Cautionary measures for hotel stays: a guide to avoiding bed bugs

Bed bugs, scientifically known as Cimex lectularius, are small, reddish-brown insects that feed on the blood of mammals, particularly humans. Typically nocturnal, they emerge from hiding to feed during the night, attracted by the warmth and carbon dioxide emitted by their hosts.

These pests are incredibly adaptive and can thrive in various environments. Contrary to their name, bed bugs are not confined to beds; they can infest any space where humans frequent, including sofas, clothing, and luggage. They are expert hitchhikers, often catching rides on clothing or in luggage, facilitating their spread between locations.

Bed bugs can survive for several months without a blood meal, making them resilient and challenging to eradicate. They can hide in cracks, crevices, and seams, emerging to feed when a suitable host is present. To control and prevent infestations, regular inspection, proper hygiene, and prompt intervention are essential.

Top tips to avoid bed bugs:

Storage Tips:

Never store your clothes in drawers, especially those under the bed, to prevent potential bed bug infestations. Hang your clothes in wardrobes instead.

Suitcase Placement:

Keep your suitcase off the bed to avoid bed bug contact. Ideally, use a luggage rack if available; otherwise, position it closer to the door.

Dirty vs. Clean Clothes:

Separate dirty clothes in a plastic bag during your trip, as bed bugs are attracted to soiled items. Knot the bag securely each time you add dirty laundry.

Aircon Use:

Maintain a cool room temperature at night by using air conditioning. Bed bugs thrive between 21-32°C, making a cooler environment less favourable for their survival.

Laundry Facilities Caution:

Exercise caution when using shared laundry facilities. Transport clothes in a plastic bag, and upon washing, return them directly to the bag before folding them in your hotel room.

Post-Holiday Unpacking:

Unpack away from the bedroom upon returning home. Examine your suitcase carefully using a flashlight, vacuum it, and then store it to minimize the risk of bringing bed bugs into your living space.

Thorough Clothing Wash:

Wash every item, even unworn ones, upon returning home. If garment labels permit, use hot water for washing to eliminate any potential bed bugs.