professionals treat bed bug infestations more during summer months than in winter months. The increase in travel during this time of year is thought to contribute to this.

Bed bugs are small insects that hide in small cracks and crevices close to a human environment.  They are often found in mattresses and upholstered furniture as well as behind baseboards, wallpaper and in furniture crevices. They can easily spread from room to room within a single building.

Although treating bed bugs requires a professional pest management company, there are several steps to help prevent bringing bed bugs into a home.  These steps are:

  • Vacuum suitcases after returning from a vacation, summer camp or dorm and throw away the vacuum bag or clean the canister. Wash all clothing from the suitcases in hot water.
  • Before sleeping in a bed at a hotel, rental property, camp or dorm, check the mattress, bed sheets, and headboard for tell-tale blood spots or signs of bed bugs. Carry a small flashlight to assist you with quick visual inspections.
  • If signs of bed bugs are spotted, alert the hotel or rental property staff.  Each hotel or rental property should have a Bed Bug Management Plan in place to assist you as the problem is addressed.
  • Consider bringing a large plastic trash bag in which to store your suitcase during stays at hotels, rental properties, dorms or camps.
  • Inspect all second-hand furniture and mattresses thoroughly for bed bug signs before bringing them into your home.
  • Bed bugs are elusive creatures, so it is imperative to seek professional pest control to address an infestation. Trying to treat a problem without a professional can make the problem worse and more costly.

About the NCPMA

Founded in 1952, the North Carolina Pest Management Association (NCPMA), is the trade association representing the professional pest management industry in North Carolina. NCPMA promotes the continued cooperation and success of all pest management businesses in North Carolina.  NCPMA is the only statewide association dedicated to representing and educating North Carolina’s pest management professionals.  To learn more about NCPMA, please visit http://www.ncpestmanagement.org.