Travel reporter gets bed bugs after hundreds of hotel stays

by nobugsonme on November 21, 2007 · 2 comments

in bed bugs, bed bugs and travel, bed bugs in hotels, dust mites, entomologists, how to avoid bed bugs, journalists, journalists with bed bugs, legal aspects of bed bugs

After traveling to 71 countries and staying in hundreds of hotels, NY1 journalist Valerie D’Elia encountered bed bugs in a hotel. Luckily, she did not appear to take them home with her.

Here she tells the story, and asks a few questions of attorney Steven De Castro (who’s been involved with bed bug lawsuits) and local entomologist/ Bedbugger hero Lou Sorkin. She talks about the signs and symptoms of bed bugs, but not really any suggestions about what to do to avoid taking them home.

If you recall, in September 2006, NY1 covered the city council hearing in New York (on bed bugs and the reselling of mattresses). They illustrated the opening with a nice, big photo of a dust mite. The segment below occurred within six months of that incident (I don’t know exactly when, but it was uploaded to YouTube in February). Suffice it to say, they’ve come a long way in those six months.

(I am not sure how we missed this when it aired, but it’s new to us, and maybe to you too!)

If the embedded video won’t work for you, click here.

1 parakeets November 21, 2007 at 3:08 pm

Good story and great to hear Lou Sorkin in person, not just in posts. I think people will really listen to this reporter and her seasoned, experienced approach. I was amazed at her technique of blowing at the seams of a mattress in a hotel with a soda straw to detect bedbugs. That’s new to me. I’d be afraid I’d suck some up if I used a straw. Gag!

2 Winston O. Buggy November 21, 2007 at 8:05 pm

Let the fact that it took a considerable amount of travel be of some solace.
I’m not crazy about the straw either, hers are some suggestions I’ve prepared
for one of my clients.

The next time you travel you might want to follow these tips:
Use a flashlight or UV light to inspect your room for live bed bugs or evidence of activity such as fecal material, shed skins or blood spots. If room is suspect request a different room.

Using a business card and hand lens examine the cracks and crevices around the mattress, bed frame, headboard (most lift off the wall), carpet edges, picture frames, closets, nightstands, luggage racks and dressers to inspect for evidence.
(I’ve heard Lou Sorkin uses a notched metro card)

Don’t unpack; leave your clothes in a closed suitcase, knapsack or zipped up clothing bag. You might want to tape the zipper as well.

Keep your suitcase etc. away from the bed and don’t leave clothes laying about or in dresser drawers. Move the bed away from the wall or headboard if possible. Check yourself for bites or itching, although bed bug bites are not always immediately noticeable. Bag and seal pajamas in a clear plastic bag and examine.

When you get home:

Unpack over a white sheet, directly launder washables in water over 140 degrees or place in a bag and dry clean. Use separate bags on trip to and from laundry.

Inspect and vacuum suitcases before putting them away. If you think you may have come in contact with pests you might consider treating the area and suitcase with a contact insecticide aerosol labeled for use on bed bugs.

Still Paranoid?
Travel with clear large plastic bags and enclose suitcase, clothing bag and all belongings except what you are wearing and seal with tape. Consider using a hard suitcase rather than fabric and sub wrap items in plastic bags. In some areas mosquito nets may be of use.

The you tube was interesting especially some of the linked ones although I’m not sure how Britney figured in. opps

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