If you’re planning to go on a backpacking trip or other adventure where you’ll be staying in hostels, you might be worried about bed bugs. Some people believe that bed bugs are big problems at hostels, but truth be told, they’re much more common in hotels. Nevertheless, you should take some precautions as you travel to limit your exposure to bed bugs. In today’s blog from Bed Bug Heaters, learn ways to protect yourself and your belongings.
Before You Travel
Use Permethrin - Before you pack for your trip, treat your clothes, sleeping bag, backpack, and other gear with Permethrin. Treated items effectively kill bed bugs, chiggers, ticks, mosquitoes, spiders, mites, and more than 55 other kinds of insects. The effectiveness lasts for about six to eight weeks, including about six washings. Permethrin is a great preventive measure because it adds so much protection for no added backpacking weight.
Be careful when you are spraying the items. Permethrin is toxic to cats until it’s dried. When you're spraying your clothes and gear, do it somewhere the cat doesn't have access to and let them dry thoroughly before you let your cat get near.
Check Reviews - It’s also a good idea to check online reviews for recent reports of bed bugs. Check sites like Hostelworld and TripAdvisor, or just Google “Hostel name” + “bed bug”. If there are recent mentions of bed bugs, it’s safest to steer clear.
Take Some Precautions While Traveling
Keep your Clothes in Baggies - Pack your clothes in large resealable bags to keep the bed bugs out. As an added bonus, this will compact your clothes so you can pack more stuff, and it will keep them organized and waterproof.
Limit Your Gear’s Exposure - Try to keep your backpack, outer garments, and other gear off the hostel’s bed and the floor as much as possible. If the items can be stashed on hooks, counters, or tables, they will have less chance of bed bugs getting on them. Some hostels provide lockers for your items, which is even better.
Do an Inspection - Bed bugs are dark and small, ranging from sesame seed-sized to apple seed-sized. Although they tend to be most active in the early dawn hours, it doesn’t hurt to do a quick inspection of the mattress, sheets, and surrounding areas prior to jumping into bed.
Use Layers - But even if the hostel and bed look clean, you should still take precautions. Layers are your friends, including sleeping in more clothes and using a sleeping liner. This will shield most of your body from these critters getting to your skin. Using your own sleeping bag on top of linens provided by a hostel is a good idea too because it will give you an extra barrier against bed bugs. Permethrin liners will kill bed bugs.
What to Do If You Encounter an Infestation
If you find a bed bug or have bites, let the hostel management know immediately. If you can, get your deposit back and move somewhere else. Keep in mind that you may not find bites until a day or more after they occurred, so the place you are currently staying may not be at fault. You may have brought them with you.
Keep calm and try to deal with the situation tactfully. Understand that the nature of backpackers’ movements makes it very easy for bed bugs to spread, and hostels can’t do much about it. If the hostel’s staff isn’t helping you to your satisfaction, threatening to post about your problem online will usually make them more accommodating.
To get rid of the bugs, vacuum all your belongings, paying extra attention to all seams and zippers. Put your gear, backpack, and anything that could have been exposed in a dryer on high heat — over 120 degrees — for at least 30 minutes to kill the bugs and their eggs. If there isn’t a dryer or some items can’t go in one, seal them in a black plastic bag and put the bag in direct sunlight all day.
How to Keep The Bed Bugs From Infiltrating Your Home
These bugs are great world travelers. They like to hitch a ride on your gear until they can settle into your home. To avoid that, it would be a good idea to vacuum and heat treat the items you’d traveled with as if they were infected.
Contact Bed Bug Heaters for Affordable Bed Bug Treatment
If you do end up bringing bed bugs home, a heat treatment is the easiest, safest, and often the most affordable way to deal with the problem. To kill bed bugs with heat, the room or container they are in must be higher than 113°F to make sure the sustained heat gets to the bugs no matter where they may be hiding. This can usually only be achieved with special equipment.
Bed Bug Heaters has your solution. Bed Bug Heaters has a wide variety of units, so you can find the right one to handle your bed bug problem. For more information, give us a call at (937) 506-6940 or contact us online today.