Experts Explain How Nasty Critters Can Hitch A Ride Back To Your Place

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — It’s summer and this is the time of year when bedbugs are most prevalent. But it’s also the time of year when people travel.

That can be a bad combination, but there are things you can do to battle the nasty critters.

When CBS 2’s Kristine Johnson caught up with Charlotte Reed, she was leaving for vacation and hoping to return with a tan. However, she said was worried that some color wasn’t going to be the only thing she’d bring back with her.

“Bedbugs can travel anywhere,” Reed said.

Like a lot of travelers, she said she’s concerned about bedbugs catching a ride back to her home on anything from her luggage to her dog.

“My dog sleeps in the bed with me, so, just like I’m exposed to bedbugs at night in the bed, so is she,” Reed said.

Experts say bedbugs will use your pets to get to you. It’s one of the ways they’ve now spread to all 50 states.

“Pets can transport bedbugs. Just mechanically, the bedbug hitches a ride on your pet and gets into your house,” said Kimberly May of the American Veterinary Medical Center.

So what, if anything, can you do to protect yourself while traveling? Entomologist Jeffrey White said when you get to your hotel room thoroughly inspect for bugs before you bring your pet through the door. The bugs are often visible to the naked eye.

“One of the most common areas that you want to inspect when you stay in a hotel room is either the headboard, where bedbugs will typically hide, or the bottom of the box spring,” White said.

Bedbugs also like to hide and nest in pet bedding, so experts recommend storing it in the bathroom where there is less of a chance of finding bugs.

“Their carrier could have a bedbug inside of it and that’s how you introduce bed bugs into your home,” White said.

Other precautions include storing personal items in plastic bags, keeping your bags on luggage racks instead of the floor, avoiding hotel closets and making sure to wash your clothes as well as your pet’s bedding as soon as you get home.

“Immediately launder it in the hottest water that you can. If there are any rips or holes in it, you want to discard it,” May said.

There are several websites that keep track of hotels with bedbug cases. Please check out the following:

Bedbug Registry

Bedbug Reports

Bad Bedbugs

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