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Avoiding bed bugs & what to do if you get them in Thailand

2 min read

Once generally only found in cheap, dingy hostels, hotels, and motels, bedbugs now, unfortunately, can be a common occurrence. These pesky little pests have a pretty bad reputation, and for good reason. But there are ways of avoiding bed bugs in Thailand; just follow this handy guide.

How to avoid bed bugs

Of course, there’s no absolute guarantee to avoid bed bugs 100%, but there are ways of minimising your chances of getting them. When travelling in Thailand, it’s a good idea to read through the reviews of the accommodation you want to stay at. Do any of them mention bed bugs? If so, how long ago was this and has the accommodation owner stated that the problem has now been dealt with? Try going somewhere slightly more expensive; the cheaper places will use cheaper methods of getting rid of the bugs, which aren’t always effective.

Once you’re at your accommodation, don’t put your backpack or any other luggage on the bed you’ll be sleeping in; this will prevent the bugs getting into your bags and clothes. Also, keep an eye out for red or black spots on your bed sheets, as these indicate blood and faeces. If you do find any evidence of bed bugs, ask to change beds immediately, and make sure someone in charge knows about the problem.

Do I have bed bugs?

Bed bugs can be hard to spot due to their size; even the adult bugs are tiny. Another obstacle to recognising them is that the bite marks don’t necessarily show up straight away. In fact, for some people, they don’t appear until a few days after being bitten, and reactions will differ from person to person. However, there are some ways to spot if you have actually been bitten by bed bugs:

  • before the bites appear, you may get a painful burning sensation
  • the bites will be incredibly itchy
  • the bites will appear in either straight or zigzag lines
  • you have raised areas which become red, inflamed or swollen
  • As the bugs bite at night, they are more likely to bite areas of exposed skin, such as the neck, face, arms, legs, hands, and feet

How to remove bed bugs

If you do happen to get bed bugs, there are a few things you can do to get rid of them. Firstly, wash all of your clothes, towels, backpack and any other materials in boiling water. The temperature is very important, as a standard wash won’t kill them. If you can get hold of a bug killer, you can also put your belongings into plastic bags and then fill them with the bug killer. Getting rid of bed bugs can be difficult, so it’s better to get rid of anything you think you won’t be able to wash rather than carry it with you.

It’s vital to get rid of the bugs before you head to your next accommodation to prevent an infestation there too; it won’t make you very popular!

An important thing to remember about bed bugs is that, although they are a public health concern and the bites are incredibly annoying, they are not known to transmit disease, so this is one thing to be thankful for.

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