Posted by: Carrie Reynolds | March 7, 2012

“Sleep tight; don’t let the bed bugs bite”

What used to be a harmless nighttime rhyme has now become our own real live nightmare! The National Pest Management Association says, “bed bugs are on the rise in America, with a 71% increase in bed bug calls since 2001”. In the same study, pest management professionals, found that 99 percent of respondents encountered bed bug infestations in the past year and more than eight out of ten noted that bed bug infestations are increasing across the country. This represents a sharp increase in prevalence as only a mere 11 percent of respondents reported receiving bed bug calls more than 10 years ago. While there is no guess as to why these pests have suddenly come out of hiding, some theories include increased travel, lack of awareness and precautions, and changing pest control methods. While these theories are not confirmed, there are some things we can do to protect ourselves.

Bed bugs are most prevalent in hotels, and reports of bed bugs sightings are striking fear into the hearts of many travelers. Bed bugs are brought into hotels by guests, and despite the misconception, infestations are not related to the sanitation in a hotel. The cleanest environments can have a very large infestation of bed bugs, and improving sanitation alone will not eliminate an established bed bug population.  Here are some tips to stay bed bug free or your next vacation or business trip.

  • Online Hotel Reviews: Before booking a hotel, check out customer reviews to see if any other travelers have reported bed bugs there. Start with sites like IgoUgo, Trip Advisor and bedbugregistry.com
  • Watch Where You Put Your Suitcase Avoid putting your suitcase on the floor, bed or chairs. In case there is a bed bug problem, you don’t want to transport them to your next location or back home. Keep the suitcase elevated until you’ve had a chance to inspect the room, maybe on a dresser or on a shelf in the closet
  • Inspect the Room: Now that your luggage is safe, take a look at the room. Pull back the bed linens, headboard, and inspect the seams of the mattress for signs of bugs (which could include rust colored stains)
  • Protect Your Luggage: Wrap your luggage in a large plastic bag when traveling or spray your suitcase with an insect repellent. Your bags could be next to an infested suitcase in the cargo hold or overhead bin of an airplane. And yes, the bugs can make it from one adjacent bag to another
  • Deep Clean Back Home: When returning from a trip, check your luggage and clothing. Vacuum your suitcases at home in case they became contaminated with the pests. And then immediately launder any item from your travels.

Bed Bugs are not covered on your typical insurance policy, most policies exclude infestations of any kind. However, since the rise in infestation, the commercial insurance industry has responded. Two national brokerage firms offer bed bug coverage. The coverage’s include decontamination services, rehabilitation charges, and crisis management, just to name a few. Last year it was estimated that a bed bug invasion could cost $1,000-$1,500, and hotels will spend about $600-800 per room to exterminate the bed bugs.

Traveling doesn’t have to become a nightmare if you know the steps to take to prevent these pesky bugs. There are many souvenirs you will want to bring home from your travels, but bed bugs are not one of them! To find out more about coverage’s you not commonly aware of, contact your agent at ChappellSmith.com.


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