A safari is one of the most exciting adventures in the world, and people lucky enough to experience one, never forget the sights and sounds. However, with the worldwide bedbug epidemic, it may be best to get some precautionary facts about these microscopic pests before leaving home. This will help to ensure that you do not suffer unnecessarily while traveling and that you do not bring any unwanted guests home to share your own residence. Although even trained professionals sometimes have trouble eradicating these tiny bugs, the hints given below should lessen the odds that they will make your safari a less than memorable experience:
Because bedbugs prefer fabrics and darkness, they often set up shop in carpeting, the seams of curtains, the edges of mattresses, and the hems of sheets and coverlets. While nothing is foolproof, taking the following precautions should help:
• Pack sets of daily clothing and extra shoes in separate plastic bags.
• Place a plastic garbage bag on upholstered train, bus, or plane seats before sitting.
• Keep your purse in your lap when travelling.
• Never set suitcases on hotel floors or beds; use a luggage rack at all times when one is available.
• Check a hotel room carefully before accepting a room, inspecting the common areas for brown or red spots, the most easily seen evidence of
• Change clothes in bathrooms or other areas without carpeting.
• Place a plastic bag on any upholstered chairs before sitting.
• Pack a bottle of calamine lotion and a small tube of an anti-itch cream in case you are bitten.
All of these chores might seem a little onerous, but they should reduce the risk of bedbugs changing your wonderful journey into an itchy, exasperating
Even if these actions work and you avoid being bitten by bedbugs while on the safari, it is best to remain in the defensive mode after you return home. These tips will help keep any bedbugs that have managed to attach themselves to your belongings during the safari from finding a new home at your dwelling:
• Store the suitcases in an outbuilding for a while.
• Take all clothing straight to the freezer or dryer, whichever is more appropriate as prolonged heat or freezing can kill bedbugs and eggs.
• Place tape that is sticky on both sides around the bedposts for a while after you return home.
• Have an exterminator do a professional check a month after your trip to look for signs of a bedbug invasion is probably not a bad idea.
Bedbug bites will usually result in an unsightly patch of red spots on the skin and some itching that might drive you crazy; otherwise, these bites are rarely dangerous. Being proactive both before and after your trip could prevent more extensive measures from having to be taken once the bedbugs set up shop in your house.
This is a guest post from Karen Barnes. Karen writes for www.bedbugs.org, where you can see bedbug rash pictures and get practical
advice on how to deal with these irritating pests.
Uganda Safaris Desk
African Adventure Travellers Ltd