LAS VEGAS - Before you rest your head in an unfamiliar bed this holiday season, you may want to check it for bed bugs. 8 on Your Side offers tips on how to ensure your stay is bug free.
Bed bugs are extremely tiny and almost impossible to find unless you know what to look for.
"Don't look for the bugs. Look for the physical evidence," said Joe Restifo with K-9 Sweeps Bed Bug Removal.
When checking into a hotel, never put your luggage on the bed to unpack. Leave your items at the door until you conduct a thorough inspection. Then, look for evidence of bed bugs.
"What we are looking for is black staining," Restifo said. "It looks like someone took a Sharpie and dotted it."
That's the fecal matter they leave behind. Look for it on the bed skirt. Push back the pillow, pull back the covers and check out the seams of the mattress and box spring for the black stuff.
If you find something black and it moves, it's not bed bugs. Generally, bed bugs remain at the foot or top of the bed. They don't come home with you on your body. They come home on your clothing or in your luggage.
Once they get home with you, they can multiply quickly. Bed bugs lay 30 to 35 eggs a week. In 11 weeks, a single bed bug can spawn a family of 3,500 - enough to harm a baby in a crib. In 15 weeks, it turns into 25,000 bugs - enough to harm adults.
"If you know what to look for, and you find it at the earliest stage, it doesn't have to be this way," Restifo said.
The difficult part for many may be reporting a bed bug problem to a hotel, or worse, a family member. The best bet is to remain calm and ask for another room.