There’s nothing worse than waking up to itchy bites when you’re trying to enjoy a relaxing holiday.
Bedbugs are a common pest around the world. Unfortunately, they’re small and hide during the day,
and the first time you’re often aware of them is when you start to scratch. Fortunately, there aresteps you can take to avoid this.
The first thing you need to know is how to spot a bedbug. They are commonly described as being like an apple seed – small, brownish, and oval (except after feeding, when they are redder from their
bloody meal). They move around at night, and find tiny crevices to stay in during the day. However,
there are various ways that you can use to identify whether a room is infested with bedbugs –
before you make the mistake of sleeping there. Look out for these:
- Does the room smell musty or unpleasant? This is a bad sign in any hotel room, but it could
also be caused by bedbugs. The odor has been compared to things like almonds, cilantro and
spoiled raspberries. If you smell it, keep a sharp eye out for the next signs on the list.
- Tiny black spots on the mattress, bed clothes, or even walls. This is bedbugs’ dried fecal matter. It’s a clear indication for you to get out of the room. Bedbugs can’t fly, but they can
move quickly over any surface, and are happy to make a new home in your luggage – if you
give them the chance.
- Minute outer shells. As they grow, immature bedbugs shed their skin multiple times, and leave the mottled shells lying around. As with the black spots, these show up well on lighter
- Actual bedbugs – or their eggs. Bedbugs show up well on lighter bedding, but their eggs, which are white, show up better against dark backgrounds. Take a bright torch with you to help check common hiding places – joints of the mattress, furniture, bed frames and headboards (especially wooden ones). Most bedbugs live in or within 15 feet of a bed, but they can also be found along the edges of outlets and carpets, behind mirrors or inside electronics, including smoke alarms.
You might feel like they could be anywhere now, but don’t let them ruin your holiday. There are a few things you can do to prevent yourself from becoming a late-night snack.
The most important thing is vigilance.
When you arrive in a new room, put your luggage in the bathroom until you’ve checked the rest of
the room – bedbugs are least likely to make a home in there due to the hard surfaces, and because
there are fewer fixtures to hide in. Then, perform a thorough search for the signs described above.
you find any, leave the room immediately with your bags, and get a different room – or different hotel. Neighboring rooms could be infested, too.
Bedbugs are annoying and persistent, but they don’t have to be a problem when traveling, if you’re
vigilant for common signs of an infestation.