Bedbugs could just as well be called suitcase bugs, clothing bugs, or simply – nightmare bugs. They are natural-born hitch-hikers, and they don’t mind a thousand-mile trip back home with you.
They’ve terrorized travellers for years, infesting hotels, air planes and trains. If you’ve had the misfortune to come across an infestation on your trip, there’s a chance you got bed bugs in your suitcase, backpack and clothes.
How to check for bed bugs in luggage
To inspect whether your baggage has been contaminated with bed bugs first:
- Choose a place with a non-carpeted surface.
- Wipe the floor with a wet cloth. These two simple tips will ensure that bed bugs escaping the luggage will have a hard time finding a hiding spot.
- Look for signs of bed bugs: young bed bugs (size : 1/16” [1.6 mm] ), adult bed bugs (size : 1/4″ to 3/8″ long [5-9 mm] ), cast skins, faecal spots.
How to get rid of bed bugs in luggage
The things you’ll need are plastic liner bags, a washing machine, a vacuum cleaner and a freezer. Unconventional, huh? Here’s what to do.
- Put all clothes and washable belongings into plastic bags.
- Seal and put them aside until ready to launder.
- Set the washing machine to the highest temperature setting (mind the fabric).
- To get rid of bed bugs, put what cannot be washed in a freezer at a minimum of -5°C for no less than 5 days. If you have an opportunity, you can also heat these items to 45°C for the same effect.
- After the washing and temperature treatments, vacuum clean your belongings including all clothes, bag and suitcase. A thorough vacuum cleaning will remove all dead or remaining bed bugs.
- Remove the vacuum bag immediately, wrap it in another plastic liner bag and dispose of it.
- Leave the luggage to dry in the sun.
How to prevent bed bugs from getting in your luggage
It’s a bed bug’s natural instinct to find a hiding spot, away from light and intruders, such as cracks and crevices. That’s why your luggage in a hotel or on a train may provide ideal conditions for these pests. Show us a happy bed bug and we’ll show you a desperate traveler!
As a response to the pest’s merciless invasion, travelers have invented quite a few myths on how to avoid and get rid of them. Time to tell fact from fiction!
- Bed bugs can’t get into hardshell suitcases! Not true – bed bugs will find their way into zippers and seams of any bag or suitcase.
- Sleeping bag liners prevent bed bug infestations! Nope, they don’t play a role at all.
- High-class hotels don’t have bed bug infestations! The class of the hotel doesn’t matter, what matters is how the owners treat the bed bug issue.
- Packing your clothes in plastic bags inside your luggage stops the bed bug infestation from spreading! Yes, it’s a relatively good preventative measure.
- You can also get bed bug on your clothes if you place them in hotel drawers and wooden hangers! Unfortunately, yes.
- Spreading diatomaceous earth inside your suitcase will repel bed bugs! Yes, it plays a role.
You can check if your hotel has been reported for bed bugs in the Bed Bug Registry, yet it is a misconception that bed bugs only frequent unhygienic places.
Image source: kwanchai.c/shutterstock.com
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