Avoid Bringing Them Home with You

No matter where you travel or stay, bed bugs are everywhere. Therefore, the best way to avoid these nocturnal, blood-sucking pests is to know what to look for, where to look and how to avoid bringing them back home.

What do bed bugs look like?

The oval-shaped bugs are relatively flat, so they can easily hide in a variety of crevices in close proximity to humans. Bed bugs are typically less than ¼” long, have six legs and are brown or reddish-brown in appearance. Their unusual coloring comes from blood, which can leave brownish-black or reddish-brown stains as the blood is digested then excreted onto box springs, sheets, moldings, carpeting, furniture, clothing, etc.

Where do bed bugs come from?

While it may seem like bed bugs appear out of thin air, the truth is they are just really good hitchhikers. While this is good news for them, it is bad news for everyone else. It means they can literally be found anywhere people go. In public areas, bed bugs can be brought in by anyone. Newly introduced bed bugs tend to wander about, looking for harborage near a host. People passing through these areas can pick them up unknowingly, transporting them to a new location. Here is a list of some of the most common locations bed bugs are found:

Government Buildings / Social Services Facilities Office Buildings Libraries / Theaters
Used Furniture / Thrift Shop Hotels Schools / Daycares
Temporary Housing / Shelters Public Transportation Hospitals/ Clinics
Multi-Unit Housing / Dorms Nursing Homes Laundromats

How can I get bed bugs?

There are four main areas where people work or visit each day that are considered “high risk” for bed bugs. In these areas, it is important to implement an awareness program to help prevent the spread of bed bugs. Everyone involved needs to work together, including healthcare professionals, housekeeping, maintenance staff, patients, residents, family members, teachers students, and school administrators. Bed bugs are less likely become an infestation when proper protocols are followed.

1. Medical areas prone to bed bugs
Long-term care, dialysis centers, areas frequently visited by the same patient
Maternity units
Emergency departments (transport vehicles)
Waiting rooms
Rented equipment or equipment from other facilities
2. Educational areas prone to bed bugs

Bed bug infestations with sustaining populations in classrooms are rare because schools are poor environments for bed bug survival and reproduction. Periodic introductions occur more often due to the increasing frequency of bed bugs in homes.

School buses
Nap Areas
Play Areas
Lockers / jacket & backpack storage
3. Dorms and multi-unit properties prone to bed bugs

College dorms and apartment complexes are hot spots for bed bugs to spread rapidly.

Suitcases should be fully inspected for signs of bed bugs prior to packing, especially if used for travel
Inspect secondhand or rental furniture
Before unpacking, inspect the mattress and additional furniture in the room, such as sofas or chairs
Invest in a mattress encasement
4. Hotel areas prone to bed bugs

Hotels are just as much at risk of obtaining a bed bug problem as they are of spreading one. Bed bugs in one room can easily move to other rooms, which creates serious problems. If you work in hospitality, be proactive and stay alert for bed bugs – this could help you avoid a public relations issue.

Sofas (especially pull-outs)

Keys to a Successful Action Plan

In the areas above, it is important to implement an awareness program to help prevent the spread of bed bugs. Everyone involved needs to work together, including healthcare professionals, housekeeping and maintenance staff, patients, residents, teachers and school administers. Bed bugs are unlikely to cause infestation when proper steps are taken.

  • Quickly respond to a bed bug report
  • Gain control of the situation
  • Implement a bed bug awareness and education program
  • Be proactive

Hitchhiking Bed Bugs: Healthcare, Education, Hotels and Apartments in Wisconsin

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