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Hotel had bedbugs - how to return home?

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  1. Travel_Trouble

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri Jul 29 2016 21:22:42
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    Short version: hotel in China had bed bugs, took extreme precautions, found single worrying bug at new hotel. How to go home safely?

    My girlfriend and I are traveling in China. A few days ago we stayed at a hotel with bedbugs. There were quite a few adults and nymphs, and we are confident about our ID. The hotel staff did not understand how serious and spreadable the problem was, bit were very nice and moved us to a new hotel.

    Once there, we tried to isolate our baggage in the bathroom, but we found an adult and a nymph - confirming that they came with us.

    We went into full isolation mode. Due to being in China, our clothes could not be adequately dried, so we threw those and our luggage away. We kept only our most highly valued items (a few clothes, electronics) and sealed them in double-bagged ziplock with tape over the outer zipper.

    We bought minimal new clothes and a new room in a (third) hotel. Before entering, we carefully inspected all the plastic bags, and put just those bags into the room. We then entered the room, sealed our clothes in more bags, and showered and put on new clean clothes from a sealed bag.

    We had to move to a new city, and are now in a fourth hotel. Inspected the room, seemed clean, but later found a possible 1st stage instar (squished as we attempted to ID it).

    How do we go home? Current plan is to bag everything we have on us, store it until it can be heat-treated, get a hotel at home and re-do the seal clothes and shower.

    Is this enough? We were so careful, but still found that worrying bug in the fourth room.

    Thanks so much!

  2. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Fri Jul 29 2016 23:33:43
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    We have a set of FAQs on bed bugs and travel which include information on what to do if you are exposed to bed bugs and how not to spread them/take them home.

    I started and run the site but am "not an expert."
  3. Travel_Trouble

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sat Jul 30 2016 0:27:59
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    Thanks! I had actually read that already. Many of the actions we have already taken, such as bagging items, were motivated by that article and the links. I re-read it just to be sure.

    I reach clinical levels of paranoia with these things, and would really like some second opinions on the specific precautions we have taken. I am very concerned about the possible 1st instar we found last night,as both myself and my girlfriend were feeling quite good that our containment procedures had worked.

    As I said,all our stuff was bagged and inspected, new (cheap) luggage, new (cheap) clothes. I think out biggest concern now is how to safely return home. Is getting another hotel room at home, showering there and containing clothes adequate? We will certainly be consulting with a professional, but would like your opinion as well. Is going to a hospital necessary, for example?

    Thanks again!

  4. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Sat Jul 30 2016 1:02:12
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    Current plan is to bag everything we have on us, store it until it can be heat-treated, get a hotel at home and re-do the seal clothes and shower.

    If you put on clothing which was dried on hot and sealed in a clean bag immediately before leaving the hotel you were in, then I would not worry so much about that clothing. I wouldn't personally get a hotel room just to change in. One thing you can do is strip while standing in a clear plastic tub-- you might need someone's help to make sure one was available to you. Others might have strip just inside the front door, bag that clothing immediately (and seal), then inspect the area. That's probably more doable if the floor is tile, for example, and easy to search.

    My understanding from experts is that if you're carrying them on you, they're likely to be in clothing you wear, rather than on your body itself. So showering may be a good step but the main thing is the clothing. (Again, it may or may not be at high risk depending where it was before you put it on, if you dressed in an infested place with lots of bed bugs, and whether you spent time there after dressing.)

    Remember luggage and other items which was in an infested room will be at risk too.

    You don't need a hospital unless you think you have symptoms needing treatment (bite reactions which feel extreme or which may be infected, allergic responses which seem severe, etc.)

    Sorry there's no right or wrong answer, partly due to all those factors, but you are thinking in the right way.

    Passive bed bug monitors are inexpensive and may be worthwhile just to check once a week and reassure yourself you did not bring anything home.

  5. Travel_Trouble

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Mon Aug 1 2016 20:02:55
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    My girlfriend and I are about to put our "return home plan" in action. In a few hours, all the items that were with us will be sealed in bags, knotted and taped (with the outside bleached) in a storage unit, and we will be on our way to a hotel to shower and change into clean clothes from sealed bags prepared by our roommates. All clothing we are wearing will be discarded.

    One major point of doubt is our smartphones. We would really like to be able to keep them until we find a thermal treatment provider who will treat our small amount of stuff. BUT... They are not well-sealed and I don't have the tools to dismantle them for a complete inspection. What to do here? These phones were in bed, on the nightstand, used for bed bug inspections, etc - but I have talked to a few exterminators that claim they are low risk. Some even made the dubious claim that they get hot enough while operating to kill the bugs - that is not true, not for the whole device anyway. Would be a shame to take all these precautions but end up spending an infestation with our phones...

    Any advice on dealing with smartphones without a full thermal treatment?

  6. Nobugsonme

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    Posted 2 years ago
    Mon Aug 1 2016 23:28:22
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    Maybe blast some compressed air into any holes, while holding the item over a sink? If you are concerned this may cause damage, you can ask the manufacturer first.

    I understand that if bed bugs are hungry, breathing into the item might get them to come out also. They're attracted to the CO2.


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