3 tips to avoid pests as souvenirs


April 13, 2023

Photo: mihailomilovanovic/E+/Getty Images

Communicate to customers ways to avoid picking up “hitchhikers” on vacation. Photo: mihailomilovanovic/E+/Getty Images

From long family road trips and spring break getaways to short weekend escapes, your clients run the risk of returning home with more than just priceless memories when they travel.

Difficult-to-manage pests such as bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) and German cockroaches (Blattella germanica) could be lurking in hotel rooms, on trains, and even at airports waiting to join unknowing travelers on their journeys home. Many pests are effective hitchhikers that can easily find their way into luggage, backpacks, purses and clothing. Ahead of your next service visit, ask your client to pencil in some time to cover a few important dos and don’ts when traveling. For example, recommend they:

  • Dr. Michael Bentley, BCE

    Dr. Michael Bentley, BCE

    Inspect bedding and furniture in every hotel or vacation rental for any signs of pest activity. If they find anything suspicious, they need to inform property management immediately.

  • Do not place luggage on beds or furniture until the unit has been inspected. Recommend they store luggage in a bathroom or outside of the unit until their inspection is complete.
  • Once home, store luggage in the garage or similar protected place outside of the home until the items can be inspected carefully. You can even go the extra mile to coordinate your regularly scheduled service to coincide with your client’s return home to assist with inspecting their luggage and other items if needed.

Preparing your clients for a pest-free vacation not only gives them some peace of mind on the road, but it also can save you from future callbacks due to accidental pest introductions when they return home.

About the Author

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Dr. Bentley is director of training and education for the National Pest Management Association. You can reach him at mbentley@pestworld.org.

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