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Sleep Tight, Don’t Let The Bed Bugs Bite: Checking Your Room For Unwanted Guests

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

While traveling is generally a pleasant topic, the next order of business may not be.

Along with travel comes the need to stay in a hotel. But, whether you expect to stay in a luxury suite or typical room or inn, you may want to go undercover before getting under the covers.

According to statistics, a growing concern is whether or not your bed is safe to sleep in. Regardless of how clean and updated your room and bathroom is (or appears), some unexpected visitors, commonly known as bed bugs may have noticed it’s appeal and settled in the sheets, well before you.

The critters tend to be oval in shape and similar to small lentil, and are only about ¼ inch in diameter. Typically these tiny bugs are brown, but after feeding on blood, take on a mahogany color, and if they happen to be habitating in your sheets will bite you as they feast on your flesh (sucking the blood from it) and leaving your body covered in itchy, red, swollen welts.

According to experts, the itching can last for weeks and while some people do experience severe allergic reactions to these bugs, they are generally not considered a health threat since they don’t promote or spread disease.

But, experts do suggest either carrying your own sheets and/or doing a quick check by following these five (relatively) simple steps.

1. Pull off the fitted (or bottom) sheet and examine the mattress visually and by feeling the upper and lower seams with your fingers. Also, since bedbugs tend to like hiding on the mattress tag, you may want to check it out too.

2. If possible, remove and examine the headboard. Or, simple look at the headboard for bedbugs or signs of excrement, which appear as tiny black spots, that are smaller than poppy seeds and are similar to pepper. Also look for translucent light brown skins, as well as live bugs.

3. Open drawers, especially by the bedside table and check for signs of bedbugs. Also check along the wall of the bed, especially in areas that are less apt to be touched by the cleaning staff and/or other guests. You may also consider examining the back of picture frames for blood stains and fecal marks.

4. Note that if you find white powder in the drawers or by the headboard, it may indicate that the room was recently exterminated (for bedbugs and/or other critters).

5. Should you find live bedbugs or sings of their excrement, make sure to notify management immediately and request another room or head off to another hotel (if you can get your money back). Either way, make sure your check your new room for bedbugs too.

Finally, as far as luggage in concerned. Make sure to never place your suitcase on a hotel bed or on the floor. Place your luggage instead on a bureau or preferably a luggage stand. Remember, if the room is infested with bedbugs, you don’t want them to make their way into your clothes and you certainly don’t want to bring any home with you. If you want to ensure that they haven’t gotten into clothes, you can kill them by laundering items in hot water and detergent, then drying them on low heat for at least 20 minutes or with standard dry cleaning. Once they are washed. Seal those items in a plastic bag to help prevent them from being exposed to any more creepy creatures.

And, if you do bring bedbugs home with you, keep in mind that the extermination process is difficult at best and may require throwing out not only your bedding, but your furniture as well. So, make sure to check, and double check you hotel bed to avoid any potential losses or problems.

Long Island Travel & Leisure Articles > Sleep Tight, Don’t Let The Bed Bugs Bite: Checking Your Room For Unwanted Guests

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