If you travel, you may have already heard: Bedbugs have checked into hotels across the country. Stories like that don't make for a good night's sleep. While the occurrence of bedbugs is quite rare, they can spread easily, so it's a good idea to know what to do in case you encounter them. As you pack for your next trip, here are a few tips to keep you from bringing home a few unwanted souvenirs.
Unlike fleas and lice, which like to ride around on their food, bedbugs prefer to eat and run. They hide in little crevices and cracks, waiting for a warm-blooded mammal (i.e.: you) to pass by. When the lights go out, the feast begins. Once dinner is over, they scurry back to their hiding places before they come back on. Their habit of dining in the dark makes it difficult for bedbug-hunters (again, you) to find them. So you will need a strategy.
As you unlock the door to your hotel room, you may notice an odd odor. If you know your spices, the smell is something like coriander or cilantro. That's a hint that bedbugs might be in your room, but you will need more conclusive evidence. Start first with the mattress and box springs. Be sure to check all the seams and folds. Also look in the corners of drawers, along the baseboards, behind the headboard and bed frame. Don't forget to look behind that lovely picture of Venice at sunset on the wall. You will be looking not only for the bug itself but also for any black dots and cast-off skins. If you see any of these signs, it's time to find another hotel. Fast.
But, let's say the hotel smells fresh, the baseboards are clean, and you blissfully fall asleep. Bedbugs may have infested the room next door, and can go through the cracks between walls as they search for food (you). So when you wake up, be sure to check yourself over for any insect bites on your body that weren't there the night before.