The resurgence of the numbers of bed bugs during the last fifteen years has been blamed on the higher number of people going on long-haul vacations and the increased amount of immigration from Asia and Africa..
It is not that individuals carry the bed bugs home on their bodies, but bedbugs may have laid eggs in the tourists’ clothing or the bed bugs might have taken refuge in the luggage.
In this way they are taken home, and being very hardy to temperature variations they prosper in their new home country. If the carriers are on vacation, then the bed bugs could easily become unloaded into the hotel. This is how bed bugs can get spread unknowingly by humans.
You see, bed bugs do not flourish in a filthy environment necessarily. Bed bugs do not mind whether you dropped a piece of potato on the floor last week and did not pick it up. They do not feed on what we eat, even if they are starving. They only feed on blood.
If you are like this, then you will attract mice or rats, cockroaches and ants, but not bed bugs. It is a mistake to think that bedbugs like dirt and rubbish. They most likely prefer it fairly clean actually, but they do need to have cracks and crevices to hide in, but there are lots of those in most rooms.
They like to wriggle behind the skirtings and other woodwork. They also like broken plaster, peeling wall paper and torn mattresses. Because they are so flat, they can squeeze into virtually any crack.
This means that any hotel can become infested with bedbugs, the Ritz, the Carlton, Holiday Inn – all of them.
This is the problem for us. If it was only run-down, dirty hotels that had bed bugs, we could avoid them, but you just should not judge a book by its cover.
There are methods of checking your room though. Look out for small bugs that look a bit like an apple seed. Look in the seams of the seats and check the mattress, if there are any tears in it, have it swapped.
You can also test by lying on the bed to warm it up and then throw back the bed clothes swiftly. You might spot a few fleet-footed insects running for cover. They are bedbugs.
Clearly, the first thing you have to do is tell the hotel manager. If you are not satisfied that he or she is taking you seriously, move or / and inform the environmental health department of the local council.
Whether you discover bedbugs or not, they still may be there to hitch a ride home with you, so spray or dust your suitcase with a powerful pesticide before you travel home and to be really secure, have your clothes dry cleaned, because bedbugs cannot survive temperatures over 45c.
If you cannot organize this on the last day of your vacation, be certain you do it after you get home, but make sure that you do not give any insects you have brought with you a chance to get away and multiply.