Immediately after you check in to a hotel room, what’s the first thing you do? Taking a few minutes to look for bed bugs may prevent an expensive headache down the road.
That’s because the bloodsuckers can easily hitchhike in your luggage and end up infesting your entire home.
To avoid having to pay an expensive bill for pest control services, Consumer Reports says you want to follow a few key steps every time you stay in a hotel.
Read more: These cities have the most bed bugs
Hotel bed bugs: 5 steps to prevent an attack
1. When you enter your room, put your luggage in the bathroom while you inspect the bedding and furniture, which are places bed bugs are most likely to hide.
2. Inspect the bedding by pulling back the sheets and checking the mattress and box spring for bugs. Also keep an eye out for a trail of dark, rust-colored spots and casings.
Here’s an illustration to show you exactly what to look for:
3. Lift the mattress and check underneath, using your smartphone’s built-in flashlight (or download a free flashlight app) to search for bed bugs.
4. After your check is complete, store your suitcase on a luggage rack or a hard surface.
5. When you get home, put your clothes in a hot dryer for 30 minutes to kill any bed bugs that may have followed you home. Store empty luggage in your garage, basement or a hot attic.
What a bed bug bite looks like
According to the National Pest Management Association, bed bugs generally feed on humans while they sleep and can cause itchy, red bumps that can become infected if you scratch them a lot.
Here’s an example of the marks bed bugs left behind on this man’s foot:
To avoid a bad encounter with bed bugs, Consumer Reports suggests that you ask for another room in a different part of the hotel if you see any signs of the insects during your inspection.