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Bed bugs are out there. Here’s how to avoid them at hotels, at home

Updated July 20, 2023 - 8:46 am

Las Vegas hosts millions of visitors from across the world every year and with all that travel there is potential for bed bug infestations to happen in hotel rooms and area homes.

Bed bugs are nocturnal small insects that feed on warm blooded animals, including people, birds, cats and dogs, according to the Southern Nevada Health District. Be advised that these insects are effective hitchhikers and can travel in luggage, clothing, beds and other furniture.

Traveling or buying second hand furniture are common ways infestations start.

SNHD says bed bug infestations have risen in past decades due to changes in pesticide practices and international travel.

“Bed bugs are common in Asia, Africa, Central and South America and Europe,”the SNHD website stated. “With the growth of international travel, bed bug infestations are steadily increasing” in Southern Nevada.

How to avoid bed bugs while traveling and staying at a hotel

Traveling can cause a bed bug infestation and with hotels accommodating thousands of people daily, checking a hotel room for an infestation can be an easy way to avoid being bitten.

Steps to take while at a hotel room:

— Place luggage on a luggage rack with plastic or metal legs in a hotel room and keep these racks away from walls.

— Check the mattresses and headboards for signs of bed bugs, as well as cracks and crevices near a bed.

— Signs of bed bugs include dark and brown spots on a mattress as well as dead skin, live insects or insect droppings.

If a hotel room is infested, the hotel’s front desk or management should be notified immediately and a room change should be expected. To prevent any bugs traveling to a new room, a person should have clothes washed in hot water and dried in a commercial dryer for one hour and then have clothes sealed in a plastic bag.

Sometimes it’s not possible to switch rooms at a hotel and if that happens a person staying in an infested room should sleep with the lights on since bed bugs hate light.

Anyone impacted by a bed bug infestation at a hotel should also notify the Southern Nevada Health District at 702-759-0588.

If a person stayed in a bed bug-infested area, these procedures should be followed to prevent the insects from traveling:

— Wash all clothes in 110 degree water and a dry in a machine dryer set on hot

— Inspect and scrub suitcases with a brush and vacuum them thoroughly

— Seal contaminated luggage in a plastic bag for several months, since bed bugs are resilient and can survive for months without feeding on blood

— Leaving luggage in a vehicle exposed to the summer heat for hours can also kill bed bugs.

Although these pests aren’t known to spread disease, their bits can develop into painful wounds and cause allergic reactions. It can take up to 14 days for a bed bug bite to leave a mark, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Here are ways the SNHD recommends dealing with bed bugs whether you are traveling or dealing with an infestation at home.

What do for a bed bug infestation at home

Homes have many places for bed bugs to infest since they have more furniture and cracks than hotel rooms.

The common signs that a home has bed bugs include:

— Itchy skin welts on residents of a home

— Small blood smears on bedding from crushed insects

— Dark spots on sheets, mattresses, box springs which indicate insect droppings

— Dried remains of insect skin.

Many insects can replicate these markers so the SNHD recommends that if a bed bug infestation is suspected a pest control company should be called to confirm and create a response plan.

Here are tips to get rid of bed bugs:

— Infested bedding and garments must be bagged and washing in minimum temperature of 110 degrees and dried in a machine dryer for at least an hour on hot

— Reduce clutter in the home

— Clean every room in the house

— Dismantle bed frames, remove drawers from cabinets and turn furniture over to ensure you’re not missing an infested area

— Use a powerful vacuum to remove bed bugs from cervices, and put vacuums remnants into a sealed plastic bag

— Steam carpets to kill bed bugs and eggs they may leave behind

— Encase mattresses and box springs with special mattress bags and seal any holes in these bags

— Don’t let sheets or blankets touch the floor and put bed frame legs into cups of mineral oil to make it harder for the bugs to climb

— Caulk and seal all holes where pipes go into floors or ceilings

— Clean picture frames, wall outlets, clocks, phones, televisions and smoke detectors.

If contacting a pest control company, ensure the company knows how to deal with bed bugs and ask for customer references.

For more information on bed bugs and how to deal with an infestation visit the SNHD website.

Contact Sean Hemmersmeier at shemmersmeier@reviewjournal.com or on Twitter @seanhemmers34.

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