FAIRFAX, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--As many Americans prepare to hit the road for their summer vacations over the next few months, experts at the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) are reminding travelers to stay alert for hitchhiking pests during Bed Bug Awareness Week, this June 7-13. This annual observance, recognized by Chase’s Calendar of Events, serves as a reminder to those traveling that one tiny pest could mean one giant problem if not detected early.
“Bed bugs can be found virtually anywhere, and while many Americans are excited to resume travel plans as stay-at-home orders are slowly lifted across the country, it’s imperative that they remember to stay vigilant against bed bugs,” said Brittany Campbell, Ph.D., entomologist for the NPMA. “Bed bugs can survive several months without a blood meal and with many hotels experiencing low occupancy over the last few months, bed bugs will be hungry and may actually come out in broad daylight to feed – a dramatic shift in behavior for a pest that is notorious for feeding at night.”
To prevent bringing bed bugs home, travelers should conduct a thorough inspection of their room immediately upon entering and report any signs of an infestation to management.
From April 2019 to April 2020 there was a 70 percent increase in online conversations in the U.S. around the topic of encountering bed bugs, with more than 6.1 million conversations occurring in the last month alone.* To ensure travelers aren’t unknowingly transporting any hitchhikers with them, NPMA recommends taking the following steps to prevent an infestation upon returning home:
- Upon entering the room, put your suitcase in the bathroom on a tiled floor or counter surface rather than a carpeted floor or on the bed.
- Thoroughly inspect the entire room, including behind the headboard, under lamps and inside dressers, drawers, sofas and chairs.
- Pull back sheets on the bed and inspect the mattress seams, particularly at the corners, for telltale stains or spots.
- Carry a small flashlight to assist you with visual inspections.
- If you see anything suspect, change rooms/establishments immediately. Do not stay in an adjacent room.
- Consider keeping luggage in plastic bags or on the tiled floor for the duration of your stay.
- Vacuum and properly inspect suitcases outside after returning from a vacation. Do not bring the suitcase into your home until it has been inspected.
- Contact a licensed pest control professional if an infestation is suspected in your home.
For more information about bed bugs, visit PestWorld.org.
*Online engagement findings are a result of research conducted by Advanced Symbolics Inc.
About the National Pest Management Association
The NPMA, a non-profit organization with more than 5,500 members, was established in 1933 to support the pest management industry's commitment to the protection of public health, food and property from the diseases and dangers of pests. For more information, visit PestWorld.org or follow @PestWorld on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube.