Tuesday, May 19, 2009

How To Prevent Bed Bugs In Luggage

In early spring I received a letter from the Wellfleet health department, warning local innkeepers to remain vigilant as high season approaches. Bed bugs are making a spectacular comeback. An epidemic has hit New York, in fact. Not only are bed bugs in hotel rooms. They can scurry through walls and enter apartments through cracks. There’s an article in the July 2009 Atlantic Monthly, describing how beagles have been trained to sniff them out. The service costs $350/hour. Apparently these specially trained dogs are good at what they do. Boston also has a bedbug-sniffing brigade. I have heard that Disneyland hotel managers struggle to keep rooms bed-bug-free. No one talks about these things, of course. Bed bugs remind us too much of squalor. Actually, a change in pesticide use is responsible for the comeback. I believe the general public needs to be informed about this plague. So future guests, hear this: the bedbug invasion has begun. If you happen to be bitten while at a hotel, by all means inform management. Adopt new traveling habits. Keep luggage closed, especially while out of a hotel room. Do not leave open suitcases on the floor. If you hang belongings in a hotel closet, shake them out and repack with great care. Vigilance is the best defense. Not only may you be used as involuntary transport to your next holiday destination. Bedbugs may decide to wait until you get home to disembark!