When you’re on a busy business trip making deals all day and entertaining clients all night, you likely can’t wait to get back to your hotel room to curl up in bed -- unless of course that bed is infested with thousands of hungry, blood-sucking bed bugs.
The odds of such an infestation have increased. According to a recent poll by the National Pest Management Association and the University of Kentucky, 95 percent of pest control companies reported a bed bug infestation within the last year. Before 2000, only 25 percent of respondents had encountered bed bugs.
Business travelers are increasingly worried about the problem, especially in major urban areas. Pest control company Terminix ranks Philadelphia as the city with the worst outbreak in the country in 2012, with Cincinnati coming in second and New York City -- the most-infested city the previous two years -- coming in third.
You’re not even safe once you return home because bed bugs are notorious hitchhikers. They can burrow into the seams and hidden crevices of your luggage and go without feeding for up to four months, experts say.
To help protect you on your next trip, we’ve compiled the ultimate bed-bug survival kit. With some of these products in tow, those parasites don’t stand a fighting chance.
How it works: This bed-bug detection system was recently featured on ABC’s Shark Tank where founders Maria Curcio and Veronica Perlongo secured $250,000 as part of a joint investment from all five sharks. BuggyBeds consists of glue monitors designed to attract bed bugs into a trap. They have a crushproof design that gives the bugs easy access and provides you with a clear viewing area for easy detection. When traveling, you can place monitors between the hotel mattress and box spring or on the top of the mattress. Before checkout, place BuggyBeds traps in your luggage before closing.
Portable Bed Bug Heat Treatment Device
How it works: This unit from Packtite claims it kills all stages of bed bugs -- eggs, larva and fully grown--by heating your personal items to 120 degrees for one hour. Place your suitcase and other items to be treated on the rack inside. Put the thermometer in the center of the treatment load, close the zipper and plug in the unit. Set the timer for the desired treatment time, which varies depending on type and number of items.
Bed Bug Proof Mattress Encasement by SafeRest
Price: $77.95 twin, $97.95 full, $99.95 queen, $119.95 king
How it works: When you travel, bring this heavy-duty cover with you to put over your potentially infested hotel mattress. SafeRest mattress encasements were specifically designed to protect against invading bed bugs, with micro- zippers, “breathable” bed bug-proof fabric, and a zipper feature to prevent accidental openings.
JT Eaton Bed Bug Contact Killer Spray
How it works: Spray this everywhere you think bed bugs may be lurking -- in the hotel bed, on the carpeting, on the curtains -- to quickly eliminate the tiny pests and their eggs. The spray quickly evaporates, leaving no residue behind.
Bed Bug Sealed Luggage Liners
How it works: These luggage liners from Corporate Travel Safety protect your belongings with micro-zippers that create a three-way seal to lock out bed bugs. An extra-strong weave ensures there’s no weakness in the bag’s reinforced seams. Once you’re at your destination, use the Bed Bug Luggage Liners as drawer liners to keep bed bugs from infesting your clothes.
Bed Bug Travel Pillow and Cover
How it works: Grab this anti-bed bug pillow from SecureSleep and Bedbug.com any time you hit the road. Endorsed by the American Sleep Association, the pillow 19s zipper technology features three-way protection and reinforced seams to keep bugs out. There is also a reinforced interior lining for increased durability.
Sleep Sac Bed Bug Barrier
How it works: This 79-by-33-inch polyester Sleep Sac by Travelon creates a layer of protection between you and hungry bed bugs. Simply lay the sac on top of a hotel bed, slip inside and sleep comfortably--sans nagging nibbles. The sac is machine washable.
Scram Bed Bug Repellent Pouches
How it works: These portable pouches from Greentree Essentials are filled with a blend of all-natural herbs and oils to help repel bed bugs. Place a pouch in your luggage, hotel dresser, closet, mattress and pillows to prevent an infestation while traveling. Each box contains two pet-safe Scram pouches.
Bed Bug Tent
How it works: This over-the-bed tent by Eco-Keeper provides a 360-degree bed-bug protection bubble while you sleep. The creepy crawlers can’t penetrate the fine mesh sides, and the slippery vinyl skirt that wraps around the bottom of the tent prevents bugs from climbing to the top. The entire unit, which is designed for a double bed, straps onto the mattress for secure placement throughout the night.
Bed Bug Resistant Garment Bag Encasement
How it works: If there’s one thing you need to count on during a business trip, it’s your power suit. Protect it from bed bugs with this heavy-duty vinyl garment bag cover by BugZip. The three-sided bed-bug resistant zipper allows easy access to your clothes, while zipping out bed bugs when they are on the move at night. Recommended for one travel stay only for maximum effectiveness.