Should I Be Worried About Bed Bugs?

Posted by Erika Lang on

Bed bugs have been in the news recently. Unfortunately. As Paris Fashion Week 2023 kicked off this fall, rumors began to spread that the bed bug infestation was at an all time high in France. The bed bugs were on the metro, in hotels, anywhere you could imagine, but is the infestation really that bad? Is this a situation that we in the US should be worried about? We’ll explore that further and give you tips and tricks on how to not only detect bed bugs, but how you yourself can protect yourself from bed bugs when you're traveling the globe.

We'll start with that first question. Should I be worried about bed bugs? While the media has been sensationalizing the headlines, French Health Minister Aurélien Rousseau has given the public assurances to stay calm, saying there was “no reason for general panic”. He also followed up to say “France has not been invaded by bedbugs,” in an October 3 interview with French outlet France Inter.

There is good news and bad news when it comes to bed bugs in 2023. The good news is that there is not an overwhelming surge of bed bugs looking to turn your mattress into its next home. The bad news, however, is that there might be more bed bugs around your city than you realize.

New York City for example saw themselves leave the top 10 cities Orkin deemed bed bug ridden in 2022. However, NYC has also seen an uptick in bed bugs since 2019. They now rank number 2 in the nation for bed bugs according to Orkin. However, if you look at the trend of bed bugs over the last decade, you see we are still a ways away from the heights reached in 2015. 

Bed Bug Data NYC
Meanwhile, some airlines are taking a proactive stance. In a statement provided to CNN Travel, an Air France spokesperson said there have been no incidents involving bedbugs on flights in recent years, and the airline follows strict protocols and recommendations from the World Health Organization in terms of insect eradication. In addition to its normal cleaning procedures, the carrier also has introduced a specific procedure “to deal with reports of suspected bed bugs presence,” which includes grounding the aircraft and performing a chemical treatment by an “accredited service provider.”
So, yes, there are bed bugs in Paris. However, there are also bed bugs in Chicago, London, and Toronto. Bed bugs are around us, we just have to be diligent and take the steps needed to stay safe from them. Be cautious of picking up furniture from the curb and if you are picking anything up, be sure to check it for bed bugs and give it a good cleaning. If you are equipped with the knowledge of what to look for and also how to react, you can ensure a bed bug problem doesn't become anything larger.
Traveling? The American Academy of Dermatology lays out steps you can take to protect yourself from bed bugs when traveling and sleeping in hotels or Airbnb. Avoid putting your suitcase on the floor or the bed until you have deemed the room safe from bed bugs. Bed bugs can crawl from the floor or bed into your suitcase or onto your clothes without you realizing. Instead, keep your suitcase on the luggage rack where no bugs can get to it. 

Woman checking into hotel room

When you enter the room you’ll be sleeping in; stop. Stop and take in a deep breath. Does anything smell off? Bed bugs give off a particular smell that is described as musty or sweet. Can you smell anything like that? If not, move to the next step. 

Now it’s time to check the bed. Take your time to carefully check the blankets, sheets, pillows, and mattress pad. Then, check the mattress and box spring. You are going to be looking out for the following: 

  • Black or Brownish specks - Waste from Bed Bugs
  • Specks of blood anywhere
  • Shell-like remains. Bed bugs have an outer shell they will leave behind after shedding.

Take extra time to check around the seams of your mattress, look for the places something as small as a bed bug could hide. One tip, grab a credit card and use that to aid you as you check thoroughly in the small cracks and crevices. 

Take this note from the Environmental Protection Agency:

“Since bed bugs are only about the width of a credit card, they can squeeze into really small hiding spots. If a crack will hold a credit card, it could hide a bed bug.” 

Bed bugs arounds zipper.

So take stock of your whole bed set up, closely examine all the nooks and crannies searching for evidence of bed bugs. Remember they are visible to the naked eye, they tend to be as big as an apple seed. It is also worth checking any furniture in the room that has a soft surface a bed bug would enjoy. Once you've done a thorough search of your room and any upholstery fabric, you can relax. 

If you find any evidence of bed bugs, tell your accommodations immediately and request a different room that is not close to the infested one. However, say you do end up staying somewhere with bedbugs and you do not realize until you get home. What happens then?

Not to worry, you can still protect your home.

When you get back home do not bring your luggage inside, Chow-Yang Lee said, a professor of urban entomology at the University of California Riverside. "Take out your clothes and put them in the dryer for at least 30 minutes (or wash them and then dry them). Then, use a garment steamer to heat-treat your luggage outside. That should kill any eggs."

If you're looking to protect your mattress fully from bed bugs, you can check out the Bear Mattress Encasement. Of all the Mattress Protection we offer, the encasement offers the fullest, most complete protection from bed bugs. The Bear Encasement is designed with the most advanced engineering to create a safeguard against bed bugs, dust mites, mold, allergens and liquids.



Bear Encasement


That's all you need to know! So now when you are flying out to your next holiday destination, you are equipped with the knowledge to be on the lookout for bed bugs and if you have the unfortunate luck to run into them, you know how to deal with them. Do not panic at sensationalized media headlines regarding bed bugs, just stay vigilant and pay attention to your surroundings. 

bear mattress bed bugs

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