Jacksonville is a hotbed for spring breakers. But beautiful beaches and beautiful people aren't the only thing in Jacksonville. And, if you're not careful, you could take some hitchhikers home with you.
Bed bugs have very basic needs and drives. Everything they do centers on one goal: to find a blood meal. These little insects consume blood in order to mate, and digest blood in order to live. But unlike the happy mosquito, they are not able to fly. This forces them to wait till the container for their food source lays in a prone position. When they sense a change in CO2 levels, they will emerge from their hiding places and begin to feed. The anticoagulant they administer while feeding allows them to draw blood through human skin with little or no discomfort, because of this they are able to feed several times on a sleeping human without waking them, even in sensitive areas like the face and neck. Now, if you're thinking, "Aw, heck no!" Then follow these few steps to keep yourself safe.
Always check with bedbugregistry.com before you travel, or check your hotel out on Yelp or Tripadvisor. Through reviews, you can find out if the hotel, motel, or resort you're intending to stay at has had any bed bug complaints. This isn't a foolproof method, because you can't be assured if the reviews are 100% authentic. And,by the time you read a review, the problem may have already been fixed. But this is a good start.
When you arrive at your accommodations do a quick bed bug inspection. Check your bed for tiny brown bugs. Inspect pillowcases and sheets for, even tinier blood stains. Pull up sheet corners and look for black, sticky fecal residue. And, use a flashlight to check the backboard and any upholstered furniture in the room.
During your stay, keep your luggage inside plastic bags, to keep bed bugs from climbing in or laying eggs. Don't leave dirty clothes on the floor or hanging over a chair. Put those clothes in a plastic bag as well.
If you experience any rashy bites, look to see if they are in a row or cluster. Though you can have multiple bites due to mosquitoes, those bites will appear random. Bed bug bites look like a path across your body.
If you discover bed bugs, report them immediately, and ask that you be moved to another room. Don't let them put you in an adjacent room or a room that is above or below the infested room. Bed bugs can move through wall voids. You should be safe if they put you a few rooms away. The infestation should not be building wide. Most hotels, motels and resorts keep on top of bed bug problems. It is bad for business to do otherwise.
When you get back to your dorm room, wash and dry all your clothes on the hottest temperature. This kills all stages of bed bugs.
I realize you're going on spring break to let your hair down and blow off some steam, but take the time to be aware of bed bugs. All it takes is one bed bug, or a batch of eggs, to make the last quarter of school a nightmare. Be safe and take a couple seconds to use these tips. Then, go have a blast!