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Bed Bug Advice When Traveling and at Home

( Copyright 2012 Shawn Cole, Cole Home Maintenance. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.).

Cole Home Maintenance is an exterminator Located in Palatine and serving towns in
Lake County, Cook County, Mc Henry County, Du Page County, Kane County
630-306-7925
$60.00 to spray up to a 2 bedroom apt for bed bugs


Travelers can bring bed bugs home when they stay at a hotel that have an infestation of bed bugs.  The bed bugs crawl into your suitcases and you bring these pests home inside your luggage.

There are several things that can help prevent bringing bed bugs home with you.

1)  Check the bed       When you enter the hotel room, walk over to the bed and pull the bottom sheet from the bed.  Check the mattress to see
 if you can see any small dots on the mattress.  You are looking for spots on the mattress that may be old blood droplets or the skins of bed bugs.  Be sure to check the seams of the mattress carefully.  Bed bugs go through 5 growths in size.  Each time a bed bug obtains a blood meal, it sheds the outer layer of its body when it grows.    When bed bugs first hatch from an egg, they are so tiny that you would need a magnifying glass to see them.  By the time you can see them easily , they are several months old and have been laying eggs for months.     Pull up the top mattress and look under it.    Since bed bugs can be difficult to see, simply stare at an area of the bed and see if anything moves.  If you simply take  a quick look, you may not see them.

2)  Do not put your clothing in the dresser.      It will be impossible for a traveler to know if the dresser contains bed bugs.    Bed bugs are so
 tiny that they can hide in the seams of the dresser, on the back of the dresser and under the drawers.  It is much safer to simply not use the dresser drawers.  Keep your clothing inside your suitcases.

3)  Put your suitcases in the bathroom.    Bed bugs usually hide within 20 feet of the bed.  In most hotel and motel rooms, the bathroom is
the farthest you can stand away from the beds.  Bed bugs can hide in the carpeting, window blinds, curtains, drapes, furniture, chairs, mattresses, lamps, television  and chairs in the room.  The bathroom usually has ceramic tile walls and floors which are more difficult for bed bugs to find a crack or crevice to hide inside.    Hotels and motels usually keep the ceramic tile well sealed against water from the bath tub and shower and that also prevents the bed bugs from finding a hiding place between the tiles.   The farther you put your luggage from the bed, the better chance the bed bugs are not hiding.   These bugs really like to be near where you are.  Remember, you are their food.

4)  Purchase red cedar drawer liners      Very high end furniture always advertises that the furniture has "cedar drawers".  The reason is that cedar wood has a natural chemical in the wood that fleas, moths, bed bugs, cockroaches, ticks and other pests cannot tolerate.  The chemical will not kill bed bugs and other pests, but they avoid getting near the red cedar wood.    This is actually wood from the red cedar tree that has been made into 1/4 inch boards that are used as the bottom of the dresser drawers. 
5)   Bring clothing bags for your clothing       If you need to bring clothing that needs to be hung on hangers, such as suits and dress clothing,
bring light weight clothing bags and place your clothing inside.    Put all other clothing in plastic bags and tape the top opening shut.   Again, keep these bags in the bathroom with the actual luggage.   What you are doing is preventing the bed bugs from crawling onto your clothing.  These pests are so tiny that they can hide in the seams of your clothing and pockets, and you would not notice them.

6)  Purchase red wood cedar  chips from the local pet store    These are simply wood chips from the red cedar tree.  Pet stores usually carry
them because pet owners and breeders, vets and  shelters use them to line the dog and cat beds with the red cedar wood chips to prevent ticks, bed bugs, cockroaches, lice and other pests from hiding and living inside the pet beds.    Some dog and cat beds advertise on the label that they are lined with red cedar wood chips.     You can use this same technique to help protect yourself from bed bugs at home and while traveling:

Put about a cup of red wood cedar chips in an old sock
7)   Wash and dry all clothing when you return from a trip       One of the best ways to  help prevent the chance a bed bug has traveled
home with you   on your clothing is to wash and dry all the clothing immediately upon returning home.     DO NOT BRING THE SUITCASES INTO THE BEDROOM or empty them and put them in your closet.   Times have changed and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  

8)   Heat the suitcases in the hot trunk of your car     If the temperature outside is hot, put the suitcases in the trunk of your car.  When the
temperature gets to 140 degrees F, the bed bugs that may be in your suitcase will die.  This only works during the summer when it is hot outside.  Put the car in direct  sunlight to get the temperature up and leave it there all day.    If it is winter and the temperature is below freezing, put the suit cases, opened up, outside for 24 hours.  Keep the suitcases out of  direct sunlight so the sun does not heat up the suitcase with solar heat during the winter.   This method only works in the cold of winter and the very hot temperature of summer.  In spring and fall, I would recommend putting the suitcases in the garage and make sure you put in plenty of red wood cedar chips to drive any bed bugs from the suitcases.     This method also works if your home or apartment is infested with bed bugs.  You can put your child's toys inside the trunk of your car to kill the bed bugs.  It is very important to never spray pesticides on children's toys.    If the toys can be put int o water, submerge them in a tub of hot water and kill the bed bugs by drowning them.   They need air to breathe.


While the heat method works on small items inside the trunk of your car, and the cold method will work on small objects like a suitcase or child's toy in the sub-zero temperatures of winter, it will not work on mattresses or furniture.   The mass and amount of fabric in mattresses and furniture  simply does not lend it self to killing bed bugs by putting your furniture or mattresses outside in winter and they are too large to put inside your car.

While this method for bed bugs is not fool-proof, it does help lessen the chances of having bed bugs hitch-hike back to your home with your luggage.

See ColeRepair.com for other useful articles to help you understand cockroaches and bed bugs that can help you protect yourself.   Fee free to drop a line at Cole@ColeRepair.com if this information  is useful to you.