Risk of bed bug contamination when travelling or buying items online

Do not let fear of bed bugs prevent you from travelling or buying things from jumble sales or online. Do not stop travelling, just be aware and careful not to spread bed bugs to your home.

Ten tips to avoid bed bugs

Here are ten things to think about on how to minimise the risk for being affected by bed bugs when travelling;

  1. All types of trips with an overnight stay pose a risk when it comes to bed bugs.
  2. This applies to national and international trips.
  3. Low budget hotels/hostels do not necessarily pose a greater risk than exclusive hotels.
  4. Bed bugs do not care how much you have paid for your room!
  5. Ask staff onsite, or the travel agent whether the hotel has had problems with bed bugs.
  6. Smooth plastic suitcases are easier to clean and examine than textile or leather bags.
  7. Check for traces around and in the bed, small black dots and light brown molting scraps on bed frames, along the seams of the mattress.
  8. Never store your bags on or under the bed in a hotel room (nor at home).
  9. Hang clothes on hangers or hooks in hotels or keep them in the suitcase.
  10. Keep dirty laundry in plastic bags. Always wash clothes after a trip or shake them outside and examine them thoroughly before putting them away. Clothes must be washed at 60°C to kill all bed bug traces.

If you buy an item from a second hand store/flee market or over the net, ask the seller whether they have had bed bug problems or whether the item has been stored somewhere where bed bugs have been found. Vacuum and examine your item with a torch and something pointed when looking for traces of bed bugs. Examine the vacuum bag afterwards to see if you find any insects. Do not take the item of furniture/object into your bedroom until you are sure that it is pest free.

Cimex Lectularius

If you suspect an infestation, contact your insurance company and your pest control company immediately. Professional assistance is required to tackle a bed bug infestation.