How To Avoid Bed Bugs While Traveling

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Bed bug travel tips

No matter where you travel, bed bugs can turn an enjoyable trip into a nightmare. Whether you wake up and find bites all over your beach body, or wake up in a lodge (to go tag a moose) and realize you're now covered in uncomfortable, itchy bites, your vacation is going to be ruined. Sometimes bed bugs don't even wait until we get to our vacation destination. They can bite us while we're relaxing on the plane, bus, train, or boat. So, how do we protect ourselves from these miserable, blood-eating insects when we travel? Here are some ideas that will help.

bed bug crawling on hotel room headboard

What you don't know CAN hurt you

One of the most important things you can do to prepare for a trip is learning how to identify bed bugs and the signs bed bugs leave. If you sit in a bus seat and notice that the seat in front of you has insect skins on it, would you know that you are in danger of getting bed bugs? If you are in a clothing store on some tourist boardwalk and see a tiny insect with a bright red abdomen attached to your skin, would you recognize it as a bed bug? The trick to avoiding bed bugs is seeing the danger.

You've probably seen a picture of a big, flat, oval, rust-color bed bug with indented lines on its abdomen. That is an adult bed bug. But, you aren't likely to see an adult bed bug unless you flick the lights on in the middle of the night and quickly examine your bed. Adult bed bugs usually wait till CO2 levels rise before they come out to feed. They aren't as daring as immature nymphs. So, you should familiarize yourself with what a nymph looks like.

When bed bugs first hatch, they have the same basic features of an adult. They have six legs, two antennae, three body parts, and an oval shape (assuming they have not had a blood meal). But they will not have the rusty coloration of an adult bed bug. They are born a pale white color and are much more transparent than adult bed bugs. That means you're going to really notice a newly-hatched nymph that has blood in its abdomen. Keep in mind that a bed bug that has been feeding will look pill-shaped and bloated, rather than flat and oval-shaped.

As bed bugs mature, they become tan and less transparent. Eventually, the tan coloration becomes a rusty brown color. So, it is important to realize that a white or tan insect could be a bed bug.

It is also important to know that bed bugs begin life at about 1 mm in length. As they develop they grow larger, eventually reaching about 4.5 mm in length.

Signs you may have a bed bug infestation

When bed bugs infest, you're likely to know it by the following signs:

  • Black patches or streaks on furniture, especially around stitching. Bed bugs leave their feces everywhere.
  • Brown stains on fabrics. These stains are not urine stains; they are the stains of dried blood. When bed bugs excrete droppings, some blood is excreted as well. This leads to brown or tan stains.
  • Shed insect skins. Bed bugs shed their skins as they develop. These will be attached to areas of infestation or littered in locations where bed bugs feed.
  • Tiny white eggs. Bed bugs leave eggs in batches or singles in hidden places such as creases, pockets, and recesses.
  • Bed bug scent. These insects produce a pheromone smell that some describe as a moist locker room towel.

How to make sure you don't bring bed bugs home from a trip

  • No matter where you stay, even if it is the home of a friend or family member, always do an inspection for the signs covered in the section above. 
  • Check mattresses and box springs thoroughly, keeping in mind the common signs of a bed bug infestation.
  • When you stay somewhere, always place dirty clothing in a plastic bag. Bed bugs are attracted to soiled garments.
  • When you return from a trip, be sure to wash all of your clothing on the hottest temperature. Hot water will kill bed bugs in all stages of development.

Professional bed bug control services in New Jersey

If bed bugs ever appear in your home, contact a professional such as Arrow Pest Control. DIY bed bug treatments seldom work to exterminate these clever and resourceful pests. Complete elimination requires an understanding of bed bug behavior and the availability of resources such as K9 bed bug inspectors. Don't let these bug elude you. If you live in our New Jersey service area, reach out to Arrow for complete and comprehensive bed bug control.

John C.


‟Best customer service and the owner is the most honest business man. He will tell you the truth and not scam you like the rest of the big named pest control companies. Highly recommend Arrow has my business for life.”
John C.
Bloomfield, NJ
Arrow Pest Control received an average rating of 5.0 out of 5 stars from 1380 reviews. 5.0 Read Google Reviews

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