It is true we can catch up bed bugs anywhere and from the most innocent places. But the area most likely to affect you is an area with an established population. And that can only be found where people are sleeping. Simply put, the bed bugs need a good blood supply to grow and breed. And the more turn around a bedroom or a property has, the more chance it will get infested.
How do you know if you have bedbug in your holiday accommodation? You cannot foresee if your room will be infested or not. At best you can get in and look for the signs of bed bugs on the mattress. But if the infestation level is low, you may not see anything obvious. The first sign of bed bug infestation may be you waking up with a single bite that can easily be dismissed for a mosquito bite.
The key to avoid bed bugs during a holiday stay is in managing the risk. There are hospitality establishments that are possibly more likely to encounter the problem than others. Hostels in particular often have a high number of bunk beds in the same room, with people staying often in excess of a few weeks, The same people that is used to this type of accommodations have often visited other hostels beforehand.
In my twenties I did my share of backpacker hostel in the Highland and all over Europe and I did not recall having encountered or even thought of the possibility of getting bitten by bed bugs. But since, a lot has changed, and like any epidemic, from a few isolated cases, the bed bug incidence has increased exponentially. Last year alone, I encountered bed bugs while I was a guest in two establishment. One was crushed on the wall, a gruesome reminder of how careless the housekeeping was for not removing it, and live in another one.
So, I changed gear. As I would be working late and would want to catch a shower and a few hours sleep, I would normally grab my phone and search for the nearest establishment. Now when I am doing field work that normally last 5 days in a row, I book myself a nice descent room in Bromley, in a proper and well managed hotel. What few hours I lose driving back there at night, I gain in peace of mind.
As you book a holiday, the less crowded and the longer the stay, the less turn over and the more chance there won’t be any bed bugs. Self catering properties and rentals are possibly the safest bait. Also they tend to be managed by the owners that pay special attention to keep them in good shape. I certainly know quite a few, and if ever they would have any suspicion of infestation, they would contract a bed bug fumigation right away. Simply because they want to protect their livelihood.
In any case, the danger is not for you to come across bed bugs during your holidays, the threat is for you to take them back home. Bed bugs can of course travel on people, I witness a few bed bugs nymphs crawling on the neck of a client while I was speaking to him once, and it was a disquieting experience to say the least. But bed bugs are more likely to be found on your luggage that you kept under of by the bed.
When I travel alone, I always arm myself with a soft bags, and only take cotton clothes. So when I come back home, it all go into the washing machine on high temperature. But I must confess that when I travel with my family, we take all our suitcases, bags, fridge, microwave, the cows, the chickens, the garden tables, the entire Debenhams fashion aisle, it is such an Odyssey that I have to book a fret flight such for the shoes.
So, we simply need to be cautious where we stay, and keep our suitcase as far away from the bed as possible. I normally keep them on a chair in the far corner or the room, or on the desk. Any dirty clothes and stuff, I place in a plastic bag before it gets back into the suitcase. Back home, my stuff gets washed, the suitcase get sprayed and stay on the balcony for a few days. We never store our suitcase under the beds.
I have been staying in Leyton for quite a few year now, and I was initially covering the pest control East London area before taking on a more supervisory role. Inoculand Pest Control has been doing bed bug treatment all over London, in every single post code, in large mansions and in modest bedsits. There is no stigma to be have about bed bugs, the key is to recognise the early signs of bed bugs and to act quickly before it spreads further.