Galway is the second most infested county in Ireland with bed bugs according to pest control experts Rentokil.
Rentokil are urging holidaymakers to keep an eye out for any bed bugs trying to hitch a ride home with them amid a 61% increase in callouts so far this year.
Galway accounted for 14% of cases they have been called to this year, second only to Dublin at 36%, and followed by Cork (10%) and Kerry (8%).
The pest control company said that common way for bed bugs to travel is in clothing and other baggage, “so a hotel’s bed bug problem can easily become an issue in your own home”.
Bed bugs feed on human blood, usually while people are asleep, and their bites can become sore and itchy.
It’s expected that the level of infestations will also get worse going into the summer months.
Richard Faulkner, Advanced Technical Field Consultant for Rentokil said, “Bed bugs lay eggs and multiply at alarming rates, and the size of these pests can make them difficult to spot.”
“At this time of year more and more people are enjoying a trip away, but unfortunately this increases their risk of returning home with unwanted guests.”
He added that hotels and B&Bs are high risk areas for picking up unwanted critters due to the large volume of people coming in and out.
People should do their research on where they are staying beforehand, Richard Faulkner said, and be vigilant in inspecting rooms.
“We also recommend that if hotels become aware of a bed bug infestation, they have it taken care of immediately”.
Some of the signs of a bed bug infestation are dark stains on the mattress and surrounding area from their excrement, an unpleasant, sweet, sickly scent in the room, and small dark blood spots on bedding known as ‘faecal spotting’.
Despite being just 4-5mm long it’s also possible to spot live bed bugs and shed skins.
Key areas to check include bed frames and mattresses, bedside cabinets, wardrobes, and skirting boards.
For holidaymakers who do unintentionally bring bed bugs into their home, Rentokil recommend that they wash and dry clothes at the highest possible temperatures, eliminate clutter, and vacuum thoroughly