How to Check Luggage for Bed Bugs: A Step-by-Step Guide

A Woman Packing Her Luggage

Traveling should be about thrills, not chills from bed bugs! These sneaky pests love to hitch rides in luggage, turning any trip sour. Whether you check in an expensive hotel room or a homey hostel, bed bugs don’t discriminate.

Always check your bags for these tiny, reddish-brown critters or their tell-tale signs like black spots or shed skins. Follow our simple tips to keep your travels bug-free and full of fun!

Key Takeaways

  • A systematic inspection of your luggage may involve using a clear, well-lit area, wearing protective clothing, and thoroughly checking each item for signs of bed bugs.
  • Immediate containment and treatment of any bed bug infestation are crucial, which could involve sealing infested items, washing them at high temperatures, and applying heat treatments where necessary.
  • To ensure complete eradication, professional pest control services may be necessary if DIY measures are insufficient or the bed bug infestation is extensive.


bed bug on a luggage

Luggage can provide countless hiding spots for these apple-seed pests. Follow these steps to help prevent and avoid bed bugs from entering your home.

So, inspecting them for signs of bed bugs is crucial, especially after a trip to other cities like Paris or Bangkok.

Step 1: Prepare Your Inspection Area

The right area is essential for spotting these tiny hitchhikers. Use a luggage rack to ensure a clean and clear area to inspect your luggage.

Then, choose a hard, light-colored surface visible when you unpack.

White sheetsProvides a clear, uniform background to spot bed bugs quickly.
Adequate lightingEnsures the area is well-lit for detailed inspection of bed bug presence.
Magnifying glassHelps in closely examining small areas and identifying bed bugs.

Step 2: Wear Protective Clothing

Protective clothing is crucial to prevent bed bugs from being transferred onto you during the inspection.

Here’s a list of recommended protective gear:

  • Long-sleeved shirts: Provides complete coverage for your arms.
  • Disposable gloves: Prevents direct contact with bed bugs or infested items.
  • Long pants: Shields your legs, ideally tucked into your socks for protection.

Step 3: Empty Your Luggage

Systematically emptying your luggage ensures that all items are checked and no potential hiding spots for bed bugs are overlooked.

Here are recommended places where you should place your items:

Item TypePlacement
ClothingIn sealed plastic bags
ToiletriesIn a separate open bin
ElectronicsOn a white towel for easy visibility
Travel AccessoriesIn a clear plastic bin
Personal Care ItemsIn a separate container or ziplock bag

Step 4: Inspect All Items

Inspecting all personal items is critical to identify any signs of bed bugs. Check for the following indicators using a phone flashlight or magnifying glass.

  • Tiny eggs: Look for small, white, oval eggs typically hidden in fabric or mattress seams.
  • Fecal spots: Identify dark, rust-colored spots on fabrics, which are bed bug excrement.
  • Shed skins: Find pale yellow skin casings that nymphs shed as they grow.

Step 5: Check the Luggage

Thoroughly inspect every part of your luggage or backpacks, paying close attention to typical bed bug hiding spots, including:

Luggage PartWhat to Check
SeamsLook for dark spots that might be bed bug excrement.
ZippersExamine the teeth for tiny eggs or bugs.
PocketsCheck for exoskeletons which indicate bed bug presence.

Step 6: Use a Bed Bug Spray

Applying bed bug spray is a crucial preventative measure to help eliminate bed bugs on contact and discourage their return. Choose a spray that is effective and suitable for your specific needs.

Active ingredients to look for include:

  • Pyrethrins
  • Piperonyl Butoxide
  • Permethrin
  • Natural oils (Clove, Lemongrass)

Step 7: Vacuum Your Luggage

Vacuuming is crucial for removing bed bugs or eggs lurking in the fabric. Here are vacuuming tips you can observe:

Use a crevice toolFocus on seams and crevices
Empty vacuum outsidePrevent the spreading of bugs indoors

Step 8: Steam Clean (Optional)

Steam cleaning is an optional yet highly effective method to kill all bed bugs. To employ steam cleaning, follow the steps below:

