No matter how hard we try, or how advanced our society gets, there’s one thing that just keeps hanging around: bed bugs. Per a 2015 “Bugs Without Borders” survey, 99.6% of pest professionals treat sites for bed bugs every year. They’re like the stragglers trying to keep a party going way after it’s finished, or an ex who just won’t go away.

With that kind of statistic, you’d think that plenty of people just weren’t diligent enough to keep them at bay. The thing is, bed bugs are not a sign of uncleanliness. Their tiny size means they’re great hitchhikers and even greater at hiding.

Because their eggs hatch in a 14-day period, you could be infested on the last day of vacation or your family’s moving day and not discover them for weeks. And like a kid returning from college, once they’ve moved in, they’re difficult and costly to get rid of again.

Bed Bugs: On Vacation

Even the highest-star hotels are at risk of bed bugs, due to high turnover of guests and quick cleaning schedules for hotel staff. Thanks to the amount of carpeted area and furniture, there’s plenty of hiding spots for bugs to lie in wait. Your best bet to avoid contamination is to guard your luggage well. Keep it off the bed and any fabric-covered furniture. The safest places are hard surfaces or higher up, like closet shelves or in the bathroom.

Bed Bugs: Moving Day

Moving trucks and vans can be the perfect place for bed bugs to live. They thrive in dark and obscure places, like the corners of a well-used truck. Any fabric-covered items like furniture, moving blankets, box springs and mattresses are easy to attach to once they’re loaded on. But there’s good news: plastic is a bed bug’s enemy—and the enemy of your enemy…

Mattress and furniture bags are smart protection when moving. Not only do they keep those mattresses, box springs and pieces of furniture free from dust, dirt and water damage, bed bugs have a difficult time adhering to them.

Boxes found in donation and grocery stores might be free in terms of money, but they’re likely not free of water-damage or infestation. They often sit around for quite a while, contacting multiple surfaces and items. Your best choice for safety is to buy brand new moving boxes. They’ll be free of damage and bugs, and their standardized shape means they’ll stack easily in your moving truck.

Ready to Outsmart those Bed Bugs?

Use the S.L.E.E.P acronym the next time you’re travelling or moving:

Survey the area for signs of infestation. Look for small rust-coloured spots on furniture and fabric-covered surfaces.

Lift up and look under furniture, mattresses, box springs and bedskirts. Don’t forget to also check curtains, behind baseboards, pictures and even torn wallpaper.

Elevate luggage, boxes and fabric/plush items away from beds and walls. Limit their exposure to these areas as much as you possibly can.

Examine your luggage, boxes and fabric/plush items during the packing/unpacking/repacking process. Keep anything you’re storing far away from beds and furniture.

Place any dryer-safe clothing or items into the dryer for at least 15 minutes at the highest setting once you’re home.

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