How to talk about bedbugs with a well-traveled house guest
Q: When well-traveled house guests visit, should you air your concerns about bedbugs? Is it OK to ask someone to leave his luggage outside his room?
Traveling in the developing world does not mean you’re more likely to be afflicted by bedbugs. Ask your friend if he came across bedbugs on his trip. If he says no, you have nothing to worry about.
Asking a house guest to leave his luggage outside is incredibly rude.
In the very unlikely event that your house guest does have bedbugs, they can be eradicated by washing every item in hot water, drying it in a hot tumble dryer and professionally cleaning the luggage.
If you’re still concerned about what a world traveler could bring into your house, it would probably be best not to invite your friend to stay at all. Tell him it’s just not possible for you to host right now, suggest a moderately priced hotel instead, and take him out to dinner during his visit.
— Kate McCulley, travel blogger at Adventurous Kate
Sometimes, you just need to come out and ask, “Do you know if you stayed anywhere recently that have experienced bedbugs?”
This is not accusing your guest of having pests or bringing them in.
However, if the answer is yes, then some actions might need to be taken. You could provide a place to store this person’s luggage during the stay. The goal is to keep the luggage and items out of the closet and the dressers.
If the guest insists, there are things that you can do, like offering to wash his clothing and items before he unpacks. And after he leaves, there are monitoring devices that can be used or inspections that can be conducted for early detection to address the situation before it gets out of control.
— Darren Van Steenwyk, technical director for Clark Pest Control
Social Graces is a series asking two experts for advice on awkward situations. Responses are edited for clarity and space.
Andreea Ciulac is a freelancer.
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