Whether for business or pleasure, Americans love to travel. Traveling can introduce you to new experiences, new cultures, new people, etc. If you aren’t careful, it can also introduce you to new pests.

The No. 1 villain of the American travel scene for more than a decade has been the bedbug. This small brownish insect feeds on human blood, usually while you sleep. Fortunately, bedbugs are not known to carry any disease, but their bites can leave itchy marks on some people.

Not only can bed bugs be painful, they are also an expensive pest. Over-the-counter pesticides don’t really work on this hearty bug. They can survive up to a year without feeding. They are good at hiding. Professional exterminators. though, know how to treat the situation. Still, prevention remains the best defense against bedbugs.

  1. Know the signs Bedbugs often enter your home by hitching a ride on your clothes or luggage, and no hotel is immune. When checking in, set your luggage in the tub while you inspect the room. Pull the linens off the bed, and check the corners in particular. You’re looking for dark brown spots of blood, or the critters themselves. Check the seams closely with a credit card and a flashlight, or the light of your cell phone.

    If you find evidence of infestation, call the front desk and request another room—or find another hotel!

  2. Protect your home If you believe you’ve come in contact with someone or some furniture exposed to bedbugs, there are ways to prevent any unwanted pests from coming home with you. When you arrive home, go straight to the garage or other room with no soft furniture. Place all your packed clothes, and the outfit you’re wearing, in a plastic bag. Leave the luggage, and take the clothes straight to the washer and dryer. Use the hottest settings you can without ruining your clothes. Vacuum the luggage too and dispose of the bag immediately.

  3. Call for help fast If prevention fails and you find evidence of bedbugs in your home, be safe and call the pros. You may be tempted to try solutions found online or at a hardware store, but only highly trained professionals using specific equipment can effectively rid your house of bedbugs.

The longer and infestation goes on, the harder it becomes to treat. If you want to sleep tight, and not let the bedbugs bite, rely on the professionals from your local pest care company.