Bed bugs aren't generally aware of the holidays. They don't throw a turkey in the oven, and they don't wait till you drip turkey juice between the oven and the stove like those cockroaches do. Bed bugs don't care for turkey or potatoes or cranberry sauce. Their diet is limited to just blood. Human blood. Is there more blood during the holidays? Well, after you're done eating a ten-course meal, your stomach will be working overtime to digest all that food. And when your body is working hard, it pumps blood faster. This increase in blood flow is actually detectible to a mosquito--another blood eating insect. Mosquitoes have sensors on their mouths that detect the temperature of your skin. The more blood is pumping, the warmer your skin. But none of this matters to bed bugs--because they can't fly to catch up with the carbon dioxide-breathing animals they love to feed on. They wait until their prey is laying down and blowing heavy, steady streams of CO2 in a pleasant rhythmic fashi on. That's when they have their Thanksgiving dinner.
So, if bed bugs don't eat Thanksgiving crumbs and drippings, why do they love the holiday season so much? Simple. Bed bugs love to travel. Of all the insects in the world, bed bugs are the ones that rely the most on humans to increase their boundaries. In the old days, a bed bug might hop a ride across the street or to the next town. But in these modern times, with international travel available to most, bed bugs can travel the world in search of a new home.
The holiday season is the busiest travel time of the year. With more travel there is more need for people to stay in some form of accommodation. And bed bug infestations are not limited to cheap motels. Bed bugs love five-star hotels and resorts, too.
Here is a quick checklist to keep bed bugs from traveling home with you.
Use bedbugregistry.com to check your accommodations before leaving for vacation.
Don't bring bags into your room until you have checked it for bed bugs. If you must bring them in, put them on the tiled floor of the bathroom.
Pull down bed spreads and check for tiny brown seed-like bugs.
Check for dried brown blood stains.
Inspect the edge of the bed and corners for black fecal residue.
Use a flashlight to inspect the headboard and any upholstered furniture in the room.
If your room is clear, it is probably safe to put your clothes in the drawers, but hanging them is better.
When you depart, inspect the hems and seams of your bags for bugs.
With these simple steps, your holidays will be safer, and you'll be less likely to deal with an infestation in your home four to six months down the road. Stay informed and keep a watchful eye. Bed bugs are a nightmare to deal with. But there are measures you can take to avoid them. This is something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving!