How To Look For Bed Bugs
Simply stated, we are losing the war on bed bugs. Pest control companies all over the place are converting their business to a bed bug specific company, and with great success. The stigma that bed bugs are a low income issue is false. Plenty of high end hotels and rental properties have battled bed bugs and unfortunately the busier a rental unit is, the higher the chances that someone will leave bed bugs behind. Bed bugs can survive months without feeding so a less frequented rental destination may not be the answer either.
As with most pest issues, at Eco-Choice Pest Control we believe that education and prevention are key to protecting yourself. Our preventative maintenance programs help detect bed bugs before the embarrassing phone call from a renter. Preliminary market research results show that 100% of travelers would prefer a unit with regular, professional bed bug detection, and most are willing to pay a little more for this peace of mind. Increase your listing's competitive advantage by addressing this safety concern.
Education is paramount to prevention, so we'd like to share our inspection ritual. Follow these steps before you get comfortable in any hotel room, timeshare or cottage rental, and perform a check regularly at home too, especially if you live in an apartment building.
If you suspect you've found evidence of the creepy little bloodsuckers, take some photos and email them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll help you figure out what to do next.
Leave your luggage and belongings in the car until after you've performed the check. If using a taxi service or public transit, place luggage by the door, preferably on floor rather than carpet.
- Carefully peel back the layers of blankets and sheets until you reach the fitted sheet.
- Pull up the corners of the fitted sheet and examine the seams.
- Separate pillow top and inspect any seams or folds.
- Follow the same process for the boxspring cover and boxspring. There tend not to be as many folds, but this darker area is a preferred bed bug hangout.
- A flashlight will be handy for this next step. Not only do bed bugs like the dark, they also like small spaces, like the cups on the corner of the boxspring. Look very carefully around the edges of these cups and try to detect any movement.
- Another great place to check is the back of the night tables, especially along the seams as shown here:
- Unpack your stuff, kick back and relax! That's an order!
We can't say with absolute certainty that you'll avoid all bed bugs by following these steps. The eggs and nymphs are teeny tiny and very difficult to see with the naked eye, but the adults are big enough to spot quickly, if you are able to uncover them. Careful inspection will find the critters in most cases, though, so rest easy if you've found no evidence. Speaking of evidence, let's go over what you're looking for!!
As we know by now, we can't expect to see the eggs. What we will look for are adult bed bugs and fecal smears, which is as gross as it sounds. Remember how they like small spaces? They like spaces so small that they will jam themselves in until their droppings squeeze right out of them, where they get smeared along whatever surface they land on. Should we have warned you not to read this while eating? Our bad.
Anywho, adult bed bugs look like this: (photo not to scale)
And fecal smears look like this:
Well now you know where to look and what you're looking for. All that's left is to hope you don't find anything!!
When booking your vacation, we encourage you to ask about the facility's bed bug procedure. Most reputable tourism destinations will have some sort of program in place but prefer to keep quiet about it. We'd like to change that. This is a significant problem that doesn't seem to be getting better. Let's talk about it, let's discuss prevention and increase awareness. Maybe, just maybe, that will give us the edge we need to start winning this war!