Cruises are a great way to see the world. Once you’re onboard, everything is taken care of – food, drinks and entertainment 24 hours a day. When you aren’t at sea taking advantage of everything the ship has to offer, you’re ported in fun, exotic locations to tour and explore.
The last thing you want, or expect, is a pest problem to interrupt your good time. While cruise lines do a lot to prevent pests onboard, pests can still find their way in. That’s why it’s important to take a few minutes and check for potential issues inside your cabin. Doing so will protect you and your family from sickness, or just misery.
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Here are five pests to Avoid:
Many cruise ships leave from U.S. ports in Florida and set sail for tropical locations. These warm, humid land masses that are surrounded by water, like Florida, can be the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. In addition to leaving bites that itch like crazy, mosquitoes carry all types of dangerous diseases that can make you very sick. You can contract Chikungunya, Dengue, Malaria, West Nile, Yellow Fever, and Zika from mosquitoes.
Sometimes, while in port, mosquitoes can make their way onboard. As you are settling in, check door frames and window ledges for any signs of dead mosquitoes. If your port hole has a screen, look for holes where they can get in. And if you have a balcony, you might want to spray yourself with repellent if you’re sitting outside and enjoying the night while the ship is docked.
#2 Fruit Flies
Cruise ships are famous for their buffets and plentiful food options, but bringing snacks back to your cabin may end up introducing fruit flies. You may want to check the buffet before you dig in for the presence of fruit flies. They are attracted to all kinds of food and can accumulate in food storage and kitchen areas. If they are onboard the ship, they will find their way to the buffet and elsewhere. Fruit flies and what they leave behind can make you sick. They carry bacteria like salmonella, E. coli and listeria which can all cause food poisoning.
Cruise ships are basically floating cities. So, the plumbing in your cabin is attached to a bunch of pipes that run all over the boat. Gnats and drain flies can get inside the pipes and become a nuisance. If you spot them, let your cabin steward know so they can treat for and take care of the problem for you.
#3 Mice and Rats
When you get to your cabin, be sure and check inside the drawers and closets. Look for any evidence of mice droppings. These tiny creatures can strike fear if you spot them, but most likely, if you see anything, it will just be evidence of them. Mice and rats are dirty rodents that carry diseases that make humans sick. So, you’ll want to do a quick check, especially if you have young children who enjoy exploring all the nooks, crannies and corners of the room.
If you see any evidence of droppings, be sure and let the housekeeping staff know. Ships work hard to keep these rodents off the boat, but it can be difficult with all the ports and stops they make.
#4 Bed Bugs on Cruise Ships
You may not know if there are bed bugs in your cabin until it’s too late – like the next morning, when your family wakes up with red marks on their skin and itching like crazy from being bitten all night. The good news is that bed bugs don’t transmit diseases, but they can still be an unpleasant pest.
You should check for signs of bed bugs before you settle into your cabin. You can start by inspecting the mattress and bedding, especially in the corners and along the mattress seams. Bed bugs are shaped like little apple seeds, so they can be tiny and hard to see. Most cruise lines use white linens, making the rust-colored blood spots easier to detect. You can also use the flashlight on your smartphone to check for evidence of the pests in dark corners of the bed. And take a deep breath in to see if you smell a ‘sweet, musty odor.’ The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that odor is associated with bed bugs.
It’s also a good idea to store your luggage in the bathtub if you have one, or in the bathroom upon arrival. Bed bugs rarely infest these smooth, tiled areas. They prefer carpet and fabric. Once you’ve given your cabin the all-clear, then it is safe to store your luggage in the room area.
If you find evidence of bed bugs in your cabin, or are concerned – contact the housekeeping staff right away. They’re trained to know what to look for and if they need to, will relocate you to another room.
How Do Cruise Ships Keep Pests from Getting on The Boat?
By and large, you won’t experience any pest problems like bed bugs on cruise ships. This is because cruise companies work diligently to keep pests off the boat. They follow stringent guidelines, and in addition to self-management, pest control onboard falls under the regulatory authority of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Vessel Sanitation Program.