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With Thanksgiving almost here and Christmas right around the corner, it isn’t surprising that many of us have travel plans in the works.  While some of us are going home for the holidays, others are heading out the door for a weekend getaway or that long awaited family vacation. Tickets purchased, check! Suitcases packed, check!  Bed bug inspection tools ready to go… Say what?!  Okay, maybe you aren’t quite ready to leave.  Unfortunately, bed bugs are a pest that every traveler should be aware of and anticipate.  More and more frequently, bed bugs are being found on airplanes, cabs and buses in addition to hotels and other commercial lodgings.  So how do you ensure that you don’t pick up these bugs on the way to your destination, or once you arrive?  To be honest you can’t really stop a bed bug from hitching a ride on your purse or suitcase, but that doesn’t mean you have to sit by and let these blood suckers ruin your time away from home.  Before leaving the house make sure to pack a small flashlight and these handy tips:

Bed Bug Tips For Before You Leave Home

  • Because it has fewer seams and folds (ideal places for bed bugs to hide), pack your belongings in a hard-shelled suitcase.
  • Pack toiletries in re-sealable plastic bags and only open when grabbing an item, and be sure to close the bag immediately.  Also consider doing the same for clothes and shoes.
  • Leave your own pillow and blankets at home.

Bed Bugs Tips For When You Are Traveling

  • If you catch a ride to the airport in a cab, keep your purse/backpack/carry-on on your lap and hang any garment bags on the hooks rather than laying them across the seat.
  • When boarding the plane, inspect your seat and surrounding areas for shed bug skins, eggs and reddish brown streaks or spots.
  • If you decide to rent a car, look for signs of bed bugs.  Areas that should be inspected include along the seams of the fabric and also the trunk.

Bed Bug Tips For When You Arrive At Your Destination

  • Whether you drove or flew to your destination, take a moment to inspect your suitcase and other personal belongings.  You don’t want to introduce bed bugs into your host’s home or your hotel room.
  • Before bringing your suitcase into the hotel room, inspect the bed including bed sheets, mattress and frame for signs of bed bug activity.  Also check nightstands and other furnishings in the room, wall hangings, curtains and along the wall where carpet and floor meet.
  • Do not leave your suitcase on the floor; instead use the luggage rack that is provided.
  • Do not use bureaus or dressers in commercial lodgings; work out of your suitcase instead.
  • Only open your suitcase to grab an item.  Keep it closed when not in use.

Bed Bug Tips For When You Get Home

  • Even though you want to rush inside, STOP!  If there’s a bed bug on or in your suitcase you do not want to bring it inside.  Take a moment to inspect your suitcase(s) for bed bugs in the front yard or in the garage.
  • Check clothing and personal items for live bugs.  You should also wash all clothing in the hottest temperature permitted by the fabric.
  • Consider treating your suitcase for bed bugs before storing it away.
At Plunkett’s Pest Control, we understand just how serious the bed bug problem is in Minneapolis and throughout our region as well as the country and urge you to use caution when traveling over the holidays and throughout the year.   With a little planning and a handy flashlight you can still enjoy your getaway.  And if bed bugs should make their way home with you, contact the Minneapolis bed bug control experts for more information on bed bug heat treatments and other bed bug services available!

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