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The business traveler’s guidebook to the ultimate pest

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Sometimes while traveling on business, you bring back the big sale. Sometimes, you bring back bed bugs

As far as pests go, bed bugs do not discriminate – they feed on billionaires and the homeless, crowning the pests as the ultimate hitchhiker you never wanted to take home. These parasitic insects do not discriminate based on cleanliness or cost, which means they can be found in any hotel or motel – from one-star to five-star locations.

From the frequent business traveler’s standpoint, bed bugs are always in season.

The U.S. Travel Association recorded that U.S. residents logged 459 million person-trips for business purposes in 2015, with 37 percent for meetings and events. That’s 169.8 million trips from home by plane, train or automobile, overnight in paid accommodations that are hosting any number of travelers, day after night.

Each time you travel, you increase your risk of exposures to bed bugs on public transportation, including airlines and hotel rooms.

NATURAL ENEMY

Bed bugs – or Cimex lectularius – are a natural enemy of business travelers. They are expert hiders that can lie between two pieces of paper without being noticed.

If present, the tell-tale signs are black marks that are typically found around the ribbing of a mattress, box spring or furnishings. One most often wouldn’t see an actual bed bug, but brown or black marks the size of a felt-pen tip.

Take this cue: If you see such a black spot, and it doesn’t look right – use your instinct to realize that those spots shouldn’t be on a mattress, and it’s time to give someone a call.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

The spring and summer travel seasons, whether for business or pleasure, are a prime time to be mindful of bed bug exposure to personal belongings.

Bed bugs hide where a lot of people spend a lot of time, especially in places with a high frequency of turnover. These tiny pests could find a carrier on any public transportation, including buses and trains.

Airplanes are another place for bed bugs to “make a living” among the belongings of lots of people in close proximity.

While taxis typically are serviced by pest-control professionals, an Uber vehicle may be a different story and could be a spot for an infestation.

RISK TO HOME

Bed bugs are everywhere, in all levels of hotels, motels, planes and public transportation.

This doesn’t mean you’re going to carry home an infestation every time you travel, but it’s important to be aware of the risk it brings to you and your home.

Because bed bugs can be extremely difficult to eliminate, treating for an infestation requires the use of a licensed pest-control professional with experience treating for these pests.

Dan Rothermel, who has a Master of Business Administration, co-owns Green Giant Pest Control and Lawn Care, Fleetwood. Green Giant has serviced Berks County, the Lehigh Valley and Chester and Montgomery counties the last 30 years. He can be reached at danr@greengiantpest.com or 610-944-0408.

 

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