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It's nearing the end of July and here in Middle Tennessee, that means that if you haven’t taken your summer vacation yet you had better hop to it! As you start to plan your summer getaway don’t forget about bed bugs. Bed bugs can make or break your vacation and they are just about everywhere. Don’t panic and don’t stomp on your vacationing dreams. The best way to deal with them is to NOT deal with them. Just like with so many other things in life, prevention is key when it comes to bed bugs. Knowing what they look like, where to look for them and what to do when you get home are major 3 steps to having a bed-bug free summer vacation.

What do bed bugs look like?

When you think about what a bed bug looks like think about an apple seed. An adult bed bug is approximately ¼ of an inch long and their oval shaped brown body is wingless. Their color becomes a bit redder after they have had a blood meal. There’s a misconception that you can’t see these pests with your naked eye and that is false; while nymphs are small and hard to see, adults aren’t.

Where should you be looking for bed bugs?

Unfortunately, bed bugs inhabit many more places than beds. They have been discovered in just about every place that people frequent. Places like libraries, movie theaters, public transportation, dorm rooms, hospitals, nursing homes, and schools are all in the bed bug zone. You may be thinking that it seems impossible to look and search all these places, well, here’s some easy tips to help you keep an eye out for a possible bed bug zone:

  • Look for them! Look at and in seams of cushions, seats, pillows, furniture, and mattresses for the bugs themselves as well as blood or dark fecal stains. Check out cracks and crevices in seats, walls, and cushions. You may also see discarded exoskeletons from molting bed bugs.

  • Take a sniff! Do you smell a musty and moldy wet towel smell? That could be a sign of a heavy infestation of bed bugs.

  • Ask for info. As much as possible, check out the place that you’re staying or the transportation that you’re using for pest control policies. Look on their website or ask them about their pest control services or their bed bug control policies.

Home again, one last step in bed bug prevention.

When you return home from your summer get-away you’ll want to make doubly sure that you don’t bring these parasites into your home. Believe it or not, they’ll hitch a ride home with you in or on your luggage and personal items so it’s inspection time!

  • Unpack your luggage outside of your home.

  • Inspect your clothes and belongings before bringing them inside.

  • Take your clothes directly to the washing machine or dry cleaners. Do not allow them to just sit around. Launder your clothes on the hottest setting possible to kill any pests that may be on them.

  • Inspect, vacuum and clean your luggage BEFORE bringing it inside. Dispose of vacuum bag immediately.

  • If possible, store your luggage in a plastic bag.

If you think that bed bugs have arrived home with you give the bed bug control experts here at All-American Pest Control of Nashville and Middle TN a call or simply schedule your free home evaluation. Our professional pest technicians will work with you to get rid of these persistent pests and we will do so quickly and efficiently. We want to encourage you to travel this summer, have tons of fun going from place to place and hopping from town to town, but be aware of these hitch hiking pests, their signs and their habits. Do your best to avoid them and if not, well, leave the rest up to us!