Bon Voyage To French Bed Bugs!
Photo: Morgan Lane on www.unsplash.com
As Paris continues to battle its bed bug infestation, advice is at hand to put paid to the activities of any determined critters eager to cross the Channel!
The French capital is preparing to welcome visitors to the 2024 Summer Olympics, however, footage has gone viral of bugs not just on beds but on public transport, in cinemas and hospitals.
However, help is at hand and Martin Seeley, CEO and mattress expert at MattressNextDay has shared his top tips below on how to give any pesky critters a hard time:
1. NEVER store your clothes in this part of the hotel room.
When you’ve been travelling for hours, the first thing you’re likely to want to do once you arrive in your hotel room is to remove your clothes and throw them into a drawer before heading back out. However, it is safer to hang your clothes in a wardrobe than in drawers (especially if they are the drawers of your bed), as bed bugs can’t fly, so they are less likely to be able to get to your clothes in a wardrobe.
2. When you unpack your suitcase, keep it off your bed.
When people arrive in their hotel room, many place their suitcase straight onto the bed and start unpacking their clothes. However, we would suggest keeping your suitcase off your bed as this is where bed bugs are most commonly found. Depending on the star rating of your hotel, you may have a luggage rack which is where you should ideally store your suitcase. But if you don’t, keep your suitcase as close to the door as you can.
3. As the holiday goes on, keep your dirty clothes away from your clean ones.
Research shows that bed bugs are more attracted to dirty clothes than to clean clothes. So, when packing for a trip, make sure to take a spare plastic bag for your dirty clothing, and knot it each time you add to it.
4. Turn your aircon on at night.
According to the British Pest Control Association (BPCA), the ideal temperature for an adult bed bug to thrive is between 21-32°C, so it’s best to keep your room cool at night-time with aircon.
5. If you wash your clothes on holiday, take extra caution.
If you want to wash your clothes on holiday and there are only shared laundry facilities, take extra care. When you transport your items to be washed, keep them in a plastic bag. Once they are washed, remove them from the dryer and place them straight back in the bag. Fold them back at your hotel room where it’s safer to do so.
6. Once home, unpack your clothes AWAY from your bedroom.
When you arrive home from your holiday, unpack your bag in a location other than the bedroom. Ideally on a hard floor as you won’t be able to spot bed bugs in the carpet. Next, inspect your suitcase closely and use a flashlight to revise the seams, folds, and pockets of your suitcase. You should then vacuum your suitcase before placing it back in storage.
7. Wash every single item of clothing – even those you did not wear.
Once you arrive home, wash all your clothes, including those that you did not wear. If the washing labels of your clothes permit it, wash them in hot water.
Five tell-tale signs that you have bed bugs in your hotel room
1. Rust-coloured dots on the mattress
Unfortunately, this is as gruesome as it sounds. When the bugs get squashed, they release a lot of blood, especially around the seams of mattresses – which is where they tend to hide. These spots can start to look a rusty colour the longer they have been there. Ensure both sides of the mattress are free from any blood stains before hitting the hay.
It may sound obvious that spotting eggs would be a tell-tale sign of a bug infestation but they’re not always hiding in plain sight. The eggs are tiny and can be found in numerous places, not just on the mattress. They are about 1mm wide and are often a pale yellow colour. If you do find any of these eggs, it could mean the bed bugs are still very much alive and this should be reported immediately.
3. A musty odour
You may have been to a hotel that smells a little strange before but the odour excreted by bed bugs is certainly distinguishable. If the bedroom area has a strong, musty and unpleasant odour. This could possibly come from a bed bug’s scent glands and is strongest when there are large amounts of bugs present. Always err on the side of caution when it comes to a smelly room and check for other signs too.
4. Dark spots on walls
Although this is slightly less common, bed bugs can also leave stains on walls too. If you do notice any dark spots this could be bed bug excrement. Make sure not to touch any of the affected areas and notify the hotel or apartment staff straight away.
5. Worn or aged upholstery
Old fabrics that may not have been cleaned thoroughly or are possibly second hand could house a family of bed bugs. If the place you’re staying is of a slightly older nature or a boutique style, it’s always best to double-check the fabric and furnishings before settling in.
Why is it important to deal with a bedbug as soon as you spot one?
Although bed bugs typically feed on blood every 5 to 10 days, they are resilient and capable of surviving up to a year without feeding. Plus, female bed bugs lay 200-500 eggs over two months in batches of 10 to 50. The eggs are sticky and attach to items of furniture or fittings in clusters. Eggs can also hatch in about a week so it’s important to deal with a bed bug as soon as you find one.
What do bedbugs look like?
Bed bugs are small, oval, brownish insects that have flat bodies, and are a similar size and colour to an apple seed. You can also distinguish a bed bug based on any bites you’ve received. Bed bugs typically bite areas of the body that are exposed whilst sleeping, like the head, arms, and legs. The bites tend to be in clusters and appear as red raised bumps with a dark spot in the middle.
Research courtesy of: here