Bed bugs are making a comeback, possibly because of increased resistance to insecticides, and from international travelers. They can infest the cleanest of motels or hotels. Even some of the most expensive places have had them.
They are 3/16 – 1/4 inch long (apple seed sized) with a brown, flattened, oval-shaped body. They feed off human blood, but unlike lice, do not reside on your person after feeding. The good news about these pests is that there are no known cases of disease transmission from them. However, they may hitch a ride on your clothing and luggage, and infest your truck and other places where you sleep.
The best way to avoid these insects, is never using sleeping lodging except your own sleeper cab. But even this isn’t safe if you transport items that shelter bedbugs such as used furniture, beds, and mattresses.
If you’re inclined to sleep in a motel or hotel, here are a few tips:
- Do some research. Check The Bedbug Registry for reported sightings of bedbugs in the hotel that you’re considering. Check online reviews of the hotel as well.
- Inspect the room. Before bringing in luggage and belongings, check the room. Pull back bed sheets and look for blood stains and black dots (fecal stains). You may find live bugs hiding there. Then expand your inspection to the area immediately surrounding the bed. Look under phones, behind picture frames, behind the bed board, and other possible hiding places.
- Carry your luggage in a bug tight container. Unfortunately, zippers aren’t a barrier to bedbugs. The best method is placing your suitcase in a plastic zip-up bag designed for this. Alternatively, you can place your suitcase in a trash bag knotted at the top. You can discard the trash bag on the way out.
- Keep your luggage off the floor. Place them up high on a hard surface such as a desk. A luggage rack is another good location. The further from the bed, the better.
- Live out of your suitcase. Spreading out your belongings in the room increases the possibility that bedbugs will hitch a ride in them. Combining this suggestion with the previous two reduces the likelihood of your bringing the pests back into your sleeper cab.