Bed Bug-Free Holiday Hosting (Part 2)

Holidays are a time for welcoming family and friends. But what if your loved ones accidentally bring along unwanted guests—bed bugs? These insects are excellent hitchhikers, hiding easily in luggage and sometimes on clothes. Bed bugs can be found in the finest hotels and accommodations such as dormitories, senior living facilities, and nursing homes, both in the United States and overseas. 

Whether you are hosting a dinner party or overnight guests, below are a few tips to prepare your home for welcoming visitors and deter unwanted ones.

Make It Easy to Monitor for Bed Bugs

  • Clean your space and reduce clutter to minimize hiding places and make it easier to inspect for bed bugs.
  • Use a bed bug detector on furniture such as couches and beds to monitor for bed bugs. Learn how to use a bed bug detector from this video.
  • Use mattress encasements designed to prevent bed bugs from establishing on the mattress.

Bed Bug Prevention Tips for Hosting Guests

  • For short visits, hang your guests' coats and scarves away from sleeping areas, such as on a coat rack. If you hang coats in a hall closet, remove all clothing prior to your guests' arrival and use it only for guests.
  • Ask guests to remove shoes upon entering your home and leave them by the door.
  • If your overnight guests have or have had bed bugs, offer to launder all their clothing when they arrive. Wash and dry all clothing at a high temperature.
  • Place luggage and bags in a large plastic tub that can be sealed.

After Your Guests Depart

  • Thoroughly inspect for bed bugs immediately after your guests leave. It is much easier to manage a bed bug infestation when the population is small.
  • Vacuum all areas where you suspect bed bugs may be, including the seams of mattresses and box springs, couches, along perimeters of carpets, and other cracks and crevices.
  • It is not necessary or recommended to spray pesticides or use foggers or “bug bombs”. Inspection and vacuuming are usually enough and will be safer than using pesticides.
  • Wash and dry all bedding at a high temperature.

These tips can reduce your risk of bed bug infestations when hosting visitors over the holidays. Traveling this holiday season? Check out these travel tips to keep you and your home bed bug-free.

For more information on identification and management, see our Pest Notes: Bed Bugs and read our Bed Bugs Quick Tip.