As thoughts turn to planning this years' vacations, it seemed an appropriate time to remind travelers of the resurgence of bed bugs. Bed bugs have been reported in all 50 states, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Asia and Africa. Where ever your vacation destination may be, because of bed bug distribution and resurgence, keep in mind ... you may be bringing home some unwanted souvenirs.
Bed bugs hide in cracks and crevices as close to their food source (us) as possible. Harborage sites for bed bugs include bed frames, head boards or foot boards, mattresses, box springs, night stands, bedside clocks and radios, etc. Bed bugs travel to previously un-infested locations by hitching a ride in baggage, clothing, bedding, boxes ... and the list goes on.
To help avoid bringing home a future bed bug infestation, inspect the bed and nightstand of your travel accommodations looking for small "rusty" colored stains. These stains, the result of bed bugs extruding part of their meal, and of course sighting of bed bugs, are indications of a bed bug infestation.
Another option to try in prevention of a bed bug infestation upon your return home is to ..... "bake your luggage". Adult and juvenile bed bugs will be killed when exposed to temperatures of 113 degrees for 15 minutes, though the eggs will require 1 hour to die. However, please don't put your belongings in your kitchen oven, that is not the "baking" method we have in mind!
In Alabama during the summer, chances are pretty good that, when left in the sun for the day, items inside black lawn and leaf bags will exceed temperatures of 113 degrees. This is the method of "baking" which might help reduce the chances of these vacation souvenirs becoming a future bed bug infestation.
It will be necessary to reach temperatures of 113 degrees throughout the items, therefore using multiple bags with only a few items in each would be best. Of utmost importance is to make sure that the items you are "baking" can withstand the temperatures you will be subjecting them to.