Sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite, might sound like an old expression but, according to a study conducted by Rentokil, a pest control company, Australian business travellers and tourists have experienced appalling attacks from bed bugs.
Indeed, the most significant trepidation for Aussies travelling, following food poisoning and lost baggage, are bed bugs.
Infact, according to the Rentokil study, Aussies exposed a number of dreadful hotels located in the heart of Australia which are infested with these parasitic, blood-sucking insects.
A tourist, who would like to remain un-named, had been vacationing in St Kilda, a suburb of Melbourne, when he was attacked by bed bugs while he slept.
The economical hotel seemed decent enough until our vacationer became the star of his own movie “Attack of the Bed Buds!”
Once our unidentified tourist returned home to Sydney, his arms were riddled with red patches that were itchy and inflamed. He says he was terrified.
“About five days after returning to Sydney, I broke out into what I originally thought was a rash. I have never felt so itchy in my entire life.”
After enduring a number of nights tossing, turning and scratching, comprehension took hold. He had been eaten alive by bed buds.
Bed bugs can be found in a number of places such as gaps and cracks in a room and in curtains.
Simon Lean, Technical Manager for Rentokil says bed bugs aren’t just privy to cheap hotels, they’re everywhere.
“Bed bugs are not a sign of economic or hygienic factors – they can occur at anytime, anywhere and to anyone, from five star hotel to backpacker hostels.”
Rentokil lists a number of great methods to enlist to stay bed bug free.
Before booking a room
• Read reviews carefully.
• Get in touch with the hotel directly and ask about their bed bug action plan. Good hotels should have one.
• If travelling to North America, check out the handy Bed Bug Registry at bedbugregistry.com.
How to check your room
• Leave your luggage in the bathroom while you scour the room. Bed bugs don’t like tiles and there are fewer crevices in the bathroom.
• Adult bed bugs are oval, flat and reddish brown, but they’re about half the size of your pinky fingernail.
• They hide in the cracks and crevices of mattresses, bedroom furniture, electrical appliances, carpets and curtains.
• As well as live or dead bugs, keep an eye out for their skins, eggs, droppings or blood droplets on the sheets.
• A sickly sweet smell in the room could be a sign of an infestation.
• If travelling with children, get them involved. Teach them what to look for and make a game of it.
What to do if you spot an infestation
• Hotel staff should be more than accommodating if there’s a bed bug scare.
• Request a new room at least two floors away, and repeat the check (there’s a chance the whole building is infested.)
When you get home
• Bed bug bites sometimes don’t show up for five days, so remain vigilant.
• Make a habit of vacuuming and inspecting suitcases before storing them.
• Wash your clothes with warm water. Bed bugs can’t survive in temperatures above 50C.