Travel season brings threat of bedbugs

The first step to controlling bedbugs is knowing how to identify them before an infestation occurs or spreads.

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – With the warmer weather in the forecast comes more bugs and other critters. Exterminators here in the Valley say that they’ve been flooded with calls.

Matt Lloyd with Grace Exterminating said they’ve been extra busy the past several weeks with calls about wasps, ants and bedbugs. But unlike other bugs, bedbugs are bad all year because they live inside –but the warmer weather can bring them out of hiding. 

Lloyd said the first step to controlling bedbugs is knowing how to identify them before an infestation occurs or spreads.

All across the Mahoning Valley, bed bugs are moving into private homes, hotels and public housing. And once these pests come in, they're very hard to get out.Bedbugs are reddish-brown and about the size of an apple seed. What you typically see first before you ever actually see the bug is the skin it leaves behind.

“They go through five stages of molting, which is when they shed their skin. So, what you are really looking for is the skin casing will fall by the bed or couch, wherever you spend the most amount of time,” Lloyd said.

Fecal spots are also an indicator, which look more like someone took a Sharpie marker and drew black dots on your mattress.

Bedbugs aren’t seasonal, but part of the reason this week is bedbug awareness week is because this marks the beginning of Spring Break travel and many families are making plans for summer vacations.

Experts say by taking a few extra steps while out on the road can save you major headaches back at home. The NPMA recommends the following bedbug prevention tips when traveling:

  • At hotels, pull back sheets and inspect mattress seams, for telltale bedbug stains. Inspect the entire room before unpacking, including sofas and chairs and behind the headboard. Notify management of anything suspect and change rooms or establishments immediately.
  • If you need to change rooms, don’t move to a room adjacent or directly above or below the suspected infestation.
  • Keep suitcases in plastic trash bags or protective covers during your stay to prevent bedbugs from nesting there.
  • When home, inspect suitcases before bringing them into the house and vacuum them before storing.
  • Wash all clothes – even those not worn – in hot water to eliminate any bedbugs and their eggs.

“The more travel that you do, the more you are susceptible to bedbugs. What you are looking for is a reddish-brown bug about one-quarter of an inch long – about the size of an apple seed – very visible to the naked eye,” Lloyd said.