I hate that I can feel confident to write this post after the year that I have had, but considering the amount of times I have found bed bugs in hotels and hostels the past few months I feel the need to share how to spot them before you get bit, how to know its a bed bug bite, & how to deal with all your stuff after getting bit. Bed bug experiences:
Belize – Woke up with bites all over my legs
Alberta, Canada – Woke up with one on my pillow beside me
Singapore – Found them in the mattress
Moalboal, Philippines – all over our hostel rooms
How to spot them before you get bit:
It’s a good practice to just check the mattress before you go to sleep in a new place every time. Look for bloody/browny spots on the sheets and on the mattress. Lift the sheet and look along the rim of the mattress making sure you check in the corners. This is nasty, I know. You can use a credit card to swipe around the areas if you don’t want to use your fingers and find one. Bed bugs look like small redish brown seeds. They also shed their exoskeleton so finding that hints towards bed bugs too. A second way to know without immediately checking the bed is if there is a musty smell. Bed bugs create a nasty odour. That’s why I checked for them in Singapore – I was staying in a capsule so the smell was strong plus it wasn’t the cleanest hostel to begin with. I found a bug in the first mattress corner I checked. Just because a place looks nice though does not mean there isn’t bed bugs. I have also found them in seemingly nice hotels so check everywhere, every time if you want to avoid these nasty critters.
How to know it’s a bed bug bite:
The easiest way to know its a bed bug bite is to see if you have 3 in a row or in a group together. It’s disgusting but bed bugs bite in threes and someone nicknamed it their “breakfast, lunch & dinner,” barf. It is a good way to know if you should be concerned that they were bed bug bites and not just some other bite. From my research, bed bugs don’t carry horrifying diseases so you don’t need to be too worried about that. The bites are very very itchy though and usually last a long time. What you really need to be concerned about is bringing them home with you and having a bed bug infestation. They can go a long time (hundreds of days) without biting and still live so while you might think they’re gone….. they’re not. and they come back. and they lay eggs and reproduce like crazy. Which brings us to what to do if you suspect bites –
What to do with your shit after you’re bit:
If you suspect bed bug bites, then treat your stuff as if they are covered in bed begs. Put your bag in big plastic garbage bag (or a few) then take all the clothes and bring it to a laundromat where you need to heat everything up to kill any bugs. Do it for over an hour on high heat to be sure. After heating your clothes, run them through the regular washer and dryer again. As for your other things that you cant put through a dryer: if you have a steamer steam anything that you can to kill the bugs. If not inspect everything as best as possible. If you can clearly see there are no bugs then you should be fine to keep it. If you are unsure or are concerned about eggs (which you should be as they look like dirt and basically impossible to spot) it would be best to just toss it as to not spread that in your home and risk thousands of dollars in extermination.
Sincerely hope no one every has to deal with these tips. Just check your mattress before you go to sleep every night and never put your bag on your bed!!!
Sleep tight…. don’t let the bed bugs bite…. *crying inside*