The summer travel season has kicked off.

With that comes stays in hotels, motels, vacation homes, any place that isn’t your own, which means there’s a potential of exposure to – brace yourself — bedbugs.

These pesky, little things can cause big headaches and lots of trouble if you encounter them. Best to be informed and on the lookout when you arrive at your destination, rather than experience a case of red, itchy skin.

Now that we have your skin crawling, here’s the 411 on bedbugs.

Scientifically known as cimex lectularius, these bugs are said to have originated in Europe, the Middle East or India, and moved across the world as humans did, according to Center for Invasive Species Research.   

They are little, brown, oval-shaped bugs that have six legs and antennas. They move quickly and reproduce a lot. Their lifespan is only 6-12 months, but during that timeframe females produce 200-500 eggs.

Bedbugs feed off human and animal blood. They usually bite at night when people are sleeping. Most people often are not aware when they are being bitten.

How to spot bedbugs when you’re traveling

Check all those little crevasses and hidden spots. Think seams of bedsheets, chair cushions, folds of mattresses, piping along curtains or headboards – any dark, cozy, tight areas.

Also be aware of a musty, slightly sweet odor, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Also look for reddish stains from bedbugs being smashed.

Lucky for all the summer travelers, bed bugs thrive in warmer months. They cannot fly and rely on people or things, like clothing or suitcases, to get from place to place.

How to tell if you’ve been bitten by bedbugs

Bedbug bites usually appear on areas of the skin that are exposed while sleeping, like the face, neck or hands. The bites are typically small, itchy red bumps.

If you have been bitten, you can expect the irritation and symptoms to last about a week, according to Over-the-counter medicines, such as antihistamines or itch creams can help provide relief.

It’s believed bedbugs do not transmit illnesses and diseases, however, you should not scratch the bites because it could lead to infection.

What to do if you have a bedbug infestation

High heat of 120 degrees Fahrenheit will kill bedbugs. It’s recommended to wash all clothes and bedding in hot water for 30 minutes and then dry the items on high heat for another 30 minutes.

Any mattresses, couches or other areas where bedbugs may have been hiding should be steam cleaned.

Worst bedbug cities in the nation, according to Orkin

  • No. 1 Chicago
  • No. 2 New York
  • No. 3 Philadelphia
  • No. 4 Cleveland-Akron, OH
  • No. 5 Los Angeles
  • No. 6 Detroit
  • No 7. Washington, D.C.
  • No. 8 Indianapolis
  • No. 9 Charlotte
  • No. 10 Champaign, IL
  • No. 11 Columbus, OH
  • No. 12 Cincinnati
  • No. 13 Atlanta
  • No. 14 Grand Rapids, MI
  • No. 15 Denver
  • No. 16 Baltimore
  • No. 17 Richmond, VA
  • No. 18 Greensboro, N.C.
  • No. 19 St. Louis
  • No. 20 Youngstown

Spitzer is a Trending Reporter. She can be reached at

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