Advice for frequent travellers
One of the main reasons for the increase in incidences of bedbugs is increased travel. If a room that you stay in has an infestation of bed bugs they can easily spread to your bags and clothes before you experience any of the symptoms such as bites. There is an equal risk of picking up a couple of unwanted travelling companions regardless of whether you are staying in a five star hotel, a hostel or on a friends sofa bed.
We advise frequent travellers to protect their luggage with a protective layer of cling film or pallet wrap during long haul flights, this is to avoid picking up bed bugs from adjoining bags in the cargo hold. Although this is a small risk and one of the more infrequent methods of transmission, as the problem increases globally it is likely to become more common.
Before unpacking your bags a 3 minute check of the room for signs of bedbugs can save days of misery and discomfort. Always check the bed and any surrounding furniture for the following signs:
· Clusters of eggs and live insects around the head board especially near joints in the wood and behind any pictures that hang above the bed.
· Signs of excreted blood near the junction of the wooden slats and bed frame (see example pictures in the gallery section).
· Signs of live insects or excreted blood on the mattress most commonly on the darker side or against a wall.
Bedbugs usually nest within a few metres of potential food sources and invariably in small gaps and crevices. If the signs appear dull or diffused it may indicate an old problem which has been successfully treated.
If you are in doubt about a room request a change to another part of the accommodation. A sensible host or hotelier will be aware that rapid identification and treatment is the only solution for the effective eradication of bedbugs.
Even if the room appears clear never place you bag beneath the bed. In the earliest stages of an infestation visible evidence may be scarce and the insects are most likely to be in the same area that they were deposited in, often on the previous occupant’s bag.
In the event that you have been exposed and notice either bites or unexplained blood spots on the sheet of the bed, take time out of your schedule to perform the following steps prior to checking into your next destination:
1. Open you bag and repack all items sorted into washable loads sealed in refuse bags.
2. Examine the bag including all seams, zips and pockets for signs of bedbugs. If any eggs or live insects are found the bag must either be sealed in a refuse bag and disposed of or soaked in boiling water and scrubbed to manually remove and destroy the insects.
3. Purchase a new outfit, change into it and immediately proceed to a laundrette to wash all your clothes. All items must either be thoroughly inspected by hand for signs of bed bugs or washed at a minimum temperature of 60˚C.
4. Items that are not washable such as books and electronic equipment must be inspected and if in doubt left sealed in the refuse bag until they can be professionally treated.
There is some evidence that tumble drying on high heat for 2 hours per load will also dehydrate and kill bed bugs. In our experience however the use of microwave ovens and hair dryers is not recommended as the time required to kill the bedbugs would do damage to the equipment.
Upon arrival at your next long term destination take the time to unpack and inspect all your items to ensure that no unwanted hitch hikers have come along for the ride.
The use of mosquito nets can be a relief against the bites of adult bedbugs if fitted correctly and must always be held away from contact with the body. To be effective in the control of bedbugs nets must be sprayed every 14 – 18 days to ensure that the poison remains active.
Early detection and identification of the source are the most important issues in successfully controlling and eradicating bedbugs. If you don’t discuss your experiences with the owner of the room you picked up the bedbugs from, they may not be aware of the problem - after all not everybody gets bitten.
Pre Treatment Procedures
The first step in clearing an infestation is to identify the source and ensure that it is professionally treated. To facilitate this the room should be thoroughly checked for signs of bedbug activity. Avoid moving or disposing of items from the room as too much disturbance may spread the infestation to adjoining rooms. For detailed information please contact us for guidance.
If you have been previously treated or have used any store bought products it is helpful for our own health and safety for you to be able to identify what products have been previously used. In particular any dusts or powders must be removed from the area prior to the assessment. Some of these products simple act as a deterrent for bedbugs and do not solve the issues in the long term.
It is important not to dispose of any furniture until it has been treated, replacing the bed may give temporary reprieve for a few days but the problem will return. If any furniture is too infested to be treated your pest controller will advise you during the inspection phase, to date we have recommended the destruction of 5 or 6 items of furniture out of 29,000+ cases.
Avoid moving furniture and bedding between rooms and where possible clothes that are not being used should be washed at a temperature above 60°C degrees and sealed in plastic bags.
The bed should be left in its usual place but special care should be taken to ensure that the area around and under the affected beds are kept free and clear.
Post Treatment Procedures
There is no standard procedure for post treatment as it is very much case and extent dependant. It is however highly recommended that you keep an accurate bite diary to record activity in each treated area and precisely follow all recommendations made but the treatment technician.
If your infestation is being treated by us the technician will leave you with a 50+ page instructions pack detailing everything that you need to do to maximise the efficiency of the treatment. This pack must be followed to the letter to ensure our continued support in clearing your infestation.