Be careful what you might bring home with you after your summer trip to Dallas, Chicago, San Francisco, or any number of cities across the nation. Something you pick up in that hotel you're staying in could accidentally be brought home with you and cause you some problems.

With summer travel season quickly approaching many people have already made flight, car, and hotel reservations and of those three, one place could have you returning with a pest. That pest is blood-sucking and biting bed bugs.

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We've already learned which major city is the number one hot spot for bedbugs (we'll look at the top 20 below again) from Orkin. You can pick up bed bugs from any bedroom. While traveling bed bugs can find their way into your luggage, backpack, or purse when you place them on upholstered surfaces like a hotel bed or upholstered chair. Bed bugs can easily hitch a ride and take up residence in your home when you return from your vacation.

What do bed bugs look like?

Orkin describes bed bugs as typically being 3/16 inch long, red to dark brown in color and are mostly nocturnal. These insects come out of hiding to take blood meals from sleeping humans. These pests are hematophagous, which means blood is their only food source. The CDC says they are not known to spread disease, but they will cause itching and loss of sleep.

Tips to prevent bringing home bed bugs while traveling

Upon checking into your room avoid placing your luggage on soft upholstered surfaces. Instead opt to place your suitcase and backpack on a hard surface like a dresser, desk, closet shelf, or bathroom counter.

Check bed bug hiding spots: lift the mattress and box spring. Other places to look for them are along baseboards, pictures, and any torn wallpaper.

Look around your hotel room for signs of an infestation. Look for small, ink-colored stains on mattress seams or on soft furniture.

Keep your luggage away from the bed. use extreme caution when repacking your bag because you don't want to accidentally bring them home with you.

Once you get back home place all of your dryer-safe clothes in the dryer on the highest heat setting for at least 30 minutes.

The steps above form the quick acronym - SLEEP -

  • Survey
  • Lift
  • Elevate
  • Examine
  • Place

There's even a website you can visit to check on the bed bug status of the hotel you may be checking into. BedBugRegistry is a site that 'helps you check whether other people have encountered bedbugs at a hotel or in an apartment building so you can avoid them when you travel or rent.'

While it may not be the most accurate, because it is user-supported, it may give you some peace of mind or it could be extremely eye-opening.

Whatever your summer destination may be, just make sure you bring back special memories and not some special unwanted guests home with you.

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