  1. Fill the steamer with water.
  2. Heat to the recommended temperature.
  3. Slowly move over all luggage surfaces.

Step 9: Wipe Down Hard Surfaces

Effectively disinfecting all hard surfaces of your luggage is crucial in ensuring no bed bugs or eggs remain after treatment. Use appropriate cleaning agents to sanitize these areas thoroughly, such as the following:

Agent TypesDescription
DisinfectantSpecifically designed to kill germs and pests on contact without damaging most fabrics.
AlcoholHigh efficacy in killing insects and their eggs but may damage delicate fabrics and surfaces. Use with caution.
VinegarSafe for most surfaces and does not leave harmful residues.
Hydrogen PeroxideSuitable for most hard surfaces and fabrics without bleaching.
Bleach SolutionHighly effective but not recommended for colored surfaces as it may cause discoloration.

Step 10: Store Luggage Safely

Proper luggage storage can prevent future infestations. Make sure to tick all the boxes in this storage list:

  • Use sealed plastic bags to store clothes to prevent bed bugs from entering.
  • Keep luggage in a dry area to discourage pest habitation.
  • Regularly inspect your luggage before traveling to catch any early signs of bed bugs.


Finding bed bugs in your luggage is a distressing discovery. You must immediately prevent the infestation from spreading to your home.

To manage the situation effectively, observe and take these measures carefully.

Immediate Steps to Contain Bed Bug Infestation

Upon discovering bed bugs in Louisiana, immediate action is crucial to prevent them from spreading to uncontaminated areas. Containing the infestation is the first line of defense.

Here’s how you can do it:

Bag ItemsSeal the infested luggage and all items in plastic bags to isolate bed bugs.
Wash ItemsTo kill bed bugs, wash dirty clothes and other washables in the washing machine in hot water (at least 120°F).
Dry on High HeatPlace fabrics in the dryer at the highest heat setting for at least 30 minutes after washing.
Non-WashablesConsider using a portable heating unit specifically designed for bed bug control for items not in the washer.
Vacuum LuggageThoroughly vacuum the suitcase, focusing on seams and crevices, then immediately dispose of the vacuum bag in a sealed garbage bag.

Professional Pest Control Services

When an infestation goes beyond a manageable scope or if certainty of eradication is needed, it’s time to call in a pest control professional.

At LaJaunie’s Pest Control, we provide a comprehensive pest management service for bed bug prevention and control.

Here’s an overview of what our licensed exterminators do:

  1. Consultation: Begin with a phone call or consultation with our state-certified inspectors and entomologists to confirm whether bed bugs cause the issue.
  2. Identification: Our trained team can identify bed bugs via photos or descriptions of bed bug bites and symptoms.
  3. Preparation: Inform you of necessary pre-treatment preparations using a detailed preparation sheet.
  4. Treatment Process: Begin treatment with liquid, powder, and aerosol pesticides at the farthest point from the room’s exit.
  5. Post-Treatment: Keep all treated areas closed and unoccupied for at least three hours to ensure safety and effectiveness.
  6. Follow-Up: Return two weeks later to apply a dusting treatment using the Aprehend machine and D-Fence dust with a puffer to create barriers around furniture and bed components.

Areas that our experts focus on include easy and hard-to-reach nooks and crannies, such as:

Focus AreaDetails
Bed Frames and HeadboardsInspect and treat these and their spaces, including built-in drawers
Box SpringsInform you to remove the black covering for effective internal treatment.
Mattresses and SofasTreat all creases, labels, and nest areas.
Side Tables and Storage UnitsEncourage customers to empty drawers for a thorough treatment of interiors.
Additional AreasTreat picture frames, electrical outlets, and windows near the bed as needed.


When you suspect your luggage has become a bed bug’s home, it might be tempting to toss a DIY cocktail at those pesky pests. 

However, if they seem to come back stronger—like they went to the gym—it’s time to hand the reins over to the professional pest control companies.

Whether you’re in New Orleans or Baton Rouge, seeking expert help should be easy. For immediate intervention for a severe infestation, let Lajaunie’s bed bug control specialists tailor a solution that’s right for your home.

For more information about the areas we service, visit our location page.