Bed bugs are tiny insects that like warm places and feed on human blood. They are commonly found underneath the mattresses, couches and cushions, between sheets, and on carpeted floor in residential areas, hotels and these days, even hostels. They can move from room to room and even city to city by latching on to your luggage or your person. In this guide, we will discuss ways of preventing bed bugs in hostels.
What do bed bugs look like
For preventing bed bugs in hostels, you should know what to look for. Bed bugs are really tiny-as small as an apple seed; they have six legs, a small triangular head and a rounded hexagonal body. They are either brown or honey colored and depending on the lifecycle-stage they are in, they come in different sizes. The largest bed bug, as stated before, is the size of an apple seed. They infest the seams of the mattresses, under the sheets, corners of the couches, head boards, seams of the pillow cases and pillows, and other warm areas such as cracks and crevices around the bed. They never stray more than fifteen feet from their host’s bedding.
How do bed bugs travel?
Bed bugs latch on to human beings’ clothes, or their luggage and travel long distances without being discovered. They can live on for up to two years without feeding and tend to lie dormant when there is no meal available. To prevent these critters from travelling back with you from the hostel back home (or to other residential areas), wash/clean your belongings in hot water. It is advisable to open your luggage outside the home or in the garage when you return from the hostel. Vacuum the insides of all your travel bags and wash all clothing in hottest setting of the washer/dryer.
Tips for preventing bed bugs in hostels
- Read user reviews –to ensure you are going to a bed bug free hostel in order to prevent being bitten by bugs. Make sure the reviews are recent.
- Look for signs of pesticide use-Check the hostel room to see if you find a powdery substance anywhere in the room- this is a sign of recent extermination. Try to get a refund and move to other accommodation. Bed bugs don’t get killed on the first attempt and you really shouldn’t trust proprietors claiming that their hostel is bed bug free in light of obvious attempts at a hasty extermination. If you can afford to carry, get a black light. It is easier to spot bed bugs and other germs and insects using such black light.
- Inspect the hostel room-Check the hostel room, beds, couches, closets and floor for signs of bed bugs. On the mattresses, look for tiny red spots which might be blood stains from other travelers/hostel user/students who have occupied the room. Look for tiny black pellets (fecal matter) in all areas. You might even find dead bugs lying about the bed or underneath picture frames along the wall.
- Secure your belongings –Do not keep your belongings in the closet, on the bed, couch, and nightstand or on the floor until after you have inspected the room. Keep them as far away as possible from the bed and couch, preferably on a table or on a chest of drawers. Buy plastic zip lock bags to pack your belongings or even your suitcase. You not only prevent getting bitten, you will not carry home any bugs either.
- Check with the staff– If you come across any member of the hostel staff who is obliging, ask subtle questions and find out if the hostel rooms are infested with bed bugs.
- Look for alternative arrangement– If you do spot bed bugs in the hostel, try to get a refund and move to a different place. If you fail, try to move up or down at least two floors in the building. Once, you have moved, wash your belongings in hot water. This prevents latched bed bugs from infesting your new room.
- Use a hair dryer-Although bed bugs like warmth, they cannot stand heat above 50 degrees centigrade. If for some reason, you can’t move, use a hair dryer and try to kill the bugs with hot air.
- Beware of musty furniture smell– Bed bugs give off a smell similar to that of old furniture. If the hostel room smells wet or musty or almond like, inspect it thoroughly as this is a surefire sign of bed bug activity.
While it is important preventing bed bugs in hostels, you should also know that not all hostels and hotels are infested. Best thing you could do is read recent traveller reviews to avoid going to places that are. Bed bug bites can be extremely irritating and to an extent painful, but they are not known to transmit any diseases. So, even if you get bitten at a hostel, treat the bite, inspect your belongings and follow aforementioned precautions to prevent bed bugs in hostels from spreading in your home.