Bed bugs can thrive anywhere where humans are. Summer camps – particularly sleep-away camps – provide a perfect environment for this pest. There are usually lots of hidings spots for bed bugs inside cabins and belongings, and lots of campers to feed on. Bed bugs can be brought into camp in the bags of campers, and carried into new homes at the end of the camp. Here are the NPMA’s (National Pest Management Association) tips to prevent bringing bed bugs home from camp:
- Ask the camp administrators if they have had a bed bug problem.
- Instruct your child to look over their bed and their roommates’ beds when they get to camp. They should pull back the sheets and inspect the mattress seams, particularly at the corners, for telltale stains or spots.
- They should also thoroughly inspect the entire room before unpacking, including behind the headboard and in sofas/chairs. If any pests are spotted, they should inform their camp counselor immediately.
- For the duration of their camp stay, they should place their suitcase and bags in a plastic trash bag to ensure that bed bugs cannot take up residence there prior to departure.
- When the children come home, you should inspect their suitcases before bringing them into the house. Vacuum the suitcase thoroughly before storing away.
- Make sure you wash all of the clothes – even those which have not been worn – in hot water to ensure that any bed bugs that may have made it that far are not placed into your drawers/closet. Also make sure you dry the clothes on high as bed bugs cannot withstand temperatures above 122 degrees Fahrenheit.
- If a bed bug infestation is found, work with a professional pest control company to treat the infestation and perform follow-up inspections.