How to: Bar the Door to Bedbugs

A Philadelphian’s guide to warding off an invasion

1. As soon as you check into a hotel room, check the headboard (including the back of it, if possible), mattress, box spring and areas near the bed for brownish stains left by, yes, bedbug waste.
2. Don’t put your suitcase on a hotel bed, or your clothes in a hotel dresser drawer. “Bugs can be in the drawers,” warns Michael Russell of Action Termite and Pest Control. “If you get eggs, or a live female, on your clothes they can come back with you.”
3. Store your luggage in the hotel bathroom, where bugs tend not to spend time.
4. You’ve seen people travel with their luggage swathed in Saran Wrap? That’s because bedbugs have a hard time climbing up plastic; it’s too slippery. “We tell people to bring large plastic bags with them, put their suitcase inside the bag and clothes in a second bag, and keep them in the bathroom,” says Russell.
5. Wash and dry clothing immediately when you get home from a trip. “Put all your clothes, even the ones you haven’t worn, in a hot dryer for 20 minutes,” adds Russell. “That kills the bugs at every stage.”
6. Check your packages. If you’ve ordered clothing or other items on the Internet, give the package a quick bug check. Ditto for new mattresses, since old mattresses that may have had bug problems can be transported in the same truck.