Can bedbugs travel with you from hotel to hotel and keep biting you?(3 posts)
We are travelling for a few months and change hotels every couple of days.
At some point, we were in a hostel dorm in Argentina and we found lots of bedbugs in the morning waking around in my girlfriend's bed. She had no imediate bite marks and we hoped that the DEET she was wearing might have kept them away.
We then spent a night on an overnight bus and after that changed 4 hostels every 1 or 2 days. 7 nights after the infested hostel, bites started to appear on my girlfriend's hands and face. Maybe dozens. They kept appearing for 3 nights in a row (today is the third one).
We are wandering if bedbugs could be travelling with us, get out of the backpack, bite at night and then go back in our luggage and wait for the next night. This option seems strange to us because for 7 nights there were no bites. Also, we pack and unpack frequantly and move the luggage from town to town: could they be hiding in such a place that is so disturbed everyday?
she had no imediate bite marks
That's not uncommon when you've been exposed to bed bugs. Remember that bed bug bites are an allergic reaction. With allergies in general, many people are not allergic to something the first time they are exposed. It takes several exposures before the allergy develops.
That kind of delayed response seems to be very common with bed bug bites. The best information we have right now is that it can take up to nine days after being bitten before the bites "show up" on someone's skin.
we hoped that the DEET she was wearing might have kept them away.
DEET is a repellent that works on some insects, but all the research suggests that it does not work on bed bugs.
Also, do keep in mind when you're in other places that repelling bed bugs is actually a bad idea. It doesn't sound like it would be, but it is. Anything that repels bed bugs in your own home tends to spread the infestation. In hotels and such, repelling bed bugs drives them to hide more deeply; if I had to guess, I'd say that makes it slightly more likely that the bugs would infest your belongings.
The fact that repelling bed bugs is bad in the long run is definitely one of those counterintuitive things. It doesn't make any sense to be told that you don't want to repel them. Logically, anyone would think that you'd want to repel them. But for a whole host of complicated reasons, it turns out that you don't. It's one of the things that makes them difficult to treat, so don't blame yourself for not knowing that very weird aspect of bed bugs; just keep it in mind as you go forward.
We are wandering if bedbugs could be travelling with us, get out of the backpack, bite at night and then go back in our luggage and wait for the next night.
It's possible. Bed bugs do sometimes hitch a ride on luggage or belongings from infested hotel or hostel rooms. I'm 98% sure I got my bed bug infestation from a stay at a hotel in March of 2008. (I was bed bug free by June 2008, so please don't worry that you'll be stuck with them for 4 years.)
However, it is also possible, depending on when you were last exposed to them, that you are continuing to have old bites finally appear on your skin--that's especially true if it's been 10 days or fewer since you were last exposed.
we pack and unpack frequantly and move the luggage from town to town: could they be hiding in such a place that is so disturbed everyday?
It's not a 100% given, but it's possible--even in a situation in which you are frequently moving. If a bed bug, for example, laid eggs in some hard to see part of your luggage, depending on the temperature, it could take days or weeks for the eggs to hatch. Once the eggs hatched, a bunch of tiny, hungry, newly hatched bed bugs would leave your luggage.
If you haven't done so, you might want to take a look at the FAQs (lists of Frequently Asked Questions) on this website. They provide a lot of useful information.
Also, if you spot any other bugs on your luggage or your new places, try to take a photo of those and post the photo or photos here. People here may be able to confirm that what you've photographed either is or is definitely not bed bugs.
There are many other bugs that cause bites and bite-like responses, and other insects can be mistaken for bed bugs (roaches, fleas, carpet beetles, and spider beetles, for example, are frequently mistaken for bed bugs on these boards based on photos we see posted.)
The most important advice if you are/were exposed is that you'll want to be very careful in terms of how you treat your luggage when you arrive home. The last thing you want to do is bring any hitch hiking bed bugs from your luggage into your home; if those hitch hikers set up in your home, that infestation can be expensive and difficult to treat.
If you're already home and you didn't take precautions, take the precautions outlined in the FAQ now and monitor your home closely for the next 4 to 6 weeks. If you don't see signs of bed bugs in that time, chances are good that you got lucky and dodged a bullet even if you were exposed.
Hope that helps.
Thank you for your reply.
We read a lot about them, including the FAQ on this site.
We did not arrive at home, we are still travelling and will continue to do so for the next few months.
From what you said, I take it that it would be unlikely for the bugs to get out of the suitcase, bite us and then go BACK in the SUITCASE and bite us some more in a different hostel the next day.
Other ideas we have are old bites (they appeared 7, 8 and 9 days after the infested hostel), but appeared over a period of 3 nights. Would this be possible? If you get bitten in one night to have the bites appear after some time during 3 nights?
Or that another hostel that we staid in days 7 and 8 had them as well... it was a new hostel, but the guy had a taste for antiques, so he decorated the entire hostel with "antiques" (i.e. old furniture from the flea market...)
We are also worried about how many other hostels we may be infesting... we washed all our clothes, but we can not dissinfect all that we have with us...
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