(BPT) - Planning an upcoming trip - maybe a long weekend getaway, or a family vacation before the kids head back to school, or perhaps you're a road warrior who travels frequently for work? No matter what type of trip you have planned, you've probably already put together a packing list of what to take along.
But here's a question: Is there anything on your list you could use if you were to come into contact with bed bugs? Don't worry, you're not alone - insects of any kind are the last thing on most people's minds when planning for paradise. Nevertheless, if you're not careful, bed bugs could become a most unwelcome part of your travel plans.
Bed bug 101
Research from Ortho shows that 50 percent of Americans know someone who has had bed bugs. However, if you've never encountered these pests before, your first question is, naturally, what are they?
A bed bug is a non-flying insect that feeds on the blood of mammals, like human beings. Bed bugs are small - roughly the same size as an apple seed - with flat bodies. Their flat shape is what allows them to hide in small spaces.
How to spot a bed bug infestation
It doesn't matter if you're staying at a 2-star or 5-star hotel, bed bugs do not discriminate and infestations can happen anywhere. If your hotel room has a bed bug infestation, the first thing you may notice is an odor. Many people say it smells sweet like almonds or musty.
When first arriving at your room, place your luggage in the bathtub where bed bugs cannot reach. Then, physically look for bed bugs, checking the seams and folds of your mattress and behind the bed frame and headboard. Remember, bed bugs are very small, so they can easily hide in nooks and crevices. As you check these places, look for shed bed bug skin or black dots (fecal spots) as evidence of their presence.
To determine whether the place you're staying has bed bugs, you can use a product like Ortho Home Defense Bed Bug Trap, a pesticide-free, portable trap that uses a newly identified attractant pheromone to lure, detect and trap bed bugs in under an hour. To use, place the trap in key areas where bed bugs may hide, such as under the bed's headboard. Then, release the attractant to lure bed bugs out of hiding. In about an hour, check the trap to determine whether you have an issue.
Carry these affordable traps with you whenever you travel and you can go to bed each night assured you're not sharing your room with bed bugs. If your trap shows your room has bed bugs, immediately contact hotel management to understand your lodging alternatives.
Enjoy your home alone
Remember, even the briefest stay in an infested room could be enough for some of these insects to hitch a ride home with you. Because bed bugs love dark places, the folds of your luggage make for a welcoming environment. Pack a travel-sized aerosol spray on trips, such as Ortho Home Defense Dual-Action Bed Bug Killer, and treat your suitcase before returning home.
When you return home, inspect the seams of your luggage for visible bed bugs. Finally, confirm you didn't bring any home by placing a trap near your bed or sleeping area. Fortunately, with a little knowledge and the right tools, protecting yourself and your family is easy.
For more information about the Ortho Home Defense Bed Bug Trap, and other products to treat bed bugs, visit Ortho.com/BedBugs.