Summer is here, and the travel session is in full swing. We love the idea of family trips. The fun, the memories, the souvenirs, and … bed bugs? WHAT?! If there’s any souvenir we do NOT want coming home with us after our trips this summer, it’s BED BUGS!

Those pesky bugs, and lice, are my two hot buttons as mamas. Tiny insects feeding on our family are sure to send any mama into a cleaning frenzy and have us questioning our sanity as we check our kids for parasites, like a mother monkey combing through baby fur.

So let’s squash some bed bug misconceptions right here and now.

Bed bugs do not discriminate. They can inhabit even the cleanest homes, resorts, dorms and camps. They can be found in movie theaters, moving trucks, trains, buses and airplanes. They’re possible at all popular summer activities and destinations. Tan, reddish-brown and the size of an apple seed, they love bedding, especially the seams of a mattress, and between the mattress and box spring. Although they are not difficult to see with a naked eye, they often require a professional to rid them from your home. They manage to squeeze into even the tiniest cracks in your home, and without proper treatment, they can reproduce quickly.

Bed Bug Facts

They are called bed bugs for many obvious reasons. As their name describes, they are most often found in beds. So as we travel, spending the night in various beds outside our own home, we are even more susceptible to bringing those bed bugs home. They are nocturnal, coming out to feed while you’re the most still — while you sleep. They are attracted by body heat and carbon dioxide, so as you rest, they are most active. They prefer feeding on exposed skin, such as face, neck, arms and legs.

They bite. The biggest indicator of a bed bug problem is a string of itchy, red bite marks on your body. They are lazy bugs, so they don’t typically move far to continue their mealtime on you.

Traveling Tips

  • DON’T put luggage or clothing on the bed or within 8 feet of a sleeping area.
  • DO place luggage and clothing as far away from sleeping areas as possible, such as in a closet or bathroom.
  • DO check your surroundings when you arrive. Check along the piping of the mattress, near the headboard and along the box spring.
  • DO leave the room if you spot even ONE bug.

Bed bugs are commonly transported through luggage, but can travel within clothing and used, upholstered furniture. They thrive in environments of temperatures between 68 and 77 degrees F, and can live in clothes and bedding for 2-3 months without a blood meal.

Once You’re Home

  • DO use our Central Texas summer heat to your advantage. When you return from a trip, keep your luggage in a hot car for 24 hours.
  • DON’T bring your luggage into the bedroom when you get home.
  • DON’T put clothing from your luggage directly into the clothing hamper.
  • DO unpack in a tiled area, such as a laundry room. Put the clothing directly into the dryer on high heat. Then wash and dry again. High heat kills bed bugs in all life cycles.

If you miss even one pregnant female, your house is at risk for infestation. When in doubt, call a professional.

Sponsored by Chem-Free Organic Pest & Lawn services. Chem-Free provides a low-impact treatment plan. They use a combination of least toxic products and non-toxic heat treatment options. They offer holistic, environmentally-friendly approach, and they are Green Pro Certified. Contact Chem-Free and their professional bed bug team for a free home evaluation.

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