As the clocks fall back, smoke detector batteries get changed, and the multi-colored leaves gracefully fall in their autumnal farewell, it means that a great American traditional holiday is almost upon us. So with pilgrim’s pride we search for that Alice’s Restaurant album or video and e-vite Thanksgiving guests, or work on better excuses than last year.
T’is the season of turkeys, tofurkeys and pumpkin pie but unfortunately it also has become a time for a seasonal redistribution of bed bugs. Whether it’s coming home from school, staying at a motel on the road or that quaint little cottage by the in-laws (if you’re lucky), you may not be traveling home alone. As a professional bed bug slayer, I as well as others have noticed an increase in nocturnal activity in the weeks following Thanksgiving. Now, with some time ahead of us, is the time to prepare to either sally forth or give some thought on how to protect your castle.
If you are traveling, try to avoid a late night stop at the only vacancy along the highway. Either plan not to stop, or select a place to stay and get there with enough time and energy to inspect your room and change it if necessary. Try to bring a minimum of things into the room, but remember not to leave too much in plain sight, or other things may get redistributed, like your luggage. If you do stay over consider keeping your suitcases in large plastic bags, and your clothes as well, and if you are traveling with a loved one, enjoy! If you are traveling with some else’s loved one, you may want to consider pajamas, but put them in a plastic bag when finished and put them in the dryer ASAP. Hey– what the heck? Wash ’em too, it’s Thanksgiving!
If you are hosting folks who may have a bed bug issue the dryer is your best friend. Be diplomatic and polite with your guest because they are going through hell. But don’t let them infest your home.
If you are planning to visit and you have bed bugs, now is the time to plan ahead. Start by putting your clothes in the dryer to kill any bed bugs on them and then isolate them in a plastic ziploc bag or at a friend’s home. Get a new suitcase and isolate it as well. If you suspect something may contain bed bugs, don’t bring it. When you are ready to travel, shower, put on your prepared and protected clothes, and go pick up your stuff from your friend’s house. All this may sound a bit extreme or paranoid but you don’t want to be remembered for infesting the family.
Obviously a bunch of suggestions and comments will follow this post, and that’s the point of it: read the positive ones and give yourself enough time to plan and prepare for a Happy Thanksgiving.
And while we are giving thanks let’s give some to nobugs for working hard to help others sleep well.
Winston O’Buggy (not his real name) is a Pest Control Operator and Entomologist.
Thanks, Winston! Readers may also be interested in these travel-related FAQs: