It's a fact of science: bed bugs have evolved alongside humans, for thousands of years to become the ultimate bane of travellers.

They can live anywhere. According to the international entomology group Bugs Without Borders, they can be found in public transport and even movie theatres. But of course hotels, motels and anywhere people are likely to doze-off are the bedbug's hunting ground of choice.

Bed bugs are undiscerning travellers – don't think that just because you're staying in a five-star hotel entitles you to a different class of bug.

No, there are just two species of this travelling critter, and the common bedbug (C. lectularius) has adapted specifically to live in human environments. It seeks out a habitat that is roughly at human body temperature. Now there's a comforting thought!

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They can also live for months without a blood meal; biding their time, waiting until even the next holiday season, there they are until the next unsuspecting guest checks in.

Are you feeling itchy yet?

As you'd expect from animals who live in hotels – bed bugs are excellent travellers.

If you're unlucky enough to suffer from an infestation in your hotel room, there's a large danger of bringing a bug away with you.

Here's our top tips for bug-proofing your holiday and making sure you don't take an unwanted stowaway home:

A thorough hotel Check-in

Before you unpack – better yet, before you bring your luggage up – inspect the bed.
A glance over the sheets will tell you nothing. Use a torch if you have one, or the light on a smart phone.
As the name would suggest, bed bugs have adapted to live in mattresses and come out at night to prey on unwitting travellers.
Check under the mattress, in the crevices of the bed frame and around the headboard.

Laundry service

You've been bitten? If you've had the unpleasant experience of becoming an unwitting midnight snack, you ordeal isn't over. Chances are the bugs and their offspring have spread to your belongings.
Fortunately the bed bug's worst nightmare is the washing machine. A hot wash kills both the bugs and their eggs.
Dry-cleaning is also an option. The main chemical used – perchloroethylene – is known to kill the critters too.

Find a hard surface

Back from your hols? Don't open your bags straight away! Find a non-carpeted surface into which creepy crawlies can't escape, and which can be wiped clean.

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The bugs seek a habitat that is roughly at human body temperature. Photo / Getty Images
The bugs seek a habitat that is roughly at human body temperature. Photo / Getty Images

Bag it up

Seal your clothes and belongings in plastic bin-liners and seal them tight until they're ready to be washed. From there it's straight to the laundry machine and set it to the highest temperature.

What about non-washables and delicates?

Cool it! No everything can go in the hot wash, but there's another household solution to an infestation.

Drop off your items in the deep freeze. Use zip-lock bags to for your books and items you want to keep dry. Make sure the temperature is set to at least -5 Celsius and you leave the items in there for an adequate amount of time. Five days should do it.

Don't think that because you're in a five-star hotel you'll get a different class of bug. Photo / Getty Images
Don't think that because you're in a five-star hotel you'll get a different class of bug. Photo / Getty Images

Vacuum the blood-suckers

Once you've blasted the bugs, it's a good idea to take your items back outside and give them a hoover. To make sure any trace of the animals have gone make sure you have a vacuum cleaner that uses bags. When disposing of it, be sure to wrap this in another plastic bag. This should be done immediately after cleaning.

Final once-over

It's not just your clothes and soft fabric items that can be harbouring stowaways. Bed bugs can hitch a ride on travel appliances, luggage even kids' toys.
Apparently zippers are a common place for the animals to hide which often gets overlooked. Check those zips, before you fly.