Don't let bed bugs bite this holiday season

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Once you get past the weather, one of the biggest travel problems you could run into could be waiting at your destination, bed bugs.

Bed bugs can be found in places beyond just a bed- you can find them in buses, planes, luggage and even clothing. These bugs have been found in five-star hotels, and their presence is not always determined on the cleanliness of the conditions where they are found.

They look like an apple seed, flat and brown, and they feed on human blood.

They're most commonly found in places people sleep and among people who travel, but everyone is at risk to let the bed bugs bite.

"They're hitch hikers, that's how they get from place to place. So they're going to hitchhike on you if you're in a car, you're on a bus, plane, train, however you're traveling, that's where they can typically be," says Mike Coffey of Lane's Professional Pest Elimination.

When you head into a hotel, experts recommend doing a quick check around the room.

"Around the tufts of the mattress, behind the headboards, nightstand, sometime in the chairs, that's where you're going to typically see the bed bugs," says Coffey, "Blood spots on the sheets are going to be your first clue that you may have an issue in there."

Bed bugs may be harmless, but they're called a "pest," for a reason. They're fast, hard to kill and can live for a whole year without feeding.

To avoid taking these bugs home from trips with you, the first thing professionals say to do when you arrive at a hotel is put your bags in the tub.

"Bed bugs cannot climb into hard surfaces like that so nothing can get into your luggage and of course tubs are usually white so you can see them," says Coffey.

You can try to kill them with heat. Experts suggest taking your luggage, emptying it into the dryer and running it at a hot temperature for a minimal of thirty minutes.

If you see the bugs, you should contact pest control immediately. Experts say do it yourself remedies are not enough to kill.

The Centers for Disease Control say bed bugs have not been known to spread disease, but they do bite. Bite marks can take up to 14 days to develop. An allergic reaction to bites may lead to medical attention.

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