For many of us, the holidays are the time of year we travel the most. Whether you go on a vacation this year, or just go back home for Christmas, there is a pretty good chance that you will do a little bit of traveling between the start of December and the New Year.
In today’s post, the team at Northwest K9 Bed Bug Detectives will cover some basics of bed bug detection and prevention for you to remember while traveling this year. If you suspect a bed bug infestation after you return from celebrating, then be sure to contact our team in Seattle!
Traveling this Holiday Season?
Last year, more than 100 million Americans traveled in December, according to estimates from AAA. That is nearly a third of the country! Between getting extra time off from work and the numerous holidays such as Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve, December is simply one of the best times to drive or fly home for additional time with loved ones.
Unfortunately, almost all of our means of transportation — cars, busses, and airplanes — can be breeding grounds for bed bugs. Even if bed bugs are not on your wish list this year, you may end up dealing with them in the coming months.
Where Bed Bugs Like to Hide
Sometimes, bed bugs are hitchhikers. They can attach themselves to your clothing and end up traveling with you. Worse yet, they can travel with others who use the same planes, trains, and cars as you.
Many people perform visual inspections for bed bugs when they first check into a hotel room. While this can help you detect severe infestations, it won’t rule out the possibility of bed bugs being in the room. Bed bugs can be extremely difficult to detect visually, even for people that are experts.
Bed bugs can also hide themselves in cracks and crevices in wooden furniture, walls, and floors. In fact, the vast majority of bed bugs hide in areas where they can not easily be detected visually.
Some of the most common places for bed bugs to live are airplanes, airports, taxis, ride sharing vehicles, and busses. All of these areas are commonly exposed to people from all walks of life. Many of these people unknowingly transport bed bugs and bed bug eggs to public spaces, which can ultimately lead to an infestation in your home.
Signs of Bed Bugs
Since bed bugs are potentially hiding in each of your means of transport this year, you will want to know the signs of bed bugs. Knowing the most common signs will help you ensure that you take care of any post-holiday bed bug infestations early.
Bites are the most common sign of bed bugs, but you may not even notice when a bed bug bites you. Bed bug bites often itch and form welts on those who are allergic to bed bug bites, but if you are not allergic, then you may not notice anything at all.
Even if you are allergic, it can take up to 14 days for a bite to become noticeable. So although you didn’t notice any issues at the time, that hotel you slept in last week could have been infested. It may just take some time for the signs to show.
You should also check your bedding for bloodstains from bites. You may not have felt pain or an itch, but a bed bug bite can still cause you to bleed in bed.
Remember to look for dark brown spots as well. Bed bug excrement, eggs, and shedded skins often cause noticeable brown spots. The bugs themselves can smell bad too, so if you notice any foul smells around an area they could hide, it might be a sign you need an inspection.
Inspections From Bed Bug Sniffing Dogs
The best way to determine whether or not you brought bed bugs home with you during the holidays is to get an inspection from a bed bug sniffing dog. Magic is our bed bug detection dog, and Magic is an expert at tracking bugs down.
Magic is 97 percent effective in detecting bed bugs, which is much better than any human can do. Magic sniffs for bed bugs and alerts us of what he finds. You may not notice the signs of bed bugs, but Magic will notice the things you miss.