Saving up money for months, taking time off of work in advance, or buying a new suitcase are no longer the biggest stresses of people planning a summer vacation this year. The possibility of bringing home the nasty miniature vampires we call bed bugs is a far bigger worry among travelers lately, as news about the persistence and ever-growing resilience of the hard-to-eradicate pests continue to make the headlines.
But while it’s well-known by now that hotels and motels are some of the little critters’ favorite hangouts, and most people are equipped to limit critter trouble during their stay, rarely do they think about the presence of bed bugs in the cars they rent. Just last week, a Long Island man set his rental car ablaze while attempting to eradicate bed bugs inside the vehicle.
Newsday reports that the 44-year-old man doused the entire car with rubbing alcohol, then climbed inside and lit a cigarette. The car immediately burst into flames, damaging two nearby cars in the blaze, leaving the driver with second- and third-degree burns.
Unfortunately, the blood-sucking creatures are a feature in many rentals, patiently awaiting their unsuspecting victims to give them a ride to their new home. Because it’s an economical and comfortable way to travel long distances, many tourists choose to pick up a rental car or an RV to make the best of their vacation. In 2010, the car rental market was estimated at approximately $20 billion in the U.S., with 1,690,561 cars in service operating across 17,254 rental locations.
In most cases, people who rent cars or RVs do not know they have an infestation until someone informs them. A bed bug bite often resembles a mosquito bite, and people either don’t notice they’re bit during their vacation or realize they’ve been bit days or even weeks after the actual bite took place. Most may not even be bitten at all during their vacation, and it is once they arrive home – and bring the tiny critters along – that they notice the first signs of infestation.
It’s well known that bed bugs are notoriously difficult to eradicate from housing structures, but you are in for just as much trouble once they decide to turn a vehicle into their comfy hotel room. The reasons for this are numerous, including:
According to the Bedbug.com’s Knowledge Center page, there are several safety measures you can consider to prevent bringing bed bugs from the rental car into your home. The most important are:
If you’ve done all of the above and you still notice signs of infestation a while after you’ve returned from your trip, it’s crucial to contact an experienced pest control professional in your area. Although getting completely rid of bed bugs may seem time-consuming and challenging, experts will be able to safely apply the most effective treatments while keeping you, your family, and your property out of danger.
About the Author
Daniel Mackie, co-owner of Greenleaf Pest Control, is a Toronto pest control expert well-known as an industry go-to guy, an innovator of safe, effective pest control solutions, and is a regular guest on HGTV. Mackie, along with business partner Sandy Costa, were the first pest control professionals in Canada to use detection dogs and thermal remediation for the successful eradication of bed bugs. In his free time, he is an avid garde