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It Came From Behind the Headboard

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COOL TRAVEL MAIL'S 
TRAVEL TIPS 
Tips & Advice for the Seasoned and Armchair Traveler Alike! 
============================================================
http://www.CoolTravelMail.com 

March 18, 2008 

We use a lot of silly, traditional rhymes with our kids 
without ever thinking about their historical origins, 
which are often very dark and - if you think about it - 
very inappropriate for nightmare-prone youngsters.

Would we really singsong "ring around the rosies, a 
pocketful of posies" if we consciously thought it was 
referring to the great plague that swept across London 
in the 1600s and the flowers used to dull the stink of 
rotting corpses?

And would we really recount the tale of Jack and Jill's 
ill-fated trip up the hill is we realized it was a 
reference to the beheadings of France's King Louis XVI 
and Marie Antoinette?

So what does all this have to do with travel tips?

How about the goodnight rhyme, 'Sleep tight, don't let 
the bedbugs bite'?

This week's topics include:

* BEDBUGS: MORE THAN JUST A NURSERY RHYME

* NIGHT OF THE ICKY, BLOODSUCKING CREEPY CRAWLER

* IT CAME FROM BEHIND THE HEADBOARD

P.S. If you're interested you can now post comments on this 
and recent issues on our forum at... Travel Tips Forum 

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BEDBUGS: MORE THAN JUST A NURSERY RHYME
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Bedbugs, in the minds of most western travelers, are a 
concern that went away about the time that straw mattresses 
disappeared and lodging houses stopped putting multiple 
guests in the same bed.

But these apple seed-sized vampires never really went 
away. 

Although they were virtually eradicated in America and 
most of western Europe for most of the 20th century, the 
bloodthirsty bugs were active all along in less developed 
parts of Europe, Asia and the Middle East. 

And in recent years, they've made a big comeback, 
surprising guests both motel chains and five-star hotels 
in America, Europe and Australia. 

The Orkin Pest Control company says that after 50 years 
more or less without them, it's now treated bed bugs in 
all but three states. And, according to the National 
Pest Management Association, bed bug complaints have 
increased 50-fold over the last five years. They've 
popped up in apartments, mansions or dormitories in 
nearly every corner of the country. 

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============================================================

NIGHT OF THE ICKY, BLOODSUCKING CREEPY CRAWLER
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
So just what are bed bugs, anyway?

Basically, they are skittering, six-legged, brown, flat, 
teardrop-shaped monsters about a 1/4 inch long. They search 
for blood vessels beneath your skin, inject you with 
natural anesthesia so you don't wake up, and drill into 
your circulatory system. 

They drink their fill, which swells them to about 3/8 of 
an inch long - essentially giving them a "blood belly" - 
and turn a dark red color. Then they waddle off into a 
dark crevice to digest their meal for a few days. Or 
weeks. Or months. These insects, engineered for survival, 
can go for as long as a year without food.

The tell-tale signs are very itchy red marks, often in a 
straight line that follows a blood stream. Victims have 
different sensitivity to bed bug saliva. Some may blow up 
with huge, miserable welts, others will show no signs of 
attack at all.

It's tough to spot the wingless critters. They can slip 
into cracks you can't even see, and their eggs are so 
very small and translucent that they're virtually 
invisible against a white sheet.

But there is some good news. Unlike mosquitoes and some 
other plasma-thirsty pests, bed bugs are not known to 
carry or transmit any diseases. 

Still, that's little help in getting a good night's sleep 
when all you can think about is being trapped in some 
bizarre 'Fear Factor' episode where thousands of mite-
sized, biting animals are allowed to use your slumbering 
body as an all-night buffet.

So, here are some tips, many of which I got from MSNBC 
in articles related to the 'Dateline' bed bug segment.

* Before booking a hotel room, read user reviews of the 
particular hotel and location. Frequently, guests who've 
had bug problems report them online. 

Bear in mind that a report about one hotel does not mean 
the issue wasn't isolated to one room, or that hotel 
management hasn't since exterminated. 

A great place to start is the search page at 
TripAdvisor.com. Click on http://www.tripadvisor.com/Search 
and plug in your hotel for user reviews that could give you 
a lead on possible infestation problems. 

To get an idea of how widespread a problem it is, try 
searching for "bed bugs" on the site. When I did that 
this week, I got 250 results in the Website's traveler 
review section and  198 results in the traveler forum. 

Another place to check is HotelChatter.com. 
(http://www.hotelchatter.com). A bed bug search there 
turns up tons of comments and harrowing tales of bed bug 
attacks. 

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IT CAME FROM BEHIND THE HEADBOARD
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
* Peel back the bed sheets and check the mattress, running 
your fingers along the upper and lower seams. Make sure to 
check the mattress tag, bed bugs often hide there. 

* Experts recommend removing and examining the headboard 
if possible. Believe it or not, most slide off really 
easily. This is a key place to check because it's the one 
spot that remains undisturbed when the housekeeper makes 
the bed.

* Check for tiny black spots (excrement) that are smaller 
than poppy seeds. You may also see translucent light brown 
skins or, in the case of an infestation— live bugs. 

* Check the bedside table. Look for signs of bed bugs in 
the drawers and along the wall on the side of the bed that 
is less likely to be disturbed by cleaning staff and 
guests. You may want to elevate suitcases and keep them 
off the floor, like on a luggage stand. 

* If you see powder in the drawers or on the headboard, 
it is likely that the room has already been treated for 
bed bugs by an exterminator. 

* If bed bugs are detected, travelers should request for 
another room. Be sure to inform hotel management. 

* Just moving to a different room may not be the total 
answer. You should repeat the thorough inspection of any 
new or different room you are offered. 

* When you pack to leave, inspect your luggage carefully 
first, and inspect every item as you pack to help detect 
any bugs or their signs. 

* Laundering most cloth items with typical hot water and 
detergent followed by drying on low heat for at least 20 
minutes should kill all bed bugs in or on such items. 

* Sealing freshly-laundered items inside a plastic bag 
should help keep any more bed bugs from getting in those 
items later to hide and be carried back home with you. 

Well, that's it for this week, group. Thanks again for 
reading, and please keep those comments, complaints and 
questions coming in. 

You can send me an e-mail message at: Email Pierce

Until next week, thanks for reading.   

Your Tipmeister,   

Pierce   

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