How to guard against hitchhiking bedbugs

Nov. 24, 2011 at 8:24 PM
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ATLANTA, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- Most U.S. adults say they dislike bedbugs because they fear being bitten, but many do not check for bedbugs while traveling, a survey indicates.

Orkin, a pest control company, conducted a recent Omnibus survey and found 33 percent say they check for bedbugs at their travel destinations and 26 percent of respondents routinely conduct an inspection when they return home from traveling.

"Being aware of bedbugs while traveling by plane, train or car is important because these pests are great hitchhikers," Ron Harrison, Orkin entomologist, said in a statement.

Typically, bedbugs come out at night to feed, but during the day, they are most likely found within a 5-foot radius of where people sleep, Harrison said.

When traveling, Orkin suggests using the acronym SLEEP to avoid taking bedbugs back home.

-- Survey surfaces for signs of an infestation, such as tiny rust-colored spots on mattress tags and seams and bed skirts.

-- Lift and look for all bedbug hiding spots, including underneath the mattress, bed frame, headboard and furniture. They are about the size and shape of an apple seed.

-- Elevate luggage on a luggage rack away from the bed and wall, since bedbugs can often hide behind head boards, artwork, picture frames and electrical outlet panels. Luggage can also be placed in a garbage bag or the bathtub.

-- Examine luggage while repacking. Always keep luggage off the bed and store it far away from the bedroom.

-- Place all clothing from luggage immediately in the dryer for at least 15 minutes at the highest setting upon returning home from travel.

Russell Research conducted the survey Nov. 18-21 among 1,112 U.S. adults. It has a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

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