The 2010 FIFA World Cup is here, and we’ve welcomed the first teams from abroad. With the surge in tourism, our country will soon be transformed into a hub of activity and excitement.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but with all the travelling taking place within our national boundaries over the period of the World Cup, I need to draw people’s attention to the increase in bed bug activity that we have seen since March 2009 (bed bugs have also been mentioned here on deBugged for some time). The increase has been reported at more than 300%, thereby confirming that bed bugs are a genuine concern for hotel, guesthouse and other accommodation owners.
If you are planning on travelling within South Africa or abroad, make sure that you are aware of the tell-tale signs of bed bug activity, as this will help you steer clear of the little critters, and guarantee a bed bug free stay.
- On arrival place your suitcase on a metal suitcase rack or in the bathroom until you have checked for bed bugs.
- Know what you’re looking for: small brown blood spots on the bed linen.
- When conducting your inspection use a flashlight, as these critters a very good at hide and seek. Pay close attention to the seams of mattresses, headboards, sheets and box springs.
- If you do find evidence of bed bugs, do not unpack, and immediately request another room on a different floor since bed bugs can travel from room to room, up, down, and side to side via pipes and crevices.
- Also, make sure that if you do find bed bugs in your room you collect actual evidence to ensure that your complaint gets the needed attention. For instance, take a photo of the bed bug, because they are very fast and I doubt that they will be in the same place as you left them when you return with the manager.
When you return home from your travels be sure to vacuum your suitcases and wash all clothing – whether it was worn or not – in hot water. It is better to be safe than sorry. I would also advise regular travellers to invest in buying a large plastic bag that they can use to cover their suitcases during their stay in the hotel or guest house.
Don’t let bed bugs ruin your travels, arm yourself with knowledge (and a flashlight) and you should have a safe journey.