Summer vacation and family getaways go hand in hand. Camping by the lake, hiking in the hills and cooking in the grass are all quintessential summer activities. Enjoying the great outdoors is one thing, but no one wants to bring the outdoors home with them.
Typical vacation pests include ants, roaches, flies, mosquitoes and rodents — but perhaps the most feared is the bed bug. And in Texas, the chigger.
Common Vacation Pests
● Bed Bugs
Don’t let the fear of a fly keep you from enjoying the great outdoors! But, seriously, there are pests you just want to flat out avoid — bed bugs and chiggers, just to name a couple of the more difficult to get rid of.
Once you know where you are headed, you can look up if any specific pests might be a threat to you. For example, chiggers are normally found in moist, low-lying areas such as grassy fields, forests and areas near lakes and streams.
Texas and Oklahoma are considered to have a high concentration of chiggers. So do a little research before choosing your next camp site to make sure chiggers won’t be a problem.
Bed bugs, on the other hand, are harder to predict, but you can do some research on the hotel you choose. There are also ways to pack your clothing that deter these dreaded hitchhikers.
How to Keep Pest From Traveling with You While on Vacation
Before you head out on your vacation, incorporate some of these effective anti-pest measures:
1. Research your hotel
Visit the Bed Bug Registry to look up the hotel you want to stay in and see if they have had a recent infestation. People go onto the registry and report if they have had an experience with bed bugs at this location.
2. Keep luggage elevated
There is a higher chance for pests to get into your luggage if the luggage is on the floor. Keep your luggage off of the floor and closed for the duration of your stay.
Carpet is a suitable location for bed bugs, so do not leave cloth shoes, clothing, luggage, purse or personal items on the carpet. To be safe, it’s a good idea to inspect the room for bed bugs, especially in the mattress, furniture and carpet edges.
3. What to wear in nature
Everyone loves nature, but no one wants bits of nature coming back with them, especially if they’re alive.
If you will be outside in long grasses or on a hiking trail, wear long, light-colored clothing. Tuck your shirt in and the bottoms of your pants into your socks or boots. Consider using mosquito netting over your head and neck. Also, think about applying Permethrin spray to your hiking clothing. And don’t wear any perfumes or colognes. Scentless is best when it comes to your soap and deodorant.
4. Inspect your belongings
Before heading home (and even again when you get home) inspect your luggage and clothing for any sign of pests. If you do check for pests upon arriving back home, do not unpack in a carpeted area.
As you unpack, you will want to focus extra attention on inspecting the seems and folds of your luggage and clothing. The crevices are where bed bugs like to hang out. If the coast seems clear, but you still have concerns, wash all dirty clothing in hot water as a precaution and wipe down and vacuum luggage before putting it back into storage.
If you live in a hot area, a quick and easy way to kill any potential bed bugs is to simply leave all your luggage (not electronics) in the vehicle with the windows rolled up. Choose a sunny spot.
Since bed bugs cannot survive high temperatures, if the interior of your vehicle reaches 120+°F, they should be done for.
Bed bugs will also die in subfreezing temperatures (below 32°F), but these freezing temperatures must stick around for a few days.
5. Ziploc bags
Prevent pests from following you home by putting all suspect items into sealed plastic bags. The plastic bags will at least halt the problem, keeping the pests from spreading to other items. Consider using Ziplocs or any sealable plastic bags for all of your clothing. Seal your clothing and other items as a general precaution when traveling.
You can also place suspect items inside a Ziploc bag and leave them out on a hot, sunny location for a day or so.
6. Wash self and clothing immediately
As soon as you get home, put all your clothing in the wash and take a hot shower. When you clean your hair and body and wash and change your clothes, not only will you prevent pests, you’ll also reduce potential allergy and asthma triggers.
When you are washing clothing that could have bed bugs or pests, set the water and dryer setting for HOT.
Summer getaways are great, but keep any critters you come in contact with away from your home with these tips for avoiding pests while on vacation.
With some plastic bags and precautionary measures, you and your family will enjoy the great outdoors and keep it from following you through the front door.
If you have any questions or need help with a current pest problem, contact ABC Home & Commercial Services.
Enjoy a happy and pest-free summer vacation!