While it’s always fun to plan for that amazing vacation, you should be aware of the very real concern bed bugs can pose. By now you’ve likely heard that these bloodsuckers who prefer humans over other prey have made an astounding comeback after near extermination in the forties. Today though, bed bug infestations are causing real problems in large urban areas like NYC. High density living makes it very easy for these insects to travel from apartment to apartment or in the case of hotels, room to room. These are hard to kill bugs too and an aggressive infestation can set you back tens of thousands of dollars to eliminate. There are steps you take when you travel to ensure you don’t bring unwanted guests back with you from the hotel.
What to Do
Bed bugs had been largely banished since the 50s in the developed world due to the use of pesticides like DDT, but have made a startling comeback. Easy access to worldwide travel and higher density living in urban centers have allowed this massive bed bug resurgence. Recently, it’s cities that have seen a proliferation of the parasitic insects that have a distinct preference for human blood. What was once restricted to “bad” neighborhoods is currently tearing through your city’s most well-to-do addresses. Bed bugs are hard to get rid of once you’ve got an infestation and these critters travel and reproduce with alarming ease.
Mature bed bugs, are light brown to reddish brown and have the dimensions of an apple seed. Babies, known as nymphs are lighter colored and translucent; they become darker when they grow and go through the molting process. The word bed bugs refers to any insect in the Cimex species. Human blood is the food of choice for these bloodsuckers that tend to occupy your mattresses, bed linens, pillows and clothing (but can live within furniture, be carried in magazines and books, suitcases and vehicles). Most of the activity of bed bugs occurs through the night, but bed bugs are not just nocturnal. Bed bugs are very strong bugs capable of living in a broad range of temperatures from 14-90 degrees F (though they don’t thrive or live for long at either end of this spectrum).