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Avoiding Bedbugs When You're On Vacation

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Before you hit the road for your summer vacation make sure to take steps that you don't bring back any unexpected souvenirs in the form of bed bugs.

As WBBM Newsradio 780's Nancy Harty reports, Chicago was recently ranked as the fourth most bedbug-infested U.S. city, behind New York, Cincinnati and Detroit, in a study by the pest control company Terminix.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780's Nancy Harty reports


But even more important is the ranking of your summer vacation destination.

Purdue University entomologist Timothy Gibb says bedbugs have been around since the time of the pilgrims, and are not going away.

"I would not believe it's on its way out," he said. "In fact, I'm not even sure we have peaked with bedbug infestations yet."

Gibb appeared on the CBS 2 Morning News Wednesday with some advice for preventing bedbug infestations if you're traveling.

"When you check into a hotel, look for bedbug signs, and if you find bedbugs, do something about it," he said. "Certainly in a hotel situation, you could ask to be relocated. In a home or an apartment, you can use a product called Hot Shot that will actually take them out if applied directly to them."

Anyone will know bedbugs are present by their bites, but they can be found visually too, Gibb said.

"Sometimes they will leave little black spots when they harbor, where they live, and that's also a good sign, as are cast skins – if they grow, they leave skins behind," Gibb said.

If you do discover bedbugs on your vacation, how do you avoid not bringing them home?

"Inspection – actually understanding where the bedbugs are," Gibb said. "If you put luggage, or suitcases, or clothing on a bed, and then bring it back to your bed, that's how bedbugs are transported from one area to the other."

Taking off bedspreads in hotels is also a good idea, given that they are the least laundered bedding items in hotels.

Also, it's important to remember that bedbugs don't only lurk in beds, but anywhere people sleep. Couches, chairs, futons and other furniture could also be affected.

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