Bed bugs may not be something you think about when you check in at a five-star hotel hotelhowever, trip is one of the most common ways these parasitic insects are spread. Exclusively with Express.co.uk, Paul Blackhurst, Head of Technical Academy at Rentokil Pest Control said: “While sunscreen and flip flops are at the top of the list of priorities, vacationers should probably also consider a more unwanted side effect of some hotel stays: bed bugs.
“The National Association of Environmental Health Companies (ANECPLA) has issued a warning to holidaymakers about bed bugs inhabiting five-star hotels in popular areas such as Mallorca, Alicante and the Canary Islands.
“In recent years, the bed bug population has increased by more than 500 percent in the United States Spain.”
While people may think that bed bugs are only attracted to unclean environments, it’s “misconceptions” like this one that Mr. Blackhurst says can put people at risk.
ANECPLA General Manager Jorge Galván explains: “We are concerned about the impact of the tourism reactivation on a pest closely linked to the hotel sector and tourist homes: the bed bug.
“This parasitic insect with a length of five millimeters to six millimeters usually settles in beds, the folds of sheets, furniture or armchairs and feeds mainly on human blood.
“The bite causes discomfort and even various allergic reactions, insomnia or stress.
“Due to their small size, they are often tucked between clothes or suitcases, creating new infestations in homes, hotels or apartments.”
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Mr Blackhurst shared some common “myths” about bed bugs that holidaymakers should be aware of to reduce the risk of waking up with some unwanted bites.
He said: “It’s important for vacationers and hotel owners alike to be vigilant against these minor pests and armed with the right knowledge to deal with them effectively.”
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Myth One: Bedbugs Can Jump or Fly
Mr Blackhurst explains: “Some people confuse bed bugs with pests such as fleas.
“Bed bugs can’t actually jump or fly, but they can run quite fast, about four feet per minute, which makes them hard to spot.”
Myth Two: Bedbugs Can Only Be Found On Or Around Beds
Although their name suggests that they only live in beds, the expert explained that they can also hide in other cracks and crevices around the bedroom, such as closets and carpets.
He said: “They will also find shelter in upholstery such as sofas, curtains, chairs and even in and around the seats of airplanes, trains and coaches.
“These pests are smart hitchhikers and will happily take an easy ride with humans as they like to be close to body heat and will inevitably be looking for their next meal.”
Myth 3: Bedbugs prefer unsanitary conditions
While you would only expect these critters to live in unwashed bedding and unclean environments, the Rentokil expert says this is not the case.
He said: “Bed bugs prefer a lot of people to a dirty environment, which means that luxurious facilities can also be an easy target.”
Myth 4: Bedbugs are invisible to the naked eye
Bed bugs are small, but they are not so small that you cannot see them.
Mr Blackhurst said: “Adult bed bugs can be about four to five millimeters long, about the size of an apple seed, and grow larger after a feeding, but it is often much easier to find traces of them than to find a live insect. to see.
“They can be identified by small dark blood stains, which can look like mildew on the edges of mattresses, for example, dark stool granules and a distinctive sweet and sickly odor.”
Myth Five: Bedbugs Can’t Survive in Luggage
Mr Blackhurst said: “It is entirely possible to carry these pests home in your luggage, especially if you throw your suitcase on your hotel bed.
“An easy solution is to place your suitcase or bag in the bath or shower while checking the bed and mattress for signs of bed bugs.
“You may also want to hang your clothes instead of using the drawers.”
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Myth Six: Bedbugs are afraid of light
Bed bugs may be most active at night, but that doesn’t mean they will spread once you turn on the light.
Mr Blackhurst told Express.co.uk: “Bed bugs are not afraid of light, but they thrive best at night when they can easily get food from their sleeping host.”
Myth Seven: Bedbugs need a host to stay alive
Mr Blackhurst explains: “Bed bugs can survive for up to a year without a blood supply, but female bed bugs will eat more often because they need the blood to develop their eggs.”
Myth Eight: Bedbug bites wake you up at night
While you may notice a bed bug bite when the morning comes, you may not necessarily realize that you are being bitten.
Mr Blackhurst explains: “Bed bugs inject an anesthetic during feeding to reduce sensation so that sleepers don’t feel the first bite when they start eating.”