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Jason

How to Avoid Bed Bugs on Cruise Ships

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Everyone is aware of and even weary of beg bugs in places like motels, hostels and, yes, luxury hotels. However, what many do not know is that beg bugs also feed on those who choose to travel on cruise ships. While infestations aboard cruise ships are rare, they do sometimes occur. In fact, studies show that beg bugs have become increasingly immune to the chemicals that typically kill them, according to The Wall Street Journal. Moreover, Europe, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States, all first-world countries, have had an increase in bed bugs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy a fabulous cruise, you just need to understand a little about bed bugs before setting sail.

Examining Bed Bugs

Bed bugs range from 1 mm to 7 mm, are wingless and reddish-brown in color. They feed solely on animals and people as they sleep, and are flat, small parasitic insects that cannot be easily spotted. Although some people have allergic reactions to these insects, most people simply experience an uncomfortable itch.

The itching experienced when bitten by bed bugs can sometimes be so much that some people may experience a secondary skin infection. However, aside from an annoyance, these insects pose no known public or medical health hazard. In other words, they do not spread disease. Physical signs of the bite marks may be present on some people but not all. In some cases, aside from the itching, the skin is absent of any mark at all.

Bed Bugs on Board

The lack of cleanliness doesn’t always breed bed bugs. These insects hide in the seams of suitcases and bags and often travelers transport them from one place to another without noticing. This is typically how they board cruise ships.

Checking Your Cabin

Bed bugs love to hide in cracks, crevices, folds and ruffles—essentially areas frequently trafficked by humans. Look in places with a musty odor, the bedside furniture, rust-colored blood spots on mattresses and box springs, as well as the seams of those areas. Additionally, check behind the headboard, the bed covers, linens and pillows. Prior to Unpacking

Store your luggage, camera bags, backpacks and the like in the bathroom or on a luggage rack where there are fewer crevices in which bed bugs hide.

Bugs in the Cabin

Your cabin steward should be the first stop if you find a bed bug problem. Request a new cabin if there is evidence of an infestation, though those requests may be denied if there is a full ship.

Leave Them on the Ship

Check the seams and folds of your luggage before leaving your cabin. If you can, bring sealable bags with you on your trip so that you can seal your belongings before packing them in your luggage.

When You Return Home

Before unpacking, keep your luggage away from furniture and sleeping areas. The best option is to open your luggage in the bathtub, shower, balcony or hallway to make sure that any bugs that hitch a ride are not allowed in. Lastly, leave all clothing in the dryer for at least 15 minutes to ward off any bugs that may have traveled with you.


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Thanks for the information, Jason. My hubby thinks I'm crazy, but when we are in a hotel, or on a ship, I always say we have to lift the mattress enough to see what's under...and then check the sheets and pillows. LOL We also do keep our suitcases off the floor, and we don't put them under the bed.

There's also a place online that you can check on hotels for bedbugs, but who's to say if it's the truth or not, anyone could write in and say they had them... or not.

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