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Don't let the bed bugs bite! How to check for bed bugs when you travel

One bed bug can lay hundreds of eggs and then you have an infestation.
Credit: National Pest Management Association

TAMPA, Fla. — It's vacation time and no matter where you go, whether it's a 5-star hotel or a small Airbnb, you may encounter some unwanted visitors - bed bugs. 

Just one looks harmless enough. A bed bug seems like a tiny black bug, typically the size of an apple seed. But one bed bug can lay hundreds of eggs and then you have an infestation. 

Dr. Brittany Campbell is an Entomologist with the National Pest Management Association. 

"You can find bed bugs almost anywhere you travel, unfortunately at a friend's house, a hotel, even at a summer camp," Campbell said. "Bed bugs are prevalent anywhere you can find people."

The parasites feed on your blood while you sleep, leaving big red, itchy bumps behind. 

Campbell says it's best to give any room a thorough check before you put your head on the pillow.  

"Pull back the sheets, get down to the mattress, look at the seams for evidence of bed bugs," she said. "It could be live bugs or could be their fecal stains. They look kind of black, like ink stains, as well as any sheds of skin."

And if you're worried bed bugs may have hitched a ride home with you, check your luggage before bringing it inside your home.  

"You can vacuum out your luggage, you can even use a lint roller to roll around the inside of the luggage," she said. "Some of the really sticky paper can remove the eggs."

Bed bug infestations are difficult to control, so if you think you have a problem, it's best to let a pest professional handle it. Click here for the National Pest Management Associations website to find a professional in your area.

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