Avoid bringing bed bugs home from your summer vacation

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bugsHOUSTON, TX – Itching for that summer vacation? Well, pay attention or you might be itching all year long.

Bed bugs are on the rise again. In the past year, 75% of pest control folks say they’ve run into infestations of them in hotels and motels.

“These guys are hitchhikers and they’re tiny, and they’re hard to see when they’re young,” says

Abel Garcia, a Houston bed bug expert with ABC Home & Commercial Services, “and that’s how they’re brought in. It can also be brought in by guests.”

One Houston man (who wished not to be identified) experienced that problem when he opened his home to a friend, “I guess in his suitcase of clothes, he had the bed bugs in there. I’d be sitting there in my chair, watching TV, and I looked in the chair and there they were– a bunch of bed bugs just crawling around. I sprayed some Raid– that didn’t help. I threw the chair away — that didn’t help…. I didn’t invite anyone over ’cause I didn’t want anyone to take this to their homes.”

But Garcia insists the man should not be embarrassed at all, “There are no demographics to this bug. They are everywhere. It doesn’t matter if you only make a dollar a year or untold amounts, they’re out there and you have to be aware.”

So when you take a trip, check for them in the airplane seat, the shuttle bus… anywhere you sit. And when you get to the hotel, Garcia says, “The first thing to do, before you bring anything in, leave it at the door and go and check the mattresses. You want to pull back the sheet, look on the seams of the mattress. That’s where they like to hide.” He adds, “If they are there, request another room immediately.”

Once you get into a seemingly safe room, he suggests keeping luggage off the bed and up off the floor… even your shoes.

And when you come home from your trip, don’t be too quick to put those clothes away. “Take them straight to your dryer, the ones able to go in the dryer,” Garcia says, “and just dry them for 20 to 25 minutes.” That heat should kill any unwelcome hitchhikers you might have picked up.

And if you still wind up with bed bugs in your homes, it’s not the end of the world. Garcia says his company has a secret weapon– Frisbee, the bed bug sniffing dog. Garcia says Frisbee can detect down to a single living bed bug egg. He has been trained to sniff out the pheromone that the bugs produce and has proven to be about 98% effective.

If he finds you have bed bugs, no need to throw all your furniture away. Garcia says they can treat your home with high heat that will the critters dead without a lot of harsh chemicals. And Frisbee will even come back to make sure they’re gone.

Sounds like when it comes to bed bugs in Houston, Frisbee is definitely man’s best friend!