Bed Bug Travel Protection and Prevention
Serving Illinois and Indiana
Before you decide to cancel your holiday travel plans, there is one small comfort: Bed bugs like to hide in cracks and crevices, and dislike disturbance or movement. They prefer dark, quiet environments, and if you’ve ever been on a plane with a small child, you know none of that describes air travel.
However, if you do find yourself stuck on a plane with bed bugs, there’s very little you can do at the time. The only way to truly protect yourself from a holiday travel nightmare like this is to prepare beforehand and to make sure that the infestation doesn’t come home with you.
Take the following precautions when flying to minimize your risk of bed bug attacks:
- Cover exposed skin. Planes can get hot and stuffy, especially when fully booked, but dressing in layers can keep bed bugs off certain parts of your body. They’re too small to bite through most types of clothing thicker than pantyhose, so long sleeves and pants will keep you somewhat protected.
- Bring your own seat cover. It’s possible to purchase disposable cloth seat covers that will fit over most types of airline seats. Even if your seat is infested, bed bugs won’t be able to penetrate the fabric, so it should help keep them from biting or hitching a ride on you.
- Pack your own blanket and pillow. While airlines normally provide these for their passengers, it’s possible these items could be infested as well without their knowledge. It’s better to bring your own, bed bug-free blankets and pillows just in case.
- Wrap your luggage in plastic. This seems a bit extreme, but the stares you’ll get from other passengers will be a small price to pay compared to a suitcase full of bed bugs. Wrapping your luggage in plastic wrap or tying it up inside a trash bag is more than enough to keep bed bugs out of your luggage – whether it’s in the overhead bin or under your seat.
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Keep Bed Bugs Out of Your Home
Whether you’re traveling to or from Illinois for the holidays, the last thing you want is to bring bed bugs with you. These pests are especially fond of hiding in luggage because it has so many wrinkles and folds where they can hide. Even if you flew first class, stayed in a five-star hotel, and didn’t notice a single bug during your trip, it’s still smart to inspect your luggage after traveling.
The process is simple: Either outside or in the garage, open your luggage and place everything inside into a plastic trash bag. Then it’s just a matter of checking each item for the presence of bed bugs or their droppings. Remember, bed bugs are small and flat, about as large as a poppy seed or apple seed. Don’t forget to use a flashlight to check deep in the folds of clothing and bags where they like to gather.
What If I Find Bed Bugs in My Luggage?
Bed bugs don’t carry disease or venom, so if you do spot one, don’t panic. Try to collect one in a small plastic baggie if you can, then stick it in the freezer to kill it. This specimen can then be shown to a pest control professional, who can tell you if it’s actually a bed bug or some other lookalike pest.
Any infested clothing items should be sealed in trash bags and immediately laundered to kill the bugs. Anything that can’t be washed can be stuck in a dryer on high heat. As for the suitcase itself, if it can’t be washed or dried, simply seal it in a bag and leave it for a few weeks. By then, any remaining bed bugs should die due to lack of oxygen.
Bed Bug Protection
The final – but most important – step you should take if you accidentally bring back bed bugs from your travels? Call the airline you flew on and the hotel you stayed in. Bed bug bites can take up to 48 hours to appear, so it’s almost impossible to pinpoint exactly when you encountered them.
You should also immediately contact your local pest professionals at Anderson. We’ll send over a technician right away to inspect your home for any signs of an infestation and provide our industry-leading bed bug prevention service if necessary. Let Anderson put a little peace of mind underneath your tree this holiday season.